The Problematic Misogyny in Country Music

I’m not going to lie. I listen to country music. It’s not my music genre of choice, but I do listen to it from time to time. In all honesty, I even have a country playlist called Yee to the Haw. Albeit, it’s a meme playlist, but still country. Even though I listen to country music, I can’t disregard the prevalence of misogyny in the genre. There is even a subgenre for this called “bro-country.” I’m not even joking about that.

Regardless of music taste, it’s important to be aware of the misogyny in the music industry as a whole. This article is specifically about country music. Though I am well aware this is prevalent in many other genres, I am only going to talk about the objective misogyny and not the subjective music quality.

Whether you listen to country music or not, I think you may still be aware of what goes on in country music. One issue non-country music fans bring up is how repetitive country music is. Every song is about the same things: a red pickup truck, drinking beer, a long dirt road, and of course, girls in cowboy boots and daisy dukes.

Credit: The Odyssey Online

This may be a bit of an exaggeration, but still, talking about women as a mere prop or object is common in many songs. Now, there’s nothing wrong with writing songs about women. The problem comes when the women are objectified and nothing more than a nice thing to look at. For example, there’s "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk" by Trace Adkins. This is literally a song about staring at girls' butts at the bar. The entire music video is girls in skimpy clothing shaking their butts.  

An example from a more recent song is Sam Hunt’s "Body like a Backroad" where he says “The way she fit in them blue jeans, she don’t need no belt/ But I can turn ’em inside out, I don’t need no help.” Again, a male artist singing about a girl’s body and his desire to take off her clothes.

It’s just so tiring to hear the same sexist words over and over on the radio. These types of songs play on repeat day in and day out. It’s not okay for people to hear men repeatedly talking about the way women look in their jeans. Or, how they want to take those jeans off. Women are more than just their bodies.

The misogyny is not only in what is being said in the music, but in many other aspects. In the current Billboard Top 50 Country, 7 songs are sung by solo female artists with two songs by the same woman, Maren Morris. This means out of 50 songs, only 14% are sung by solo female artists. This isn’t a lot. This only highlights the current problem in country music. It’s completely dominated by men putting out a sexist image.

“Bro-country” is overtaking the country charts, and in my opinion, ruining country music.

Country artist, Carrie Underwood, told Elaina Smith on the Women Want to Hear Women podcast, "I think about all the little girls that are sitting at home saying, 'I want to be a country music singer.' What do you tell them, you know? What do you do? How do you look at them and say, 'Well, just work hard, sweetie, and you can do it' when that's probably not the case right now?”

Credit: Market Watch

Country music needs to stop eliminating the female voice in favor of sexist ideas. In 2015 we saw #tomatogate. (Yes, it’s a real thing.) Radio consultant Keith Hill advised radio stations not to play songs by female artists stating, “Trust me. I play great female records, and we've got some right now; they're just not the lettuce in our salad. The lettuce is Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton, Keith Urban and artists like that. The tomatoes of our salad are the females.”

Hill equated female artists to tomatoes, which can only be assumed as the unnecessary part of a salad. Country music has become so exclusionary. It’s 2019, and we’re seeing a total regression in gender equality in this industry. Country music just needs to stop with the sexist lyrics and the total shut-out of solo female artists. 

 

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