I’m sure it is quite obvious to everyone that there are sexist messages in social media–TV, movies, ads, music, etc. In regards to music, I’m sure we could all point out hip-hop/rap songs with sexist lyrics or messages. But this is too obvious (though still an issue). No, forget the gangsta rap. Songs like Big Sean’s “Dance (A$$)” or Jason Derulo’s “Wiggle” are easily identifiable as objectifying women. One less criticized place I have been hearing it is in–get this–country music.
First of all, yes, I listen to country. I listen to a lot of things. Country is not my favorite of the music I listen to, but I generally like some of everything. Go read my very first blog post, because I mentioned this, so it shouldn’t be a surprise to you if you are a loyal reader, which obviously you all are!
So yes, country music. I had not noticed until Maddie and Tae’s “Girl in a Country Song” (http://genius.com/Maddie-and-tae-girl-in-a-country-song-lyrics) came out, but this genre of music has been fraught with sexist themes as of late. Maddie Marlow and Tae Dye are a nineteen-year old duo who are actually the first females in two years to have a number one single on the country radio charts.
Ironic, isn’t it?
Upon further review, I noticed that there are TONS of country songs by male artists depicting some hot girl there to entertain them, not to be a real live functioning human being. Of course I know not all men share sexist views, but it is common enough that Maddie and Tae, and now myself, decided to write about it. Not only is their song catchy, but it calls male artists out, often directly, on the misogynistic clichés that appear in their music. Several of Maddie and Tae’s lyrics are references to–and digs at–other songs. Which is totally badass.
For example, “painted on cut-off jeans” refers to Chris Young’s “Aw Naw” in which he is about to leave a bar when he sees a hot girl taking shots and just has to dance with her and “show off those jeans you painted on”. He describes how he should really leave and was not planning on leaving with anyone, but proceeds to dance with this hot mystery girl until late into the night. Furthermore, he claims it is not his fault. Basically this girl is so hot that he had to stay. She made him. Isn’t this disturbingly similar to the ridiculous notion that girls wearing less clothes are just “asking” to be sexually harassed? There is much more to a woman than her jeans.
The lyric about these stereotypes driving them “red-red-red-red-red-red-redneck crazy” is a reference to Blake Shelton’s “Boys Round Here”, in which he describes country boys and how girls simply cannot get enough of them. I’m sorry, could you move? I can’t see around your HUGE EGO.
When Maddie and Tae sing that “shaking my money maker ain’t never made me a dime” and that they will literally slap someone if he tells them one more time he’s “gotta get [him] some of that”, it is in reference to Thomas Rhett’s “Get Me Some of That”. First of all, some of what? WE ARE PEOPLE, NOT OBJECTS. You do not just get to decide you want “some”. Rhett also describes a girl “shaking her money maker like a heart breaker”. Maddie and Tae valiantly point out how absurd this is. They’ve never made a dime off of theirs’!
The declaration that “there ain’t no sugar for you in this shaker of mine” and that they will “slide on over” unless the idiot doesn’t want to be slapped refers to Florida Georgia Line’s “Get Your Shine On”. This male duo is describing a hot girl (have you found the pattern yet?) and they insist that she “slide that little sugar shaker over here”, which, beyond being ridiculous, is rather disgusting. I don’t think I have to further describe how sexist the idea is that these men seem to think they can use women for their looks whenever they want. A woman being an independent and self-controlled human being seems fairly self-explanatory.
Finally, the ending’s “I ain’t your tan-legged Juliet” is a not-so-subtle dig at Jason Aldean’s “My Kinda Party” in which he exclaims that the girl he is talking to can be his “tan-legged Juliet”. Charming. Lucky her. Just what she has probably always wanted.
I’m sure there are lots more references in the song, and all of the above ones (and plenty of other lyrics) can apply to several songs, but these are the most obvious ones. Whether or not you care about country music, I urge you to check out the link I included above to the lyrics of Maddie and Tae’s song, because it is truly clever and, again, totally badass. Hopefully, men can drop their dated clichés, their egotistical ideas, and their sexist views so that we can live in a world where it is obvious that a woman makes her own choices and that no means no, mister! A world where a girl topping the country radio charts is actually not so uncommon.
Submitted with undying love for,
feminism, feminism being the belief that men and women should be equal, feminism NOT being a radical and unattractive idea, “Girl in a Country Song” by Maddie and Tae, and calling people out on their bullshit,
I remain Madilyn Jayne Turken