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Wednesday, April 22 • 9:20am - 9:40am
Women’s Empowerment Through the Lyrics of Female Country Musicians

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Contemporary country music is not widely known for its subversion of traditional gender roles. On the contrary, country music is often seen as upholding stereotypes of southern culture, with particular focus on traditional displays of masculinity and femininity. Scholars argue that country music does continually reify notions of the gender binary, in which men and women are separate, and strictly so. Based on the stringent enforcement of the gender binary in country music, this paper will explore aspects of country music that are misogynistic, tinted with characteristics of hegemonic masculinity and the subordination and oppression of women. While these characteristics are undoubtedly relevant to an understanding of how country music polices gender, this paper will also explore the extent to which female country musicians, such as Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert and the Dixie Chicks, are writing music for women’s empowerment. Some posit that female country artists, while seeking to empower themselves and their audiences, covertly reinforce notions of traditional gender roles and feminine stereotypes within the country music scene. However, this paper will argue that, despite overtones of misogyny and women’s oppression, female artists seek to break the mold of hegemonic masculinity to empower female audiences through the reclamation of power and agency. To discern empowerment in the genre this paper will analyze the specific lyrics of songs by Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert and the Dixie Chicks. These lyrics, used as primary source material, will respond to the scholarly arguments that argue that female country articles are not transgressive.


Wednesday April 22, 2015 9:20am - 9:40am PDT
246 Zageir Hall

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