Recently, good ole Kenny Chesney made a statement to Billboard magazine about country music and it's womanizing tendencies. In the statement, he acknowledges that while he may have written a song (try ten) that does just that, he feels like it's time to move past that in the country music industry, and I wholeheartedly agree. Country music is near and dear to my heart, I grew up listening to it all the time, and the Houston Rodeo is a place I will never stop loving. Unfortunately, there is a large subset of country music that serves to diminish women's roles in society, and ultimately diminish them as equally intellectual, motivated, independent folks. Just a few months ago (May 2015) Keith Hill referred to women country singers as the "tomatoes"in the country music "salad"- oh! Okay yeah, just sprinkle that sh*t in, nobody really likes tomatoes anyway right? Bye Keith, you're an a**hole. Over the course of the last 100 years, country music has seen plenty of vulgarity, plenty of drug abuse, plenty of violence, and PLENTY of typification of country girls as sexy sex machines. These are 6 (catchy) songs I think display varying levels of chauvinistic sexism.
Anna Rodgers, a masters student at SoCo released an Analysis of Country Music where she discusses the following themes in country music: men should try to engage with women sexually at all costs, depicting women in traditional gender roles, describing relationships with women in unrealistic ways, and attributing a woman's worth strictly on the basis of her physical appearance. I feel I've successfully touched on each of these claims, all of which express a deeply imbedded sexism. She writes that this sexism is unexpected, but I disagree.
In 2004 a Gallup survey indicated that nearly 60% of country music listeners identify and vote conservatively- a political party considerably more affiliated with things like gender inequality and sexism. Why is it so shocking that the same people who passed bills in September 2015 stripping federal funds to organizations that provide screenings for breast or cervical cancers, pap smears, STD testing, rape kits, birth control -basic women's rights- would also be listening to music that is dehumanizing and offensive to them? The same people whose leaders claim that the "female body has ways of shutting down" pregnancies as a result of rape (Todd Akin, Republican Congressman in 2012)? It shouldn't be surprising in the slightest; it is naive to think there aren't just as many issues of misogyny and sexism in country music as any other genre. You can't invalidate the intent behind a song just because these cute cowboys say it classier than the rappers do.
These are just a few recent examples of sexist lines in songs you've probably heard 1000 times without criticizing them:
"Hey Mister! Yeah, I kissed her. Son, you ought to see her sister! You've got to give a little something to a cool dark cat, Finding him a woman who could shake like that" Toby Keith, "She's a Hottie" 2008
"Feeling lucky, got hooked up with some Kentucky clear / So slide that little sugar shaker over here" Florida Georgia Line, "Get Your Shine On" 2012
"I want a cool chick that'll cook for me / But'll dance on the bar in her tan bare feet / And do what I want when I want and she'll do it with me" Keith Urban, "Little Bit of Everything" 2013
"You got that suntan, skirt and boots / waiting on you to look my way and scoot / your little hot self over here / girl hand me another beer, yeah!" Luke Bryan, "That's My Kinda Night" 2013
I hope that one day soon conservatives, and in turn conservative themes in country music and the people who enjoy it, will come to the same realization as Mr. Chesney; women are people too. We are not on this earth solely for your enjoyment, we do not only view ourselves through the male perspective, and we deserve so much more than to be objectified and treated as such.