Why Spain's Eurovision entry 'Zorra' is confusing Spain's feminist movement

The Local Spain/AFP
The Local Spain/AFP - [email protected]
Why Spain's Eurovision entry 'Zorra' is confusing Spain's feminist movement
Valencian electropop group Nebulossa after winning the Benidorm Fest with the controversial song 'Zorra'. Image: RTVE

Spain's Prime Minister has come under fire from feminist groups for defending the country's Eurovision song 'Zorra', meaning "bitch" or "slut" in English. Other women claim it's the perfect chance to reshape the word's derogatory meaning.


Spain's leftist government has defended the country's entry for this year's Eurovision Song Contest after it came under fire from feminist groups who said it "insults women".

Spanish electro pop group Nebulossa's song "Zorra" - a word that can be translated as "vixen" but is almost always used to mean "slut" or "bitch" - will represent Spain at the world's biggest live music event.


It was picked by a mix of votes from a jury and televotes during a contest broadcast last Saturday night on public television TVE.

A video of the group performing the song -- which includes the lyrics: "If I go out alone, I'm the slut. If I'm having fun, I'm the sluttiest" -- has since been viewed 2.5 million times on the station's YouTube channel .

"I have often been called a zorra. This song is a way to transform that word into something beautiful," lead singer Maria Blas, 55, told TVE.

Other female artists in Spain's music industry have also defended the song, saying it's an opportunity to reshape the meaning zorra currently has and that it's incomprehensible that a word that's used so often in Spain has caused such an uproar. 

"Zorra now has another meaning, thanks for this Nebulossa," tweeted Angy Fernández, one of the Benidorm Fest's other contestants.

Interestingly, the masculine version of zorra zorro (fox) - can also be used to refer to men, but in this case the connotation isn’t derogatory and rather denotes that a guy is cheeky or sly.

It’s a clear example of sexist language in Spanish and double standards that often arise. 

READ ALSO: What you need to know about the Spanish word zorra

However, many feminist groups have disagreed with this take, with some calling for Spain to pick another song to represent the country at Eurovision, which will be held in Sweden in May.

The song "insults women in a sexist way", the Feminist Movement of Madrid collective said in a statement, adding it was "absurd" to argue that "insistently repeating" the word could "empower" women.


But Equality Minister Ana Redondo García called it a "fun song, which breaks stereotypes".

Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, a self-declared feminist, also weighed in, telling private television La Sexta he liked the song.

"Feminism is not only fair, it can be fun, and this type of provocation must come from culture," he added.

The European Broadcasting Union, which organises Eurovision, said it had concluded that "Zorra" would not have to undergo any lyric changes and was eligible to participate in the contest since "there are many interpretations of the title of the song".

What has been decided is that the song's title and usage of zorra will be translated as vixen, not bitch or slut.


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also