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Spanish football boss Rubiales’ kiss sparks debate on sexual violence and cultural norms

“Tightly, fervently, I am ardently in love. The Spanish populace possesses an exquisite art of affection. Lip to lip, never forsaking their company day and night…”

This is the authentic Italian verse of the “Epistle from a Spanish Lady” in its literal translation. However, this lyrical composition has vanished from the prevalent and enduring melody “Spanish Lady” in China.

Moreover, “The Spanish Lady” has also undergone a transformation in perspective, elevating the Spanish lady to an object of admiration: “She is so vivacious and resplendent, acclaimed wherever she goes.” Conversely, “Epistle from the Spanish Lady,” as the title of the song suggests, embodies a song of self-expression. Echoing the voice of the Spanish lady herself: “Radiant with Spain’s beauty, I am the Queen of Love…” The impassioned Latin people are indeed from Mars, while others—particularly the descendants of the Puritans—perhaps hail from the “Ice Star.” It is no wonder that Luis Rubiales, the President of the Royal Spanish Football Association, was profoundly bewildered by his inadvertent action.

Herein lies the matter. Rubiales embraced Jennifer Hermoso, the Spanish women’s forward (as well as every other player), for an extended moment upon the coveted World Cup podium, yet what truly transpired? Their mouths briefly met for less than a second. “The kiss of my jubilation seared upon him” (the ardor still coursing through the veins of the Hispanic Neruda), after which he released his hold.

However, this fleeting kiss immediately triggered an uproar across the globe. Various English-speaking media outlets hastened to report, proclaiming that Lu’s conduct had evoked widespread condemnation in Spain, yet they provided no substantiating examples. After a brief pause, the Spanish discourse community finally awakened.

The first individual to voice her opinion was Irene Montero, Spain’s Minister for Equality. Six hours after the incident, she took to Twitter and wrote, “This constitutes a form of sexual violence that women endure daily, yet it has hitherto been overlooked. We cannot permit its normalization.” Nadi, the women’s sports writer for “The Nation,” A. Tronchoni, labels this act as a “violation.”

Calls for Lu’s resignation also began to emerge. Several law professors urged the prosecutors to press charges against Lu. Two days later, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez declared that Rubiales’ apology was insufficient. Furthermore, he stated, “Lu’s behavior is incongruous with the prevailing sentiments of the majority of citizens regarding gender equality.”

Regarding Rubiales’ apology, upon hearing criticism for kissing Hermoso, his initial reaction was to label those individuals as “fools.” It was only upon his return to Spain that he realized the gravity of the situation. Consequently, he appeared to commence his apology: “I erred, undoubtedly. I must confess it. In that heightened emotional moment, there was no ill intent, no malice; what occurred simply transpired spontaneously…” By continuing to apologize, it appears that he deems it necessary to do so due to differing opinions held by outsiders.

By the way, the so-called “Epistle from a Spanish Lady” was in fact penned by an Italian gentleman in 1905.