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A Nazi Song Cover Gets 9/10 for a Secondary School Assignment in Argentina PDF Print

3 December 2019

Country: Argentina

by: Mikhail Yakovlev

Trigger Warning: this article mentions extreme anti-Semitic content.

Screen_Shot_2019-12-03_at_2.56.08_PMMost people who lived through the late nineties and early two-thousands will remember Aqua’s notoriously “infectious” camp classic Barbie Girl. Topping the charts on release, Barbie Girl has inspired numerous covers and questionable parodies in the years since. But, things took an abhorrent turn last week when it emerged that a group of Argentinian high-schoolers produced a parody, titled “Nazi Girl”.

The Danish original itself features highly questionable lyrics, like:

You can brush my hair, undress me everywhere And:

I'm a blonde single girl in the fantasy world

Dress me up, make your time, I'm your dollie

You're my doll, rock 'n' roll, feel the glamor and pain

Kiss me here, touch me there, hanky panky

Or, yet:

Make me walk, make me talk, do whatever you please

I can act like a star, I can beg on my knees

Admittedly, these lyrics are somewhat ambivalent. They can be interpreted as a highly toxic celebration of cis-het men’s sexual objectification of women, as Bustle’s Allie Gemmill does. Alternatively, it has been suggested that this song is a clever satirical exposé of women’s sexualisation in contemporary [1990s] culture. Personally, I can’t quite make out which is the case. Or, is it both?

The song’s official music video only adds to the ambivalence. Take the bizarre episode when Ken [René Dif] pulls off Barbie’s [Lene Nystrøm] arm. In other words, Ken actually turns her body into an object. Is this a clever visual critique of cis men’s violent control of women’s bodoes? Or, are Aqua celebrating Ken’s sexual power over his Barbie?

Unfortunately, the Argentine students’ “Nazi Girl” is not ambivalent at all.

Israel’s oldest daily, the Haaretz reports that a group of foue students at the prestigious private school Escuela Modelo in Argentina’s North-Western province of San Juan produced their parody for their history assignment.

In this ‘assignment’, we hear these students mumble heinous anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi lyrics out-of-tune in English. To give one example, the students change Barbie’s famous refrain to “I’m a Nazi girl in a Nazi world.” To make sure the audience does not miss any of the words, there are Spanish subtitles at the bottom.

The clip’s visuals, which bear no resemblance to the cheerful camp aesthetics of the original, amplify the pro-Nazi messaging and are eerily scary. Two of the four students wear leather uniforms, which prominently feature red armbands with swastikas. The other two wear striped pyjamas, which resemble the uniform handed out to inmates at some of Nazi Germany’s numerous concentration and death camps.

At various points, the students look straight into the camera and smirk.

In a particularly heinous scene, ‘the Barbie’ stares at the camera, open an oven and tells Jews to “behave or die.”

The Jews are not the only minority targeted by the students. In another scene, Barbie and Ken are shown awkwardly sitting in front of a pool. Singing “You can be disabled, or maybe a homosexual”, they kick two people apparently representing these communities into the pool.

Shockingly, the students were awarded 9/10 for this sick video.

But, after it had been posted online, a social media backlash followed, forcing the school to act.

In a statement released this Saturday, Escuela Modelo apologised to Sociedad Israelita de San Juan, the local Jewish community, and other groups insulted in the video – blacks, homosexuals and disabled people.

It also appears that the history teacher who set the assignment has been terminated.

Still, the most important question is left unanswered – why has it taken so long for the school and relevant government authorities in Argentina to act? After all, Argentina has had a national anti-discrimination law on the books since 1998. And why is it that several Argentinians and other South Americans have taken to social media in droves to express their support for this video and its creators?