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TOO HOT TO HANDLE: Spain’s singer Rosalia receives criticism for explicit music video that triggered global debate

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ROSALIA is the singing superstar who won the first Grammy for an all-Spanish album. Merging pop and flamenco genres, the singer has pioneered Spanish language music into the charts. 

After partnering with music industry mega-stars such as Travis Scott and Pharrell throughout her career, Rosalia is no stranger to a collaboration. But her latest cameo in Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s  ‘WAP’ music video has caused huge debate online. 

Like Enrique Iglesias before her, Rosalia has faced backlash for appropriating Latin culture to use it to her own advantage. But in ‘WAP’ Rosalia nods to Spanish heritage with a ‘montera’ bullfighting hat paired with a red latex bodysuit.

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POSING: Rosalia behind the scenes (Credit: Rosalia Instagram) 

Masculinity is a defining characteristic of the matador role. Through combining an aspect of the bullfighting costume with provocative dance moves and an outfit that celebrates her womanly figure, Rosalia has merged two opposing gender stereotypes. 

In the same vein, the music video features breast shaped fountains and its lyrics detail the women’s sexual encounters. Some called it a triumph in the face of slut shaming but others dismissed the song as simply vulgar. 

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CAMEO: Rosalia in ‘WAP’ (Credit: Cardi B Youtube) 

Female reaction to the song was enormously positive with Christina Aguilera and Halle Berry amongst fans. But backlash from male conservatives was almost immediate. Republican congressional candidate J.P. Bradley said online:  “Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion are what happens when children are raised without God and without a strong father figure. Their new ‘song’ the WAP made me want to pour holy water in my ears and I feel sorry for future girls if this is their role model!” 

The controversy, Cardi B pointed out online, was dripping in misogyny. Male rappers have long spat sexually explicit lyrics with little repercussion. But female artists, such as Lil’ Kim and Salt-N-Peppa have been chastised for the same since the 90s. With a global pandemic, economic downturn and an upcoming US election, a group of women displaying a sexual appetite doesn’t seem the most pressing issue for a congressional candidate to address.

Yet, demonstrated by the disproportionate online outrage to ‘WAP’, female desire remains to be one of the most controversial topics in the modern world. Sexually powerful women always cause controversy.

And what of Rosalia’s matador inspired up-do? “It represents her countries’ culture. I think that’s dope,” defended Cardi online.

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