Shakira Used To Be Ferocious. Why The Change Of Tune?

Does making a beautiful child with a beautiful man have to lead to ferocious women turning into feeble doormats?

International pop sensation Shakira has started acting a bit strange since she and her Spanish boyfriend Gerard Piqué, a soccer player for Barcelona, announced the birth of baby Milan in February last year.

Shak—as we compulsive Facebook fans lovingly refer to her—happens to be one of my biggest girl-crushes and the second Colombian I fell in love with (after Juanes, duh) before I moved down to Colombia myself and started experiencing firsthand that dreamy empowered sultriness that Shak has shown to the rest of the world to such great acclaim.

So let’s just say I was not very happy when I read her interview with Billboard last week where she gave an explanation for the fake-lesbian gyrating in her most recent video with Rihanna: Baby daddy Piqué no longer lets her make sexy music videos with men.

“He’s very territorial,” Shak told the magazine:

… and since he no longer lets me do videos with men, well, I have to do them with women. It’s more than implied in our relationship that I can’t do videos like I used to. It’s out of the question—which I like, by the way. I like that he protects his turf and he values me, in a way that the only person that he would ever let graze my thigh would be Rihanna.

This left me sputtering for various reasons. And not just me, either. “‘Values his turf?’” echoed Isha Aran over at Jezebel. “Turf is what your shit boyfriend plays soccer on. You on the other hand are a 234-award-winning powerhouse.”

Also: Bad business move, Shak. Doesn’t she know that half the reason women (or at least women like me) watch her videos at all is to gasp at her unbelievable on-camera chemistry with beauties like Rafael Nadal and Alejandro Sanz?

Long gone is the ferocious costeña who refused to take shit from her womanizing boyfriend in “La Tortura” (a tune that any old college friend of mine will remember as my ringtone for about three years solid):

Sigue llorando perdón. / Yo ya no voy a llorar por tí. (Keep crying that you’re sorry. / I’m not crying over you anymore.)

And long gone the gypsy who refused to be tied down by a territorial lover in “Gitana” (the soundtrack to my life-changing move from London to Bogotá):

No intentes amarrarme / Ni dominarme. / Yo soy quien elige / Como equivocarme. (Don’t try to tie me down / Or dominate me. / I’m the one who gets to decide / how I make my mistakes.)

Sadly, much of the Spanish-language press has not batted an eye at this revelation that the former untouchable goddess of Barranquilla now describes herself as a piece of sod supervised by a pretty-faced but admittedly very conservative footballer. I’d hazard a guess that many women see this about-face as related to the fact that Shak is a new mother, and all mothers want their men to be territorial, right? The best motivation for an attractive man not to abandon his new little family is for him to see that little family as his property, isn’t it?

And yummy mummy themes do feature centrally in Shak’s self-titled new album, out on March 25, if these teaser lyrics from her Facebook page are any indication:

And if I mess up everything someday / I won’t hide my head in shame / ’cause you are the one thing that I got right.

OK, let’s be honest here: I like beautiful men as much as the next woman and I want a baby like all hell. I’ve experienced firsthand the shattering way that an “alpha male” can make a woman sexually blossom (and there is—strictly speaking from my own experience here—something very raw and intense about romances with Latino men in particular). I’ve also felt how the inescapable thumping of a biological clock shapes romantic relationships.

But does making a beautiful child with a beautiful man have to lead to ferocious women turning into feeble doormats?

God, I hope not.

Samantha Eyler is a freelance writer and editor raised in Kentucky and London and now based in Medellín, Colombia. She has written about politics, immigration, Latin America, and social justice for publications such as NACLA and the New Statesman, and is one of the founders of the London Fields Feminist Book Group. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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