People Are Outraged After A Mexican Football Club Mocked The Global Feminist Protests Against The Patriarchy
Among Mexican premier league soccer teams perhaps the one that generates the most passionate responses from both fans and detractors is the Club América. Based in the southern part of Mexico City, the team is owned by the omnipresent media company Televisa. Its players and followers are sometimes infamous for having a pretentious attitude and feeling like they are better than everyone else. They are sort of the Yankees of Mexican soccer.
So it came as no surprise when the team’s players engaged in yet another controversy, showing little respect for women and almost zero awareness of how pressing it is to acknowledge, denounce and solve the many crimes against women in the country, from sexual assault and harassment to kidnappings, family violence and murder. It is not easy to be a woman in Mexico, and it is an act of courage, but also desperation, to protest as loudly as possible.
So the players from the under-17 team of Club América mocked the feminist performance through which women in France, Spain, Chile, Mexico and many other countries are denouncing the abusive patriarchy.
This dance is called “Un violador en tu camino” (A rapist on your path) and denounces victim blaming while stating, in a very powerful and crude manner, that the real guilt should be placed on rapists. It is not a woman’s fault regardless of what she was wearing or where she was at the time when she was abused. Women from all around the world have made this a viral phenomenon and a symbol of the post #metoo era. To protest like this publicly is a courageous act that should never be minimized or mocked. They are mothers, daughters, friends, girlfriends and sisters of some of the very men who they are protesting against.
So what did the young dudes from the Club América do? They dared to parody the dance. Seriously, WTAF carnalitos? It is never OK to just say “boys will be boys.”
A video which was made viral in Mexican social media shows the young players shirtless in the locker room, parodying the feminist anthem. And even though some might say that boys will be boys, this is in no way justifiable.
Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries for women, with feminicides running rampant not only in the city of Ciudad Juarez, where hundreds of women have been killed since the 1990s, but also in Mexico City and the neighboring State of Mexico, where domestic violence seems to be an everyday crime that most of the times goes unpunished. So no, boys will be boys, will not cut it and the players deserve all the backlash that they received on social media, where women (and men) awarded them with all kinds of insults that stress their discriminatory and harmful actions.
The soccer team published a press release stating that this would not go unpunished.
The team released an official message saying that there needs to be a change and that they would educate players on issues such as gender violence and a correct use of social media. They also stated that the players would be punished, perhaps by leaving them on the bench for a few games. Some of the players have also publicly apologized. Player Omar Lomeli, for example, said that he wasn’t intending to insult the feminist movement and that he would enrol in workshops to understand gender issues. However, it remains to be seen whether this is an isolated incident or if there is indeed, as we would be inclined to suspect, a serious issue of misogyny in the world of sports.
“Locker room talk” is a sign of toxic masculinity in the world of male professional sports.
The locker rooms seem to be a sort of safe space to basically be nasty and express xenophobic, homophobic and incendiary views (we are sure you have read the expression “locker room talk”). The video might just be the tip of the proverbial iceberg, an accidental look into a world in which young men are encouraged to be hypercompetitive and demonstrate their masculinity, as toxic as it might be, on a daily basis. The change has to come from within and a few pep talks won’t do it.
And this is not exclusive of Mexican soccer, for example, other sports leagues, such as the Australian Football League, have faced serious crisis in which their players have expressed appalling world views or engaged in systematic sexual abuse. Let us not forget that historically damaging comments such as “grab them by the pussy” have been dismissed as mere “locker room talk” even in the highest echelons of power. We are all well aware of where a lack of accountability regarding this leads.