The soccer kiss incident shows how funny structural sexism can be in Spain.
The soccer kiss incident shows how funny structural sexism can be in Spain.

There was anger and disgust over a kiss between the male head of Spanish soccer and a player who won the Women’s World Cup, but there was also laughter.

Luis Rubiales had to leave his positions as president of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and vice president of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) because of the forced kiss on August 20, 2023, which happened in front of a packed stadium in Australia and a global audience. Prosecutors in Spain are also looking into him for sexual abuse and pressure.

During the high-stakes, painful drama that took over the Spanish news for weeks, there were jokes. The Rubiales kiss became the subject of internet memes, skits by comedians on Spanish TV, and many drawings in newspapers all over the world.

As people who study Iberian societies and how men and women are portrayed, we know that laughter is a national sport in Spain, just like soccer. Also, Rubiales’ forced kiss on Jenni Hermoso, a member of Spain’s World Cup-winning team, was a great example of how comedy can be used to show how sexism is built into a system and reveal it.

The funny side of oddness

Humor is a social act that shows what people have done and, more importantly, what they have done wrong.

In his book “Punchlines: The Case for Racial, Ethnic, and Gender Humor,” social scientist Leon Rappoport talks about why we laugh at things that don’t make sense. Rappoport says that humor is used to explain something that is “clearly absurd or contradictory.”

This seems to be the reason why a lot of people are laughing about the Rubiales case. Not only did he kiss her, but he also grabbed his crotch while cheering on the Spanish women as they won their first World Cup. Both of these actions were strange and unwelcome.

The scandal-causing uninvited kiss.
The scandal-causing uninvited kiss.

A lot of the jokes were made about Rubiales. One editorial drawing in the digital daily El Espaol drew him as the Spanish version of Donald Trump. Other posts made fun of him by comparing him to a rough-around-the-edges Homer Simpson.

The former vice president of UEFA was not the only one who was made fun of. His mother also put herself up for ridicule when she went on a hunger strike to demand that he be set free. Even Rubiales’s many fans at the RFEF couldn’t get away from the farce-fest. Even those who turned against him were made fun of. One editorial drawing showed them as rats fleeing Rubiales’ Titanic ship as it sank.

But some of the jokes were about more important things. Rubiales’s sexism at a big sports event didn’t help the country’s image around the world, especially since it is trying to co-host the 2030 Men’s World Cup. A joke writer for the national newspaper El Mundo suggested that the next official mascot for the World Cup be a Rubiales that grabs its crotch.

A joke about men and women

In the book “A Comedian and an Activist Walk Into a Bar,” written by Caty Borum Chattoo and Lauren Feldman, they talk about how humor can be used to bring people together, guide public discourse, and get people to act.

It would be too much to say that Rubiales’ actions and the jokes that were made about it led to his departure on September 10. But in this case, the humor helped get people talking and motivated them to take action to stop structural sexism in Spain and other places.

A spoof recreation of Rubiales’ kiss shared on the social media accounts of a self-styled amateur writer who goes by the online name @LolaLaMonyos shows how this happened.

In the sketch, two women play Rubiales and Hermoso, and they act out the kiss that Rubiales told the RFEF’s general assembly about. Some people thought he would quit at the meeting on August 25, but he didn’t. Instead, he supported his “peck” by saying it was mutually agreed upon and took a stand against both “false feminism” and wording that is inclusive of both men and women.

“When Jenni showed up for the first time, she picked me up off the ground. I don’t remember if she grabbed me by the hips or the legs. She picked me up off the floor, and we almost both fell.

“Then, during all of the partying, she kissed me, patted me on the side a few times, and then excused herself with one more pat on the side before laughingly walking away,” he said.

If you put those words over the fake remake, you can see how crazy Rubiales’s version is. Also, the difference between his male words and the two female bodies in the movie shows how women are often silenced and different rules are set for men and women. Since it was put on X, which used to be called Twitter, almost 650,000 people have looked at the picture.

The famous Spanish humorous TV show “El Intermedio” retold the events in the style of a wildlife documentary, which was a different way to make them funny. The skit is called “This turned out so “cute”,” which is a play on the Spanish word “mono,” which can mean either “monkey” or “cute.” It is made up of clips of monkeys and a man’s authoritative voice-over.

Even though it’s funny, it makes some important points. The sketch’s writers give the audience a sense of power over Rubiales by making the audience laugh at how stupid Rubiales is.

Also, the article says that Rubiales’ outlook and beliefs are old-fashioned and are a step back in the fight for equal rights for men and women.

We would also say that the movie makes people question the idea that male systems are a sign of progress in society. We got the message that society needs to change the way it thinks about these things. A society that wants to be more polite can’t live in a world where harassment, sexual abuse, pressure, and discrimination are all okay.

None of these funny reactions to the Rubiales story make it less important or less likely that people will talk about it. Instead, they have helped shape how conversations have gone in Spain.

It’s all over for Rubiales

There’s no question that the accusations against Rubiales are a turning point in Spain’s effort to deal with power abuses linked to sexual attack and female inequality in general. Since the scandal, the word #seacabó, which means “it’s over” in English, has been popular for a good reason. This is because Alexia Putellas, a Spanish soccer star, used it to talk about Rubiales. Putellas, who won the coveted Ballon d’Or Féminin and Best FIFA Women’s Player awards twice, said in December 2021, “True victory will be when boys and girls have the same opportunities in sports and in the world.”

The Rubiales tragicomedy has had big effects, and those effects are still growing. It has given Spain and others the courage to stand up to discrimination on and off the sports field.

But is it also something to laugh about? We say yes, because laughter helps us make sense of things that don’t make sense, face them as a group, and move toward social change.

This story comes from The Conversation, a non-profit news site where academic experts share their thoughts.

Read More:

Sign Up for Our Newsletters

Get notified of the best deals on our WordPress themes.

You May Also Like

Football’s “hyper-masculine” culture of silence and mental health:

By John Brooks AGN. David Wheeler’s anger is clear to see. He…

Swedish golfer Nordqvist ends her controversial deal with Saudi Arabia

Anna Nordqvist, a Swedish golfer, has ended her deal to be an…

Flashback: At the time of their divorce, a look back at Gisele Bündchen and Tom Brady’s wedding.

Gisele Bundchen is known for living a healthy life and taking care of her responsibilities. She is also known for her sweet marriage to Tom Brady. On the eleventh year of their marriage, Actiongamesnow takes a look back at their big day.

Dave Butz, who played football for Purdue and the Washington Commanders, passed away at the age of 72.

Dave Butz, a football legend for Purdue University and the Washington Commanders, has died at the age of 72.