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Rigoberta Bandini's "Ay mamá" is a modern feminist anthem
Rigoberta Bandini's "Ay mamá" is a modern feminist anthem. Photo: Getty Images

Controversy over breast editing in music video

The videoclip of "Ay mamá" received accusations of alleged censorship

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Coinciding with Mother’s Day on May 1, Spanish singer Rigoberta Bandini presented to the world the long-awaited music video for “Ay mama,” the song that thrilled hun- dreds of thousands of viewers during her participation in the Benidorm Fest. Despite not winning the contest, which meant representing Spain in the Eurovision, the vindictive and transgressive song was a benchmark.

Its unfiltered denunciation of patriarchy, in which the role of mothers in society is honored and claims like “I don’ know why our boobs are so scary” are commonplace, received accusations of alleged censorship. After the long awaited music video of the song was published, several women who participated in the filming denounced the absence of real breasts in the video on social media, because “did not fit” for the director.

Illustrator Nazareth Dos Santos, who was invited along with other activists to help create the video, said that “they wanted to record scenes in which we showed our breasts to fight against censorship, both with the lyrics of the song and with the music video.” For this purpose, they recorded many “beautiful scenes,” with breasts of all kinds: large, small, with stretch marks, scars, small, medium or large nipples. Women of col- or, young or old. It was an exercise of “diversity and reality,” which paradoxically ended up being a victim of self-censorship.

In her message, Dos Santos thought it important to expose that “sometimes things are not changing as much as they make us see.” On social media, she was especially uncomfortable that it was a male director, Salvador Sunyer, who de- cided that their diversity did not fit in a song that demands eliminating prejudic- es about female breasts.

After the storm unleashed, Bandini kept silent. During the video, the singer and dancers appear half-naked and wearing body makeup, with constant allusions to the dedicated work of mothers feeding their babies. The director, who had total creative freedom, tried to “look at the woman as a creator in absolute terms”. For this, he composed a symbolic journey that ranges from prehistory to the future, and reflects the whole cycle of life.

In addition, Bandini’s face appears as the central figure of the work, Liberty Leading the People, the famous painting by Delacroix that she mentions in the song. Nipple paintings also stand out and the censorship of boobs on social media is symbolically destroyed. They created a 3D image of the face of Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, as a metaphor. Dos Santos and her fellow feminists wondered: “If you can do a 3D with Zuckerberg’s face, why can’t you fit female breasts in the final cut?”

She was especially annoyed that ultimately sagging or scarred breasts were not featured, and that the only real breasts that appeared were at the beginning, when Bandini and her dancers begin the choreography with their bodies covered in mud. In his defense, the director argued: “I know it is a very complicated and sensitive issue, but the decision not to include them has been mine and it is purely artistic.” He concluded: “Nobody wanted to censor anything, I decided that in the end it didn’t work with the rest of the clip”. Despite his explanation, it seems that there are those who are still afraid of boobs.

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