Validating Masculinity through Media “No Tiene La Culpa” by Romeo Santos
“No Tiene la Culpa” (It is not his fault) is a song by the Dominican singer and compositor Romeo Santos. It is the track number 11 of his second album “Formula, Vol 2”, which was released on the market by Sony Music Latin on February 25, 2014, written by himself, and produced by him together with Ivan Chevere. Romeo’s profesional career has left very little to say, he has gained an amazing fame, and innumerable prizes and recognitions for his indiscutible talent to write songs that can touch anyone’s heart. Despite the fact that his talent has never been in question, his sexuality and positionally has always been the target of critics for his soft voice and his very romantic bachatas songs. Being a very muscular, tall, tanned, sexy boy, and having a very soft, sweet and romantic voice does not seem to go together in this world, especially not when you are Latino. It is not a secret that Latin American boys more than often are expected to be, and behave as “Machos”, being romantic and showing weaknesses through lyrics is not something that is culturally embraced for a boy.
When running a simple google search “Is Romeo Santos gay?”, there are about 23,000,000 results which I did not check one by one, but I can assure that all the ones I opened (which were many) were related to his sexuality, including videos and pictures of him displaying affection to other men. As Ross states this is a clear illustration of how heteronormativity and sexuality go hand and hand when it comes to media. This shows how much he has been attacked by the media for portraying the image of a guy who feels and expresses emotions in a deviant way, contradicting the heteronormativity. Most of Romeo Santos’ songs are about love and indifference, with his second album he tried to come up with something different like “No Tiene La Culpa”, and instead of clarifying his sexuality, it just gave more material to build on the existing critics. Romeo is a clear representation of the negativity of media to receive anything that challenges the hegemonic masculinity, if he does not behave in certain way, he must be gay.
“No Tiene la Culpa” relates the story a boy who suffers for being born a girl in the body of a boy in Latin American society. It describes what he goes through, how everyone points him out for being feminine, and not displaying his expected heteronormative behavior. Also, it expresses the dishonor to his family, and especially to his father, It shows that being gay in that culture, is not only an internal problem, but a family problem, a dishonor. For his father,, it is almost like a personal frustration that he could not do the job of raising a man, a “Macho”. He points out the mother, saying it is her fault for spoiling, and nurturing him too much, pointing that this is the reason why he is so feminine, and does not display his hegemonic masculinity. According to the book “Latina and Latino Children’s Mental Health, Volumen 1” this is such a common stereotype in Latin America, machismo is reinforced from the moment the baby boy is born, and is constantly reinforced throughout childhood and adolescence. Whenever a boy comes out, they will most likely blame the mother or the lack of a male representation in the family to shape him into being a man. We see this in other media that portray Gay Latinos, such as Justin Suarez in “Ugly Betty” who was raised by his mother, his aunt, and his older grandfather. The song is related like a story, almost like an anecdote, and this confused people even more thinking that this was Romeo telling his own life.
I chose this media for several reasons, being the number one of them the fact that I have 4 brothers, who were raised only by a divorced woman, and turn out to be the most manly, ordinary, brutal, womanizer creatures on the planet. I dislike all stereotypes, especially those that as Latinos we have dealt with during years. I believe the “lack of father results on boys turning gay” is one of the most common things I have heard in Latin America, and is something I could not disagree more with. Also, My two best friends are both Latino gay males, who actually were raised in a nuclear family with a dad and a mom. I believe there is a huge need to educate not only Latino people, but everyone else out there that nothing “makes” you guy, and that being gay does not translate directly into being queer, feminine or less manly, and vise versa.
According to an article in the Los Angeles Times titled “Rome Santos wont judge if you are gay, but he made it very clear he is straight!”, Romeo created this song to shut up the rumors about his sexuality, and to create awareness of the LGBT community. He added comments in the song about gay suicide rates, and even a quote that says: “Ignorance is taking us nowhere, copy?!”, by this he is trying to emphasize and acknowledge the suffering that a lot of gay people go through because of the lack of acceptance in society, especially in societies with a similar cultural background as his.
When analyzing the lyrics of the song it is easy to think that this is a impeccable job to represent and create awareness about a good cause, the inclusion of the LGBT community in society. Everything goes well, until the part that reveals this song is simply a medium for Romeo to revalidate his masculinity: “100% heterosexual, naci asi” (100% heterosexual, I was born like this). Regardless of what he claims his positionally towards gay people is, he is a public figure, and this statement completely out of context, only reveals his desperate need to clarify his positionality, and to obtain validation for his deviant forms of socialization with his audience.
The fact that he makes a whole song explaining his great support to the gay community, but yet, he has the desperate need to make it clear in the song that he is not a gay person, shows the negative connotation that the word gay still has, and that the desperate need he had to be detached from that definition. He does not seem to have a problem with displaying behavior that seems to affect his heteronormativity, but he clearly does not want to keep being associated as a gay male. As Nesvig states in his article “The Complicated Terrain of Latin American in Society”, being gay in Latin American has a lot to do with honor and power, “patriarchy has guided the historiographic of homosexuality in Latin America”, therefore being a male gay is directly associated with shame and lack of power characteristics that are not favorable for a public figure. Even Ricky Martin who came out a while ago still portrays the behavior expected for his hegemonic masculinity.
Cabrera, N. J, Villarruel, F. & Fitzgerald, E (2011). “Latina and Latino Children’s Mental Health, Volumen 1”. Hiram E. Fitzgerald and Susanne Ayres Denham, Series Edition. Santa Barbara, California - USA
Latin Times (2014) . “Romeo Santos wont Judge if you're Gay, but He Made it Very Clear He Is Straight!”. IBT Media. New York. Retrieved from http://www.latintimes.com/pulse/romeo-santos-wont-judge-if-youre-gay-he-made-it-very-clear-hes-straight-20
Nesvig, M (2001). “The Complicated Terrain of Latin American Homosexuality”. Hispanic American Historical Review 81. 3-4 689-729. Retrieved from https://muse.jhu.edu/article/12624
Ross, K. (2012). “ The Handbook of Gender, Sex and Media”. John Wiley & Sons Lid Publications. Malden, MA - USA