Spain: Blanca Paloma and EAEA

Edited to add: Since posting this, a lot of people have noted that the song is written from the point of view of her grandmother, making it more like a song like O Jardim. That’s context I have picked up, and I want to thank everyone for pointing it out. I screwed up.

It still leads me to the question – and this may be one that’s been lost in translation – if this is a broader wish of a grandmother to be looking after her grandchildren, I wish we’d be using the translation of ‘child’ rather than ‘son’ for ‘nino’. This gets to a larger problem of why the masculine form of a noun is the default, but that’s a problem larger than Eurovision.

In 1968, Spain won Eurovision with the song La La La.

In 2023, could Spain win Eurovision with the song EAEA?

Spain is sending the talented Blanca Paloma, a woman who is willing to sing this song anywhere at the drop of a hat. And with a voice like that, I would as well! Whether she’s at Benidorm fest on the stage or riffing on someone’s TikTok, her vocals are always on point. Combine that with the fact that she’s singing flamenco, a traditional Spanish art form. and I can see this easily winning the jury on Saturday night.

But I haven’t fallen in love with this the way that I should. While the staging suggests something witchy – like Blanca Paloma is at the head of a cult – the lyrics are about a mother’s love for her son. Blanca since about how, after she dies, she wants to be buried in the moon so she can still see her child.

It’s a beautiful tribute to a mother’s love for her son. But it doesn’t match the visuals, and I feel a bit cheated. Last year, Spain almost sent Ay Mama, an ode to breastfeeding and mothers, and this year, they’re also sending a song about motherhood. Is there a trend?

Don’t get me wrong. Mothers are great. But a lot of times, we celebrate mothers as a proxy for celebrating women, when they’re not the same thing at all. And it makes me sad to see a song performed by a woman with other women be a song that centres the experience of a man – her son. The mother has to be so devoted to him that she’ll still continue to look after him following her death. Once she’s had her son, her entire identity is about him, rather than being a person first, and mother second.

I realise that a lot of people think I’m reading too much into this. But I want a world where women can be messy and complicated, where being a mother can coexist with other roles, rather than becoming one’s whole identity. Women shouldn’t be constrained about writing songs about their love affairs or their families – I want to see them being able to write about anything.

So yes, taken alone, without any context, Spain is a great song. But in the context of ‘feminist’ songs like Ay Mama and Proud, it’s a worrying trend that seems to equate motherhood with the experience of being a woman, and I’m just tired of it.

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