The “Macarena” experiment. How a 24-year-old trot singer managed to generate a heated debate in society

The remake of the song “Macarena”, released a few days ago by the singer Erika Isac and which presents, in harsh and obscene language, some of the problems faced by women in Romanian society, turned into a song – manifesto that polarized society. Experts explain the heated debates around the song by the fact that we are in the emancipation phase and point out that a negative content in an antisocial language can educate, but a positive content in an antisocial form is not known if it succeeds in changing mentalities.

A song-manifesto about domestic violence, gender labels stuck on women's foreheads, abuse and misogyny, released by Erika Isac, a 24-year-old young woman, managed to collect more than two million views and 6,000 comments in just five days. At the same time, the remake of the song “Macarena” managed to divide society in two. That's because the lyrics point to the behavioral patterns and prejudices in our society: “Always blame the victims like idiots“, “Those with silicones, sotto are prostitutes“, “How to talk bad? Erika, you are a young lady!“, ” The woman doesn't swear, she doesn't fight, she doesn't fuck, The woman has to step, and wash and help herself“.

The artist also draws a parallel between the thoughts of a man and those of a woman on a first date and says what dangers the latter are exposed to: “Fhe's afraid that this psychosis won't catch him/ Don't catch him murdering, raping him/ He's going to beat her, he's going to get her drunk/ He's going to steal her , kidnap her, argue“.

As a result, immediately after the song hit YouTube, a wave of backlash appeared online. If many are bothered by the language, others say that not all men are the same. Most, however, use the song to share “MeToo” stories.

Erika Isac – Video Capture

Psychologist Daniel David, rector of UBB, is of the opinion that Romanians are in the emancipation phase. “The fact that society is polarized on difficult issues should not surprise anyone, our society is polarized on most issues. I hope we can eliminate these polarizations as we become more educated. We Romanians were shocked, we also woke up with a kind of music that we hadn't really heard of and we also woke up with an atypical message, in a good way, it describes a phenomenon, but it also shows how it should be corrected. The question remains: Does negative content in some antisocial form or language catch on? Catch. But does positive content in an anti-social form manage to change anything? We don't know yet. We are in the phase of emancipation and that makes us disobey the rules, rebel, express polarized opinions as we see here. This is seen not only in the population, but also in the artists. The artist has this excuse, this is the kind of music she plays, don't like it, don't listen to it”, explained the psychologist Daniel David.

The mirror of society

The melody puts a mirror in front of society and we don't like what we see in it, is the opinion of Oana Băluță, researcher specialized in gender and politics.

The way we justify violence against women shows that we have a high degree of tolerance and it has to do with how we were brought up and what models of femininity and masculinity were presented to us.” she said.

“The melody is based on reality and is justified by the way women are represented in the Romanian space. It is justified by the equality of chances, by the fact that that woman, who was raped, did something to provoke the man. And this is not said by a simple person, it is said by a judge, the one who distributes judgment: that 14-year-old girl kind of provoked that one. It says a lot about society. All over the world in this kind of music we deal with this language. We're listening to Eminem on the radio, his song “My mom” is not about motherly love. And many other exponents of this musical style don't talk about porcelain-trinket-love“, adds Gelu Sunday.

It's about respect

The sociologist points out that a man does not face the challenges that a woman encounters so often, men are not touched inappropriately in intimate places, they are not addressed with degrading words on the street.

The problem is something like this: it is my right as a man to do this, because education says that the man tries, but the woman is to blame. Under this thing to try, we men have been educated that there is no limit, we have not learned that NO means NO. I didn't learn that a woman needs and has the RIGHT to have her private space, which you cannot enter as your muscle pleases. It's about simple respect, you don't have to be a feminist to respect the man next to you, to realize that what you don't like, doesn't matter to someone else“, he states.

Disturbed by the language

However, the feminist organization Filia points out that “the reactions of the audience, especially the men, to the messages of the song again emphasize that women's voices are neither heard nor understood, and when they want to be heard they must be calm, docile and friendly. (…) It is even more alarming when these messages of minimizing and blaming the victims come from public figures who have influence through the content they post. Marian Godina, representative of the very institution that should protect victims of gender-based violence, launches a series of sexist victim-blaming messagesand”.

It's not about language, we don't mind language, of course, we look for excuses in language, emphasizes Gelu Duminică.

We were bothered by what he said and how he said it, he said it in frustration like that, kind of setting us up as macho men who have high testosterone and think we're superior because we have a dangling sex organ. And we considered ourselves disturbed. Women have been saying these things for a very long time and they've been saying it beautifully for a very long time and no one has heard. Women have been talking about the need for society to intervene in all things domestic violence and violence against women for at least 25 years, we have seen marches, happenings, events, beautiful, civilized, no swearing, and what happened?“, he warns.

Answer like a lady

Society is divided into two camps by this song because it is already divided, he added.

It's a power struggle, nothing else. Some believe, for example, that women have too many rights in the Romanian space. Others believe that discussing women's rights in this society is very stupid, women should say thank you. We all cheer, we hum the songs where women are sexualized, the songs where violence against women is elevated to the status of art, like Cheloo's songs, which has some lyrics that only a man with medical problems can sing ( “put a bag over your head. What a face you have, I'm breaking your teeth!”). These are not lyrics, these represent mental symptoms and he is a star on television, we see him week after week on television and the world is no longer horrified. Instead, a girl who used the lightest swear words in the Romanian language…”, explains Gelu Sunday.

People expect girls, women to respect the rules, to be polite regardless of the situation. “Be a lady and respond like a lady when you are groped, when you are sexually assaulted, when they want to decide what to do with your body, when they put you down, when they humiliate you, when they try to control you, when they want to put you in your place as he imagines it to be”, says Oana Băluță, researcher specialized in gender and politics.

Statistics show that in Romania we have the highest tolerance for rape, rape which is committed in three types of situations: the victim wears the so-called provocative clothes, the victim goes to the respective man's house or the victim has consumed alcohol or drugs, Băluță also emphasizes. “These are the three types of rape in which Romanians justify rape. The artist puts in direct lyrics and music a type of reality that we have radiographed by research, which women have been facing for many years, almost daily. (…) The piece is a reality check communicated in a way that can be understood, it has many more views than a poem. Women don't seek it, when you think that women seek violence, that they do something when they are beaten, assaulted, you do nothing but blame the victims and absolve the aggressor“, explained the expert.

Balance sheet

The INSP report, published by the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, shows that one woman in four in Romania has been physically or sexually assaulted by her partner or ex-partner and that 55% of Romanians believe that rape is justified in certain situations. No less than 1,885 girls and 202 boys were victims of crimes of rape, sexual assault or sexual intercourse with a minor, where the perpetrator was a family member, in the last 8 years.

The labels will not come off because the mentality changes over time, primarily through public policies, at the level of education. The Ministry of Education has the responsibility to address in schools, in a professional manner, issues related to women's rights, gender equality, violence against women because in this way you can change stereotypes, myths, prejudices and help children , according to their age, to understand what the facts are about violence. In school you can learn what consent is, what touching is allowed and what is not allowed, children need to understand what touching is allowed even from a family member.“, concludes Oana Băluță.