HAVANA TIMES, Nov. 26 – I saw the video that’s being passed from computer to computer showing what happened at the beach-side Guanimar Cabaret to the east of Havana. In it, young women in the audience —urged on by the show’s emcee— transform the dance floor into a pornographic set.
All this reminded me of the conflict that my son experienced with a girl in his classroom who sexually harassed him.
In a country like Cuba, the sexist phrase “a male must take advantage of any female who makes herself available” runs deep. However, my son decided to run the risk and used violence to reject the girl. It was the only thing that worked.
A while later when he told me about how, in the absence of the teacher, four girls held down another student, unzipped his pants and took out his penis… I was no longer astonished. Seeing the recording from Guanimar (in which several young women —for a six-pack of beer— got undressed, danced nude and were groped), I thought of how, like cancer, moral metastasis never begins with a sharp pain.
For a while now, reggaeton music videos have exceled in the use of brutally dehumanized erotic female imagery. When was it that these videos stopped being “spicy” only to become “rancid” with the repugnance of some people’s sexual appetites?
When I wrote for this online magazine about the false power conferred in the use of sexual images, many people accused me of being a moralist. “What’s wrong with being a prostitute?” one reader questioned. I’m sorry that in none of my history or literature classes when they spoke to me of Marti (always the political Marti), they never told me about this wise advice he gave to women: “The first thing a man sees in a woman is a prey. (…) Rebel, you, oh, woman, against those shameful attempts at seduction; look closely, before giving of yourself, to see if you are wanted in the same way as when one buys an orange – only to suck it and then throw it away…”
When imitating conduct that is promoted in the media, we have the right to know not only about the snapshot of sexual freedom that they’re selling us, as well as the sexual models that the younger generation is now absorbing and reproducing without even having had the time to sincerely adopt. What’s more, this “freedom” condemns men and women equally, because it deprives human beings of the right to experience their own sensorial universe without being manipulated.
Television and the cinema are spreading distorted values that are insatiably consumed by children and youth. The kids now play many video games in which the hero is no longer the “good guy”; instead he is as bad as the enemy; moreover, in these the action figures triumph using the most depraved methods. Likewise, in the street the word “luchar” (to struggle) is a euphemism to justify everything from prostitution to cheating and robbery. All this denotes that corruption has had a long period of growth, though it’s not exactly invisible like cancer.
Of course the Guanimar Cabaret is much more than a political or religious problem. Indeed, if there’s something to attribute to religion, it’s the vision spread of sex as something that should be endured and submitted to.
Dogmas are a stagnant concept, disconnected from life. They only get —in addition to temporary control based on coercion— a consequent reaction that can push the pendulum farther in the opposite direction.
If there is a political responsibility, it is in the allowing of these music videos, video games, and dance music whose lyrics are practically audio pornography. In Cuba, I can’t say that these video clips are shown on government-controlled national television, but I have in fact seen them on television in stores and diners where children come and watch, which implies a considerable amount of time assimilating those images.
In addition, I’ve gone to more than one children’s party where only reggaeton is heard, as tender little girls gyrate their bodies in obscene movements. And for a long time in photos that Cuban teenager girls have taken when they turn fifteen, there’s a session dedicated to showing (or forcing) the talent of stripping.
For centuries we have suffered social, physical and mental harassment (even in a space as intimate and private as our minds), so it’s sad to see before our own eyes how the freedom achieved with so much pain is degenerating and dehumanizing us.
In the younger generation’s rejection of innocence, I can almost see the same horror that previous generations (harassed by the church) had to suffer for their physical desires. It is not a happy state, and we’ve still not seen how far the problem has spread and metastasized.