Content warning: this article includes accounts of domestic abuse and may be distressing for some readers. Find a list of resources at the end of this article.
Chihuahua, a city in northern Mexico, has announced that it will issue large fines to live performers using “misogynistic” lyrics.
The move comes amidst a clampdown on safety protocols for women in the country, where 10 women and girls are currently being killed every single day, according to the United Nations.
Fines up to 1.2m pesos (£56,000) will be given out to musicians who use lyrics that “discriminate against women” at a time of heightened gender-based violence. It will also target songs promoting women’s “denigration, marginalisation or exclusion”.
In a video shared on social media, Chihuahua’s Mayor, Marco Bonilla, explained that seven out of 10 calls received by the city’s emergency services every day are in relation to domestic violence.
He also added that, while freedom of speech cannot stop these performers, fines imposed might lower the rate of “discriminatory” and degrading lyrics. Levies will also go toward “shelters for abused women or to programmes to prevent violence,” Bonilla said.
Bonilla explained that the city council of Chihuahua “unanimously approved” this decision, which would uphold human rights laws and protect the safety and dignity of women and girls.
“Violence against women has reached levels that we could consider like a pandemic,” Bonilla said. “We can’t allow this to happen, and we also can’t allow this to be normalised.”
Chihuahua, a city made up of almost one million residents, also made moves to ban songs seen to glorify drug crime amidst a surge in drug violence in the 2010s.
A popular band hailing from Mexico, Los Tigres del Norte, were banned from Chihuahua in 2012 for lyrics that were thought to celebrate drug trafficking, and were later fined in 2017 for the same issue.
The UK’s 24-hour free-to-call National Domestic Abuse Helpline can be contacted by dialling 0808 2000 247
The US’ 24-hour National Domestic Violence Hotline can be contacted by dialling 1.800.799.SAFE (7233)
Gemma Ross is Mixmag’s Assistant Editor, follow her on Twitter
Written by: Tim Hopkins