(WOMENSENEWS) – A song and samba, “Face Slap,” about a woman who begs her lover to hit her, has become a smash hit in Brazil, but women’s groups, some performers and politicians say it’s degrading and fuels violence against women.
In the instant hit, men pretend to slap their partners, and women reel away from the fake blows, all to a swaying samba beat. Sometimes, the blows are real.
“When we make love, what does she ask for? S-S-Slap in the face,” sings Alex Xela, the 19-year-old vocalist of the samba group Pagod’art. “Come on, I’ll let you have it, Mama, I’ll let you have it.”
The “Face Slap” has stirred controversy since it first was performed in Salvador, Brazil’s colonial capital where song and dance crazes arise, The Associated Press reports. It is played on radios, in dance clubs and blares from sound trucks known as “Electric Trios.”
This week, the government’s National Council of Women’s Rights issued a public repudiation of songs that make violence against women acceptable.
“If a slap is normal, what’s next: Rape?” Congresswoman Iara Bernardi was quoted as saying by Consultor Juridico magazine.
But not everyone thinks ‘Face Slap’ is an outrage.
“It’s all make-believe–pretend sex and pretend pain,” said Anna Veronica Mautner, a sociologist and psychoanalyst in Sao Paulo. “It’s not insidious, because the woman joins the dance as an equal, provoking the man but ducking away from him. It has the same spirit as the apache dance.”