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This study aims to show that sexism exists in all facets of society by exposing its existence in the widely unexpected area of country music. Within sociology, much work has been done on sexism in the popular musical genres of rock and rap, but little attention has been given to country music. The focus of this study is an area of society where sexism is often thought to be less salient.
In order to do this I will use a perspective developed from sociological perspectives on culture, gender, and music, and look at popular country songs for sexist lyrics. Using a series of indicators for sexism in music lyrics, I analyzed popular country songs in the Billboard Hot chart.
This study involves an examination of sexist ideologies in country lyrics that portray women in a stereotypical and negative manner. The particular kind of music explored in the study is country music, a popular genre in American culture today. Theoretically, my analysis is based on perspectives from the sociology of culture, including the sociology of music, and the sociology of gender. In the sociology of culture and music, a great deal of research has been done about how pop and rock music portray femininity and what it means to be a woman.
However, relatively little work has been done about how the lyrics of artists communicate certain aspects of gender. Country music is an area where sexism would be unexpected because it is viewed as wholesome by American society, especially when compared to other genres of music. Country music is often labeled conservative, which is what makes it seem innocent and wholesome. This analysis thus precedes to offer a strong test of sexism in society as it focuses on a kind of popular music that is generally least thought of to portray sexism.
This research is situated in the sociology of culture and music and the sociology of gender. Within the sociology of culture, the sociology of music is of special relevance because music is considered a type of art that reflects certain customs and beliefs of the society within which it is produced.
The sociology of gender will be the specific thematic lens used to do an in-depth analysis of each selected song. A brief review of these subfields of sociology will clarify the framework of the present study. The sociology of culture is a well-established area of study. Culture can have many meanings, but it typically refers to the values or beliefs that are unique to an individual society Bharadwaj Originally, anthropologists studied culture, and their definition of culture included everything that was not part of the natural, physical world.
Sociology does not use culture as such a broad concept, but rather, as one dimension within a society, next to politics, economy, and other non-cultural social aspects Deflem Within culture in general, popular culture in particulr is defined as anything that is consumed by large audiences of people within a society with the purpose of entertainment Finkelstein and Langer Various forms of popular music are situated within the broader field of popular culture. One area of interest for the sociology of music is the organization of music and its mass production in the market Dowd This raises the question of what makes for popular music and why.
It is also important to study the distribution of songs once they are made and how artists, labels, and producers actually earn money. A lot of work in this area is applied specifically to certain musical genres and their differing themes Dowd Specific genres of music have subcultures that coexist with the music, which le to another area of study. The role that subcultures play in music can be very profound.
The subculture for a genre of music can be studied and used to make generalizations about the music without ever actually looking at what the content of the music actually implies. An example of this would be looking at how fans of heavy metal music dress and act and then assuming the music is sexist because most of the fans seem to be very aggressive males Dowd Sociologists of music have generally not paid due attention to the lyrical content of music Dowd It is important to study the lyrical content of music, because without knowing the content in great detail, one cannot assume the response Women wants hot sex Clifton South Carolina the music.
The lyrical content of a song is as equally important as the response to the song because the lyrics themselves could directly or indirectly influence the response. The specific words chosen for a song are not simply random. They were made by a deliberate choice by songwriters, who, like producers have the ultimate goal of earning money.
Lyrical content must be studied in the same systematic manner applied to analyzing the instrumental parts of music. Sociologist Dowd hopes that more research can be done on musical content in the future perhaps to make better analysis of genres The sociology of gender is very well established field of study. The sociology of gender looks to explain the social phenomena where members of a society define and perform roles around the dichotomy of masculine and feminine. Sociologists of gender study both gender roles as well as sex roles Sydie Gender roles are roles that are acted out to portray masculine or feminine qualities, based on what the actor chooses to portray.
Sex roles are the roles that actors are born into based on their biological sex, and based on how a specific society expects a male or female to behave. Some would argue that members in society tend to use gender roles to perpetuate the idea that men and women are extremely different.
If people are often confronted by the media and told throughout daily life that the sexes are so different, then it is easy to believe that the differences are real and lead to inevitable inequality. Feminist theory argues this inevitable inequality to occur every time women assume their role below men. The sociology of gender confronts this notion of a predestined dichotomy and questions media practices that make such differences seem natural or permanent Sydie Feminists work to show that biological differences between humans do not make assuming these roles acceptable to subordinate minorities of the population in society Sydie Gender ideology is an important area of sociology of gender because it looks at how both men and women construct their reality and identity based on beliefs that are reproduced in the media.
These beliefs can justify gender status roles and the natural level of inequality that occurs within society Kroska Gender ideology is also relevant in the sociology of culture because it can be studied in the same manner as the racial hierarchy has in the last century Bharadwaj The observations made by feminist scholars relating to the inequality that women face in modern society can be applied to the music industry when considering that it seems to be that sexist music makes the industry large amounts of money.
Therefore, male artists are making money off of the exploitation of women. Research much be done to understand how and why there is sexism within the music industry. The topic of women in popular culture is important for sociologists today because women are still far from achieving equality with men socially, economically, and politically.
Music permeates all areas of modern society and affects many millions of people. The music industry is tightly woven throughout many facets of the media. What is sociologically fascinating about popular music is that messages coming from artists through their lyrics can affect behavior, even though people listening to music may not be aware that sexist ideologies exist in the lyrics they are hearing.
Fans of Women wants hot sex Clifton South Carolina music may say they listen to music for the beat and other aspects of the sound, but often, they may be listening because the music affirms long held beliefs that they have about culture. Music listeners are registering the words of musical lyrics in their minds, even when they might not realize doing so. If the words of the songs are registering at all, then they need to be analyzed to see what messages are being portrayed to the listener. Sociology therefore also needs to study the imagery of women in popular music, especially when it could have an impact on the way that society views a majority of the population women.
In order to deeply analyze musical content and lyrics, one must identify what is sexist, why it is sexist, and what implications can be drawn from the overarching themes produced from the music. A perspective meshing feminist theory and cultural theory is able to achieve this. Socialization occurs every day in every social institution. If sexism is part of socialization, sexism needs to be studied. It is important that researchers look at the actual content of music itself to make inferences about specific genres of music. While one might also study the reactions that people have Women wants hot sex Clifton South Carolina specific genres, until one has a full understanding of the lyrical content, one cannot have sociological understanding of a genre of music, for it is the lyrics themselves that are the true heart of the music.
As one attempts to study lyrical content, one must be mindful of the issue of gender in music, as themes of sexism and gender stereotyping are prevalent throughout society and in popular culture. Clear and precise themes of sexism need to be drawn out based on specific phrases in each song.
Once themes of sexism are identified, one can see what implications are made about women. Most importantly, once these themes are identified, one can begin to see beyond the explicit sexism that is obvious in lyrical content and delve into the implicit sexism that might be even more damaging to both men and women in society. Some would argue that sexism will exist in most facets of the media, including music. Based on that, I expect to find sexism in country music, even though it would be unexpected. In order for a song to be considered sexist in this study it will have to make reference to women in a way that generalizes, stereotypes, degrades, demoralizes, objectifies, or threatens physical or sexual harm.
Some of the themes that arise could be very arguably sexist. This means that some scholars would argue that a statement is sexist and other scholars would disagree. In order to achieve thoroughness, I will explore any statement that could be considered sexist by scholars, even if most might disagree. The song selection in this paper was made by consulting Billboard. Billboard selects songs based on a of factors, including album sales, downlo, radio airplay, touring sales, and plays on social media sites.
First, songs were selected based on their peak on the Hot Billboard chart. If more than one song tied at the same peak position, the of weeks on the chart was used. After the songs were ranked based on these criteria, lyrics were analyzed to find any reference to women. The top-ranked song that referenced women at all was used.
Songs that featured a female artist on the track were excluded. If an artist did not have songs on the Hot Billboard chart, then the Billboard album charts were used. After identifying the most popular album on Billboard, the most downloaded song on iTunes on that album mentioning women was used. The complete list of selected songs is included in the Appendix.
Focusing on musical content, the song lyrics are examined to see how they imply gender differences and sexism in any of the following ways:. On the basis of this approach, the lyrics of the selected songs were taken at face value and analyzed as if anyone could have written them. In this study, the goal was to capture the precise image of women that is portrayed to a first-time or casual listener of the song who knows nothing about the song other than the words that are actually sung. Only male artists portraying females were studied to highlight the theme of sexism.
I expect that the findings of my study will show that sexist lyrics are represented in much of popular music in the United States today and, additionally, that such sexism occurs even in unexpected areas like country music. As expected, many of the country songs had positive messages when analyzed at face value. Many of the songs were about Women wants hot sex Clifton South Carolina and how much the singer loved his ificant other.
However, there were also sexist themes present as well, which will be explored in this section. The themes that were positive were also very unrealistic. This could be detrimental to both males and females because it provides unrealistic expectations about relationships. It is also interesting that many country artists had songs about perfect relationships, but also had songs about miserable break ups. The contradiction between songs makes it hard to decipher which is the more dominant message. The most common theme in the country songs were not sexist.
The theme could be described to say the man loves his ificant other very much. In this study, thirteen out of twenty songs had this as the theme. This brings a more realistic view of relationships. When a break up song happens in this genre, the majority of songs did not blame the woman for the break up.
He actually mentions the unrealistic nature of the fairytale fantasy with specific metaphors. He laments the fact that he, apparently, has lost her. This is gender neutral because a male or female could feel this way. Sometimes, the love being sung about was not for a ificant other, but for a mother or daughter. The next most common theme was depicting women in traditional gender roles and depicting men as stereotypically masculine and women as stereotypically feminine.
This theme was present in ten of the twenty songs in this study. Males were depicted as being masculine in multiple songs. Hank Williams Jr. He wanted his son to be picked on, so that he would become tough.
This relates to the theme of gender roles because the father felt the surest way to cause the son to be an object of ridicule would be to name him a feminine name. Clearly, this makes the argument that women, unlike men, are too weak to fight. The song uses the metaphor of cooking to describe her. Secondly, it asks what she has cooking. This references the traditional gender role of women being in the kitchen, cooking for men. Again, a third notion of traditional gender roles is reinforced.
The woman must look good, cook, and finally, produce sexual satisfaction for the man.
She should be thinking about having children. It is surprising that this song does not mention the girl going to college or having a career because today a majority women do want to achieve those goals. It provides can give specific expectations on both males and females and could create confusion about what a relationship is really like.
In a world in which women have made great strides in the effort to be politically and culturally equal to men in society, one would think these ideas are outdated. Yet, this song is still quite popular inmeaning its implications about gender roles are still prevalent in our society.
This theme was in four of the twenty songs.Women wants hot sex Clifton South Carolina
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