I wrote an article on the Women of Country Music and in my research I found that the women of country music were strong, beautiful and able women with wonderful stories to tell and an even better message attached to each one. However, I also stumbled upon some opinions on how women are portrayed in country music. Listening to the lyrics of many country songs, what would a non-listener think of the genre? “Oh, country music is about a guy and his truck and maybe a chick. The chick either broke his heart or they’re gettin’ hitched. Or she’s a skank in Daisy Dukes and a beer in her exposed bra. Yee haw!” This is absolutely not what the genre is about, but women depicted in the lyrics and in music videos of these songs might have people believe something different.
Kenny Chesney recently came out with statements on his opinions on sexism in country music.
"Over the last several years, it seems like anytime anybody sings about a woman, she's in cutoff jeans, drinking and on a tailgate—they objectify the hell out of them," he told the mag. "Twenty years ago, I might have written a song like that—I probably did. But I'm at a point where I want to say something different about women." –Chesney
Chesney also admits to some of his hit songs being about the objectification of the ideal “southern woman.” He notes that that is the music that hits the charts nowadays and that’s a huge problem. Chesney countered this point by stating that his new song “Wild Child”, which he collaborated with Grace Potter on, is an anthem about a more “dimensional” woman. It is. The woman he is singing about “don’t need no cowboy.” His lyrics, “She's a wild child, got a rebel soul with a whole lot of gypsy wild style. She can't be tied down but for a while. I'll be falling free and so in love, might break my heart but God she drives me wild child.” She isn’t some girl that is chasing after him in cut off jeans while he spins his tires in the mud.
This is a man that has been in the genre for a long time and knows a thing or two. Fresh blood also has something to say about it. Maddie & Tae,
rising country stars, made a very bold statement about it in their single “The Girl in a Country Song.” The song as well as their music video is a satire on the themes of country music today and their depictions of women.
“Bein' the girl in a country song
How in the world did it go so wrong?
Like all we're good for
Is looking good for you and your friends on the weekend
We used to get a little respect
Now we're lucky if we even get
To climb up in your truck, keep my mouth shut and ride along
And be the girl in a country song”
I’m sorry, you couldn’t ask for more of a “KISS MY REDNECK SASS” than that. These ladies are new to the game, producing music wise, but they and plenty of other women know that this is nothing new. Their music video is brilliant as well, putting the cowboys in the Daisy Dukes. It’s a bold statement, but an absolutely beautiful one.
It’s tough for women in country music as artists as well. In an article written in late January, Carrie Underwood expressed that her success is unusual nowadays for women artists. In 2013 only three solo female country artists were on the Billboard’s Top 25 Chart (Miranda Lambert and Taylor Swift being two mentionables.)
“You would think that we would be farther along in the thinking about women in country music. I like to think things are getting better, but then I see stats like [the one cited above] and realize that women really do seem to get the short end,” Underwood stated.
“There is certainly not a shortage of talented ladies out there that want so badly to get their fair shot in this business,” adds the singer. “But there seems to be only room for only a few.”
Carrie went on to say, “there seem to be so many male singers out there who can be viewed as similar, and there seems to be plenty of room for all of them.”
Women in country music are growing stronger though. They are gaining recognition on the charts as well as in the eyes of the “conventional” country music scene. Country is about community. Everyone is here after a long day of work, and is entitled to a good time.