Marbella is looking at ways of regulating "uncivilised and wild" hen and stag parties

Tourists at a hen do in Puerto Banús.
Tourists at a hen do in Puerto Banús. / Josele-Lanza
  • The PSOE party in Malaga also wants local by-laws to be changed so that these celebrations can be controlled

Marbella has just become the latest municipality to announce that it plans to introduce regulations to control behaviour at hen and stag parties. Social Rights councillor, Victoria Morales, says “women are treated as objects” at these parties and the town hall is considering different ways of controlling such events if they become “uncivilised and disruptive.”

Malaga, Torremolinos and Benalmádena have already announced that they intend to do something about hen and stag parties, which often take place in coastal resorts in Spain. The local authorities say the events are characterised by sexism, unsuitable dress and messages, and the loud music, megaphones and drunkenness constitute a public nuisance.

In Malaga city, the PSOE party said this week that it intends to ask for existing by-laws to be modified, so that wild parties sending off brides and grooms can be regulated.

“At present, the Local Police are authorised to intervene in cases of disruptive behaviour, but when new situations arise, such as these parties, they need to be regulated as well. They should be specifically covered in the by-laws, because having fun is one thing, but extreme situations which damage the image of the town are unacceptable,” said spokesman Daniel Pérez, who wants Malaga to follow the example of other places which have taken similar action such as Granada, Madrid, Mojácar (Almeria) and Conil (Cadiz).

He pointed out that the annual feria is about to start, and said “you can’t have a quality fair when there are people wearing unsuitable clothing, using megaphones and behaving in an uncivilised manner.”

Teresa Porras, Malaga’s councillor for Festivals, is not ruling out the idea of the regulations being changed, but says that all bad behaviour should be regulated, not just stag and hen parties as such.

In La Axarquía region, which is becoming a popular place for the pre-wedding events, there have already been complaints about a lack of control and sexist behaviour, and also some controversial practices such as ‘handcuffing’, when people of short stature, usually dwarves, are handcuffed to the groom or bride for the whole evening.

"On alert"

The councillor for Equality in Vélez-Málaga, Zoila Martín, says there have been no reports of significant problems at these type of celebrations in the town, but she is aware that other councils, such as Torremolinos and Benalmádena, are considering introducing strict regulations.

“We are on alert for this problem. We are going to look at the situation, although we have already introduced some regulations which ban people from going outside without a shirt or making a lot of noise,” she says.

With regard to sexist behaviour at stag parties, she says this is ‘denigrating’ to women. “That has to be stopped. I have never liked stag and hen parties, I don’t think there is anything positive about segregating people by sex and making fun of them.”

Her counterpart in Nerja, Patricia Gutiérrez, says the council there has not encountered any problems of this type, although she is aware that they occur in towns further west such as Marbella and Benalmádena.

She agrees, however, that it should not be permitted. “It’s time to put paid to the original idea that marriage meant an end to individual freedom,” she says.