The Argentine precursor of Pablo Motos

Can you imagine a multiplied Pablo Motos? An anabolic Pablo Motos? A Pablo Motos that unites misogyny, classism, racism, and with a large audience gained over the years? You don’t have to imagine it, he lives in Argentina, and his name is Baby Etchecopar.

In a program, he accused the guest of receiving social allowances, because according to him, what the husband earns is worth it. He insulted her by calling her a “worm” and a “hustler”. He also defended the then millionaire president Mauricio Macri, and he ends it all with the fact that she is to blame for not making ends meet because who sent her to have six children?

Do you know what happened next? That he was denounced for gender discrimination and shortly after the judicial authorities ordered him to broadcast a weekly micro made by feminist women on his program, without interrupting or criticizing him after the broadcast. For five months. Of course, none of the women wanted to set foot in that studio or share the space with Baby, which is precisely why they decided to record those materials.

Baby Etchecopar is a very famous presenter in Argentina, who for years had his personal program on TV and radio. He has literally been spewing macho and hate for years. It’s kind of a trademark. Years ago he compared the former CFK president to a lethal disease, like cancer. He also referred to her as “a single lady”, something that at this point is not even worth commenting on.

In 2013, she spoke on her program about women over 40 in the following way: “Those who do not have a standard measure, something edible, a common and drinkable woman, you have to give them a hammer on the head.”

Baby Etchecopar and her hatred has many followers, from the most reactionary and conservative sectors.

But unfortunately the Latin American media space is very, very far from being respectful of women.

For decades machismo has been normalized on television, by men, by women, by the audience. If you go to the newspaper archives, you literally have money for a doctoral thesis. Women presenters, such as Mirtha Legrand, blaming the victim for domestic violence, asking her if she has done “something abnormal” for her husband to hit her.

Famous musicians acknowledging in the middle of an interview that they have raped a journalist, because “you know what rape is like, it’s a push and pull”, television series, family members included, normalizing abuse and machismo. And you see it today and you say to yourself: “ok, it was another time, things have changed a lot.” And while it is true, they have definitely not changed what women would have liked.

In this section I purposely refused to give old examples, from a decade or more ago. But it is not necessary to go back to the past either.

These episodes are scandalous, attract a lot of attention and on some occasions even trigger specific actions, complaints and sentences, as in the case of Baby Etchecopar.

But there is another level of the same infamy, camouflaged with good intentions: the daily machismo that manifests itself as compliments, praise, personal questions, that have nothing to do with the matter that is intended to be addressed, nor with one’s work, with any. And here, I have boring examples from personal experience.

A couple of years ago I was a volunteer for the COVID vaccine. And since the Russian vaccine was so demonized, many media outlets contacted me, to see if ears hadn’t grown on my forehead or a third arm. And in one of these they contacted me from an Argentine radio, I reiterate, to talk about vaccines, and the drift will not surprise you.

I remember the discomfort I experienced at that time. Then I spent the whole day telling myself that it was too bad not to have said anything and to have laughed at them, that thought a posteriori that torments you

Gentlemen, what do you care if I’m married or single? How important is this when talking to a vaccine volunteer? Or with a journalist? Or with a nurse? Or with a singer? Why do they have to get into private life taking advantage of the fact that the person agreed to speak?

You know what frustrates you the most? That many people fail to understand what the problem is. “Look what I tell her, I tell her that she’s pretty, that a guy here likes her, and on top of that she complains. She should be proud.”

The examples are not limited to Argentina, mind you. Just a few months ago, the daily facha Digital Journalist posted some real rubbish about my joining Base. Headline: “Scandal: Pablo Iglesias’ new friend, the attractive blonde Russian in Putin’s pay.”

Omitting Putin’s paid friend, all lies typical of media of this ilk, references to hair color and physical appearance, are straight from the Middle Ages.

Gentlemen, I understand that you cannot be asked to stop lying, but you can make an effort to be less misogynistic. They will see that their hoaxes will even seem less tacky and unpresentable.

In short, as I have told you: it is not necessary to dig too deep in the newspaper archives to find examples of everyday machismo in the media.

And no, many of us do not find it pleasant at all to receive comments in the work environment about how we see ourselves, how we dress, how we comb our hair, what color our eyes and hair are, and much less questions about our partners. Friend, realize, please, it’s never too late to get out of the cave, it can be done at any age (except, perhaps, if you’re Baby Etchecopar).

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