The misogynist backroads of country music’s studs

With artists such as Tyga promising to “Make it Nasty,” rap is as notorious as Notorious B.I.G. in the subject of objectifying women. Hip-hop artists receive much scrutiny on account of their habit of referring to women explicitly. It is as if this is the only genre we instantly associate with vulgar, demeaning comments towards women.

But before we jump to that conclusion, tell me: Have you ever taken a close listen to a modern-day country song?

DesireePharias9-2I won’t sugarcoat it; if you venture into my car, you’re going to hear country music blasting from the radio. I do have tickets to Luke Bryan this fall, and I sing along to virtually every song that comes on 102.5 and 107.9. However, it wasn’t until I recently heard Cole Swindell’s “Hope You Get Lonely Tonight” that I realized the country artists we swoon over might have a bit of misogyny in their songs, just like Tyga.

Swindell sings to a girl and proposes a “little late-night pick me up.” He then openly tells her if she is lonely, and quite frankly, vulnerable enough tonight, she can go ahead and give him a call. He goes far enough to say if she’s “in the mood for a little regret” his offer stands evermore. Truthfully, when this song comes on, I instantly change the station, as I don’t appreciate his allusion to a one-night stand by saying, “We ain’t gotta make up, just kiss me, we could straight up blame it on the whiskey.” Bravo, Mr. Swindell! You disguised a proposition for a one-night stand in such a way that it almost sounds romantic.

That’s the secret that these so called “bro-country” singers hold: If they sing it to a catchy beat and make their word choice more discrete, no one will ever know they are objectifying women. I have to give credit where credit is due: Songs such as Florida Georgia Line’s “Get Your Shine On” disguise it quite well. However, Florida Georgia Line, just because you refer to it as a “sugar shaker” doesn’t sugarcoat the fact that you’re singing about a girl’s ass.

While rap can be disregarded by those who are uncomfortable with its blatant misogyny, country music has a more subtle approach towards disrespecting women. It is precisely because of this that it is a more powerful vehicle of sexism. The singers of these songs are wholesome, respectful, country boys that your mom would want you to marry. In fact, she might be listening to them in her Toyota minivan right now.

Just when you think all that is left for country girls to do is wear itty bitty cut-off jeans, fetch their man a beer, and throw down in the back of a pick up, the up-and-coming country duo Maddie & Tae’s lyrical gem, “Girl In a Country Song,” calls out these chart-topping country men on their shameful ways. Although I’m still going to cheer for Luke Bryan and turn up Jason Aldean, I do think it is important to recognize that these men are not as respectful towards women as they seem. We all have to be sure to listen beyond the catchy guitar riffs and see what these boys are really saying before we hop up in their truck. When we do, it may not be long before we soon realize that’s not a place we want to be.

 

Reach the columnist at dpharias@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @_Desirayray.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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