Bad Bunny Redefines Masculinity Again and Again: As A Latina, I’m Here For It

 

Latinx communities have always had the same ideologies around gender roles. As a Latina I know first hand the amount of “machismo” agendas pushed in the community, and how much it thrives within family households. From the time that they are young boys, to when they become men, guys are told what it means to be masculine. They are told to be strong, to be the head of the household, and to never show an ounce of femininity. The way that girls are raised within Latinx households is significantly different from the way that boys are raised.

 

Everyone has a feminine and masculine side within themselves. Whether they choose to only embrace one or both, it shouldn’t matter. Yet growing up in a Latinx community taught me the importance of gender roles in these households. A lot of Latinx families fear the idea of their son showing any signs of femininity. Deeply rooted homophobia is one of the reasons for this irrational fear, but it’s also because they don’t want their sons to be seen as weak. By embracing any form of femininity, they are going against Latinx culture that has been passed down through generations. It goes again machismo and the picture of these strong, hyper-masculine men.

 

(Photo by Ethan Miller)

 

Puerto Rican trap and reggaeton rapper/singer Benito Antonio Martinez Ocasio, famously known as Bad Bunny, is embracing both his feminine and masculine sides - and doesn’t care about what anyone has to say. He stays true to himself, and the things that he likes. He enjoys to paint his nails and dye his hair different colors, no matter how feminine these actions may seem like to others. Although he tends to do this because its truly what he enjoys, he is in fact making statements every time he steps out with his nails done, hair a new color, earrings on, ect. As a Latinx man, this is huge.

 

Time and time again, Bad Bunny’s choices to paint his nails, wear “girly” colored clothes, wear earrings, and more redefine what it means to be masculine in the Latinx community. Boys are often shamed and told that they can’t wear any of these things because of gender roles. They are taught that these activities are strictly for girls. And even when a boy chooses to - for example - paint his nails, his sexuality is immediately questioned. Bad Bunny challenges what it means to be masculine within the Latinx community, going against decades of a culture that has molded machismo.

 

(Photo via Twitter)

 

Bad Bunny stepped out onto the red carpet for the Latin Billboard Awards this year not only looking amazing, but in confidence and self-expression. From the beautiful lavender color of his suit, to the lime green hair and coffin-shaped yellow acrylic nails, he once again made a statement. In an interview he did with Refinery29, he mentions the fact that how he chooses to style himself is all based on self-expression. To Bad Bunny, staying in touch with both his masculinity and femininity is art.

 

(Photo via Bad Bunny Youtube)

His music video for his song “Caro” is another prime example of the way he expresses these two sides of himself. The music video is well interpreted as a statement for gender fluidity and self-acceptance. This is remarkable for him to be making these large statements, not just as a famous rapper - but a Latinx trap star. The colorful video showcases Bad Bunny getting a manicure until he transforms into a woman that represents the feminine side of himself. And as she moves through the video, she has a buzz cut and is dressed typically as a “male” would. He continues to push against heteronormative narratives and societal norms through the women he displays throughout the video. He’s inclusive with the casting, including the appearance of a drag queen, pregnant woman and a girl with down syndrome. It’s truly beautiful to see.

 

I think the best message Bad Bunny is sending to all is that it’s okay to express yourself in any way you please. Whether you are gender fluid or not, accept yourself and love all sides of who you are. Even when questions are brought up about his sexuality, he doesn’t stop being who he is. He continues to inspire and create art, even through the way he chooses to style himself. He’s telling Latinx communities to be more open-minded, and he won’t be brought down by those who stay close-minded in Latinx culture.