However, in the last five years or so, I have been lamenting many of the latest songs that I perceive as degrading to women. The songs that bother me tend to be about the male fantasy of a woman or women who exist solely to please and serve the man or men in the story. Sexism in song.
When I cringe at these songs, it is not coming from a prudish mentality. I love that my husband is attracted to me, and yes, I sometimes get dressed up just because I know he likes it. The flirtation and attraction are fun and exciting and even a part of human nature. I have read a number of pieces by those who criticize every country lyrical reference to physical attraction as if it were an affront to women, and I am not one of those. I am thankful for physical attraction! I also love doing nice things for my husband that show I care. I might even consider bringing him a glass of sweet tea (if we drank that stuff). Both my husband and I believe that real love involves a commitment to serve one another, so we both make the choice to lovingly serve each other daily. So to be clear, I believe that both physical attraction and serving one another are wonderful things.
What makes me cringe is when wonderful things get twisted into expectations, obsessions, and idols. And when those twisted things are portrayed as romantic. Because they're just not.
One of the most endearing things about country music is the long list of amazing love songs, ranging from fun to deeply romantic, that have come out over the years. It is hard to turn on the radio now and feel like I need to flip the station every few songs just to avoid feeling seriously disrespected by this same genre!
So when I heard this awesome song recently, I was happy to see that I am not the only one bothered by this music trend! Maddie & Tae are right on point. Check it out!
Some of the songs (and a sampling of those song's lyrics) that Maddie & Tae call out with specific references are:
- "My Kinda Party," by Jason Aldean - "You can find me in the back of a jacked up tailgate sittin' round watching all these pretty things get down in that Georgia clay....You can be my tan-legged Juliet. I'll be your redneck Romeo."
- "That's My Kinda Night," by Luke Bryan - "Waiting on you to look my way and scoot your little hot self over here."
- "Take a Little Ride," by Jason Aldean - "Well I'm just ready to ride this Chevy, ride this Chevy down a little back road. Slide your pretty little self on over. Get a little closer, turn up the radio....Sweet tan, little thing with nothing to do, I wanna take a little ride with you. I hope you're wearing those frayed out cut-offs..."
- "Drunk on You," by Luke Bryan - "Girl, you make my speakers go boom boom, dancin' on the tailgate in a full moon. That kinda thing makes a man go mmm hmmm. You're lookin' so good in what's left of those blue jeans. Drip of honey on the money maker gotta be the best buzz I'm ever gonna find. Hey, I'm a little drunk on you and high on summertime. If you ain't a 10 you're a 9.9, tippin' n' spillin' that home-made wine on your tied up T-shirt..."
- "Get Your Shine On," by Florida Georgia Line - "Slide that little sugar-shaker over here."
- "Boys 'Round Here," by Blake Shelton - "Yea, the girls 'round here, they all deserve a whistle, shakin' that sugar, sweet as Dixie crystal.....Red red red red red red redneck"
- "Redneck Crazy," by Tyler Farr (or what I like to call the "You're romanticizing scary illegal stalking song") - "Gonna drive like hell through your neighborhood, park this Silverado on your front lawn, crank up a little Hank, sit on the hood and drink. I'm about to get my pissed off on. I'm gonna lean my headlights into your bedroom windows. Throw empty beer cans at both of your shadows. I didn't come here to start a fight, but I'm up for anything tonight. You know you broke the wrong heart, baby, and drove me redneck crazy."
- "Get Me Some of That," by Thomas Rhett - "You're shakin' that money maker, like a heart breaker, like your college major was twistin' and tearin' up Friday nights. Love the way you're wearin' those jeans so tight..." (To be fair, this is not the only country song to have ever used the term "money-maker," including Trace Adkins' song, "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk" several years back.)
- "Hey Girl," by Billy Currington - "Hey girl, what's your name girl? I've been lookin' at you and every guy here's doin' the same girl. It'd be a shame girl if I let you just walk on by, 'cause I'm all caught up in your sweet smile. A girl like you comes around once in a while. So hot, gotta give it a shot, gotta get get a little bit of what you got."
One of the worst offenders that I don't think they mention specifically (so I will) is:
- "Country Girl (Shake it for Me)," by Luke Bryan - "Gonna stomp my boots in the Georgia mud. Gonna watch you make me fall in love. Get up on the hood of my daddy's tractor. Up on the tool box, it don't matter. Down on the tailgate, girl I can't wait to watch you do your thing. Shake it for the young bucks sittin' in the honky-tonks, for the rednecks rockin' 'til the break of dawn, for the DJ spinnin' that country song. Come on, come on, come on. Shake it for the birds, shake it for the bees, shake it for the catfish swimming down deep in the creek, for the crickets and the critters and the squirrels. Shake it to the moon. Shake it for me girl. Country girl, shake it for me girl,shake it for me girl, shake it for me....."
The point is, their song is not a critique of an isolated rogue artist. The genre is now choc full of seriously sexist lyrics. And even when the song lyrics aren't so bad, the music videos often make up the difference.
I am excited that Maddie and Tae's song, "Girl in a County Song," came along at this moment to garner attention about the sexist trend. And with good humor, too! I would love to hear more songs like theirs on my radio. Turn it up!