We call on the Spanish government to refrain from playing down an expression, “zorra” (bitch), which is often used by abusers when they beat their victims.

Spanish Radio and Television Corporation (RTVE) has been involved in the broadcasting of deeply sexist content, encouraging and reinforcing messages and stereotypes that are embedded in the processes of socialisation and which are combated by public policies for equality between men and women.

“Zorra” is a sexist slur and is one of the most common expressions used to refer disparagingly to women. It is included in the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy (Real Academia Española – RAE) as an expression synonymous with prostitute, whore, hooker, hoe, slut…

In the last few hours, many victims of male violence have recalled that this expression is frequently used by abusers when they beat their victims, as can be seen in the testimonies of thousands of court rulings.

The interpretation that it is a valid and “empowering” word for women trivialises its link to the violence suffered by girls and women.

Using a word that popular culture uses to belittle women is not empowering. “Zorra” is not an expression of praise or commendation addressed to women, rather it is in the list of expressions and words of sexist content whose use should be excluded according to the RTVE’s Style Guide.

We would like to address the Spanish Government, and in particular the Ministry of Equality and the Ministry of Education to ask them if they are aware of how it will affect girls (in primary and secondary schools) if boys swear at them with a song endorsed by a state body such as RTVE. And, in the last few hours, also supported by the President of the Government and the Minister of Equality.

We are particularly concerned about girls cheering expressions whose meaning and link to male violence they do not know.

We also ask the Government Office against Gender-based Violence whether from now on the word “zorra”, which is so frequently used by sexual offenders, harassers and abusers, will be excluded from the list of offensive expressions.

It is essential that the institutions responsible for ensuring equality denounce the song chosen by RTVE to represent Spain at Eurovision for being degrading, for trivialising violence against women and for violating General Law 34/1988, of 11 November, on Advertising; Organic Law 1/2004, of 28 December, on Comprehensive Protection Measures against Gender-based Violence, and for contravening the agreements of the State Treaty Against Violence.

Regarding the very recent declarations of the President of the Government on the Eurovision song, we call on him to refrain from trivialising an issue that is a breeding ground for unbearable violence for women as a whole. His role is not to encourage hate speech against women, but to combat it with all the government’s means at its disposal. We regret his statements in this regard, which add fuel to the fire of misogyny.

And as for his statements describing feminism as “fun”, we must remind Mr. Sánchez and the Minister for Equality, Ana Redondo, that feminism fights against sexism and male violence with enthusiasm, but that this should not be confused with any kind of amusement and that there is nothing fun in the public use of expressions that are demeaning to women.

Alianza Contra el Borrado de las Mujeres- Alliance Against the Erasure of Women

5 February 2024


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