A souvenir stand in Barcelona, Source: Depositphotos

Will Barcelona ban ‘tacky and tasteless’ souvenirs?

Will Barcelona ban ‘tacky and tasteless’ souvenirs?

More specifically, the aim is to regulate products that might be considered homophobic or sexist

Like many cities in June, Barcelona is preparing for its Pride celebrations, which will take place on 28 June in the Catalan capital. Unlike other cities, however, the local government has decided to take aim at one mainstay of the tourism industry – regulating tacky and tasteless souvenirs sold at gift shops around the city.

Yesterday, the city council’s economic commission approved a motion by pro-independence party Esquerra to study a ban on "offensive" souvenirs. If you’re wondering which trinkets and fridge magnets could be considered offensive these days, the councillors have in mind products that have “homophobic or sexist” content and poke fun at minorities such as the LGBTQ community.

According to Catalan News, the councillor behind the proposal, Jordi Coronas, described some examples of souvenirs to give the others an idea of what he had in mind. These included things such as "penises with 'Barcelona' branded on them, or T-shirts with sexist and homophobic messages". 

Coronas said that the proposed regulation will seek to ban these types of trinkets as they “degrade Barcelona's image as a tourist destination".

In bad taste or just kitsch?

These kinds of souvenirs have long become a mainstay in gift shops, so much so that most people probably hardly pay attention to them. And even if, indeed, some of them are undoubtedly tasteless, can’t we say the same thing about so many things linked to mass, mainstream tourism these days?

Barcelona’s deputy mayor for economy, Jordi Valls, reportedly agreed with the proposal and promised that the city government would study ways of preventing the display of offensive souvenirs.

However, even he had to admit that regulating this type of issue in particular might be rather challenging because current regulations "do not set any criteria" regarding the content or aesthetic quality of souvenirs.   

After all, what constitutes bad taste is often a matter of subjective taste itself.



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