I love country music.
There, I said it. I know that makes me really unpopular in the music world. There’s probably not a genre that’s more hated than country. People that say they like any kind of music immediately laugh and say “Not that!” when you suggest country music. It’s a unique genre, and even when it crosses over to pop (Taylor Swift, Lady Antebellum) they change bits and pieces to make it more poppy. They swap banjos for guitars, remove fiddles, and autotune voices, because otherwise someone that likes cool pop music might be caught listening to country.
No matter how uncool it makes me, I genuinely love listening to country. I turn it up loud and sing (poorly) along. I follow my favorite artists on Facebook. I use country lyrics at work. I have been known to quote country songs in status updates.
But I have a really, really big problem with country music.
These days there’s dudes gettin’ facials
Manicured, waxed and botoxed
With deep spray-on tans and creamy lotiony hands
You can’t grip a tackle box
Yeah, with all of these men linin’ up to get neutered
It’s hip now to be feminized
But I don’t highlight my hair, I’ve still got a pair
Yeah honey, I’m still a guy
Oh, my eyebrows ain’t plucked, there’s a gun in my truck
Oh thank God, I’m still a guy
–Brad Paisley, “Still a Guy”
I want a cool chick that’ll cook for me
But’ll dance on the bar in her tan bare feet
And do what I want when I want and she’ll do it with me
–Keith Urban, “Little Bit of Everything
I would be lying if I said those lyrics, and many others like them, didn’t bother me. What century are country artists living in? When did it re-become acceptable to say you want a chick that’ll cook for you and do what you want when you want it? Since when does getting a manicure affect the testicles? And how does having a gun make you more masculine than someone who, I don’t know, doesn’t feel the need to shoot something to prove his superiority? Oh, and I love the invocation of God in the Brad Paisley lyrics, too – because clearly religion defines these gender roles that country music so vehemently perpetuates and if I’m interested in changing it up, I’m obviously not a good person *rolleyes*
Someone posted in reply to Carrie that no one asks Cosmo to include articles on gun ownership or how to pick up chicks. The reality, of course, is that cosmo does include those articles, but guys don’t notice because somehow all of this is acceptable. Somehow it’s OK for guys to say that a misogynistic universe has nothing inherently wrong with it. That it affects your sexuality if you highlight your hair (my 12-year-old crush on the Backstreet Boys wants a word with you about that, btw.) That it’s a catchy, fun summer song that sings about how you want a girl to cook for you. That girls have to start clubs to bring attention to this sort of thing.
I absolutely hate that my favorite genre of music promotes these ideas and gender stereotypes. I change the station when those songs come on. I refuse to listen to the bigoted and prejudiced jerks on the country station morning shows, instead preferring the vapid but openminded morning talk on the pop station.
Yes, I’m going to keep listening to country music, because I still prefer it over pop and there’s not a good alternative station in Atlanta. I’m sure these sorts of lyrics exist in any genre, and perhaps I’m just more aware of it in country because it’s what I hear. Because, again, the problem is not with this one tiny little aspect of reality, it’s with everything.