Released on YouTube on January 12 of this year, Shakira’s diss track or ‘revenge song’ broke 14 Guinness World Records earlier this week. According to the Guinness World Records site, the song “set the record for most viewed Latin track on YouTube in 24 hours…and then became the fastest Latin track to reach 100 million views on YouTube."
Additionally, it “earned the record for most streamed Latin track on Spotify in 24 hours,” the site continued, and “by the end of the first week (it was the) most streamed Latin track on Spotify in one week.”
A day later, Shakira and Bizarrap appeared on The Tonight Show and performed ‘Music Sessions Vol. 53’ in front of host Jimmy Kimmel and an enthralled audience that sang and danced along. Exuding nothing but goddess energy, the Queen of Latin music slayed, like she always does.
The scathing track, aimed at her former boyfriend and now retired footballer Gerard Pique, is being hailed as pathbreaking and empowering. Well, empowering it is, but in only parts. When Shakira refers to herself as a ‘she-wolf’, she transports her fans, including me, to her powerful song that goes by the same name (released in 2009). Transfixed, we wait for the ‘break up’ song to be elevated to an empowering political statement.
Disappointingly however, the song gets degrading pretty fast, with Shakira dissing Pique’s new 22-year-old girlfriend. Accusing her of not being a ‘good person’, she adds: “I'm worth two 22's. You traded a Ferrari for a Twingo. You traded a Rolex for a Casio...”.
The brutal lyrics, aimed at her ex-partner of 11 years, with whom she has two children, become problematic when the song literally dehumanises Pique’s new love interest. As the track progresses, there is a sense of blame shifting and depiction of the woman in a bad light. The anger, which should have been reserved for the Spanish football legend, is projected on the girlfriend, and doesn’t sit well.
Experts claim that in many cases of disloyalty, women find it less demeaning to blame the new partner instead of the man who chose to be unfaithful. It is shocking to witness how societal norms relieve men of their wrongdoings, and almost take away their agency or role in their own affair! The same unfair system, which pits women against each other, conditions heartbroken lovers to ridicule and hate on the new female partner.
With couples treating their relationship as a possession, the threat of some ‘horrible person stealing it’ becomes real. However, a relationship is not an object, it is a choice. It is the choice a person has: the choice to stay in a relationship or to walk out of one.
It is natural to feel angry or hurt after a betrayal, but it is also important to recognise the reason behind it. And that’s not usually the new woman. “Women who experience infidelity or unfaithfulness in relationships tend to regard themselves as ‘not good enough’. This self-doubt often gets projected on the new girlfriend/wife in the form of hatred and jealousy,” Ruchika Kanwal, a clinical psychologist from Delhi, explains.
While such anger is valid, it can be psychologically and physically draining to keep blaming the former partner or his new lover. “Journal your thoughts if you experience such overwhelming emotions. You can later burn it or flush it down or keep it with you. Writing can be cathartic in such situations. You could also blow off steam by running, screaming or even tearing a cushion if you wish to,” Kanwal suggests.
If you continue to feel bitter, it is a good option to reach out to a psychologist, who can help you process the feelings of betrayal and anger, navigate you through this tough time and support you in your path to healing.
Debarati Chakraborty is an independent journalist, who writes on wellness, relationships and sexuality