What Happened to Respecting Women in Country Music?
Look, I’m a good old-fashioned red-blooded American male. I like myself a delicate, supple breast, or a perfectly-formed apple butt. And the beautiful shape of a woman intermixed with good music is something that makes me thankful for being alive. But somewhere in the last year or so, country music crossed that line from being the last bastion for respect of beautiful women in American popular culture, to hanging out in the gutter with the rest of the vermin, making videos of venereal-infused floozies dry humping flashy vehicles in the classic vein of tasteless, materialistic, shallow-minded rap imagery.
The tradition of proud, empowered, beautiful women in country music runs deep. Their strength is what made them sexy. And unlike rock and roll and hip hop, the popularity of women in country has run parallel with the men throughout time. The Carter Family, Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton, Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, all the way to today with Miranda Lambert and Taylor Swift. But the problem is not the women of country not respecting themselves, the problem is the men not respecting the women, and an apparent endless supply of hussies willing to strut it for shitty pop music.
Take the video for Dustin Lynch’s stupid new song “She Cranks My Tractor” (yeah, right, we’ve heard this one before, haven’t we?) Since this song has so much nothing, they drag some slut out of a strip club to have sex with farm equipment to keep you engaged. This isn’t music, this is material for 14-year-old boys to masturbate to.
My favorite are these flocks of bikini-flaunting chicks with their arms flailing above their heads, like in the Bucky Covington / Shooter Jennings douche fest “Drinking Side of Country”. If this is the country, then where are all the ugly people? I can see some producer telling a poor girl, “Hey sorry, I can see a very slight roll of chub spilling out over your cut-offs. Go purge for two weeks and come back.”
I think Luke Bryan is where this all started, or possibly Kid Rock when he infected country like a herpes outbreak with his cross-genre shallowness. But Luke Bryan was the one that had dancers doing straight up strip tease renditions on the 2011 CMA Awards. And isn’t it ironic how Luke Bryan surrounds himself with so many hot women when he’s so obviously, indisputably, helplessly, pink flamingo, Siegfried & Roy, Fire Island…happy? I mean watch him do his happy dance.
I don’t want to come across as some uptight fuddy duddy. The fact is you can go anywhere on the world wide internet and affix your eyeballs on frolicking trollops. What made country music special and distinct is it avoided this saccharine, sexpot low-brow shit. These people are missing the point that the best way to deploy sex is to leave more to the imagination. That is why America fell in love with Marlyn Monroe, and why America is currently in love with Taylor Swift. Nothing about the women in these videos is intriguing. There’s no reason to come back for more. Like the songs, the videos, and the careers of these artists, they are forgettable. And the devaluation of women in country music that this causes is what is most troubling.
November 26, 2012 @ 11:02 am
I noticed this with Adkins’ “Honky Tonk” video. The entire video was him just sitting in the bar while girls that we never saw before in country videos (they looked straight from a rap video shoot) shook their asses on the tables and in front of him as he sat there grinning. Granted it goes along with the song lyrically, but is the first time I took notice of the videos for “country” music getting infiltrated with the stereotypical tramp stamp sluts of rap and rock videos.
November 26, 2012 @ 11:19 am
That’s a great example. And lo and behold, what else was happening in the song? The blending of country and urban jargon. I wonder if Trace Adkins would like to see his daughters depicted in a video like that.
May 9, 2021 @ 5:40 am
Lmao I love how people are gonna pick on country music yet theres rappers and pop singers who are way worse for this shit I mean literary I dislike the video clips so I don’t watch them but I mean there are pop,rock and rappers who all sing about wemon acting like what your complaining about.
November 26, 2012 @ 11:23 am
shallow-minded rap imagery
November 26, 2012 @ 11:41 am
I don’t know how Luke Bryan moves at all in those skinny spandex yoga pants he calls jeans.
November 26, 2012 @ 11:53 am
This is part of the “gehtto-ization” of culture and the pandering to the lowest common denominator that has been the direction of American popular culture since the 1960’s. Daniel Patrick Moynihan called it “defining deviancy down.”
November 27, 2012 @ 8:37 am
Well said , and so true RD . Stupid sells doesn’t it ?
November 27, 2012 @ 9:08 am
Yes. Stupid sells. It benefits our rulers to make their subjects as stupid and servile as possible. Feed the sheeple enough crap culture, distracting political nonsense, poison food, mindless entertainment, porn, football, prescriptions meds, etc. Not only does it make big business rich, but it makes us feeble and weak, and willing to accept anything.
Similarly, this is why public schools are so poor at educating children. Do you think our rulers really want a well-educated, historically-knowledgable, brave, strong citizen? No. That type of person would pose a threat. What they want is a dumb, feeble, mind-numbed subject incapable of registering any opposition to all of the evil things they are doing.
November 26, 2012 @ 11:56 am
Music mimics culture and culture mimics satellite tv, so unfortunately a lot of women in the South and elsewhere have been conditioned to demean themselves by dressing and acting in a way that no man could respect.
Remember the “slut marches?”
The other problem is the hiphopification of country. Hip/hop/rap defenders can’t really point to any time in the history of it, when women were respected by that artists in that genre.
November 27, 2012 @ 8:09 am
The slut marches are not about glorifying the demeaning of women in popular culture but instead are opposed to police/other authority figures who occasionally blame rapes on women who dress slutty instead of the rapist scumbags.
November 26, 2012 @ 1:39 pm
If real country people is what you want in your music videos, then you will probably enjoy the new Husky Burnette video debuting online at 9PM Pacific tonight.
November 26, 2012 @ 1:40 pm
*Forgot to add a warning though that there is lots of drinking, spilled beer, and a truck getting blown up. So you know, yin and yang I guess.
November 26, 2012 @ 4:17 pm
It’s funny you mention that Nick because it’s exactly what I thought of while reading this article. I’m so happy to be a fan in a genre that isn’t catering to this level of sexism. I like that the videos coming out by filmmakers like yourself and others are more interested in capturing the perfect angle, or the feel you get from non-autotuned music. I also notice that I”™m just not interested in the videos mentioned above because I”™m not a fan of the music to begin with.
Unfortunately, I can”™t wave some kind of flag because as a hip-hop and rock fan as well, some of my favorite artists have released videos that make me throw things at the tv.
What I can do is help promote filmmakers like Nick, and artists we read about here on SCM who are judged on the art of music first. We all remember the collective wince from the men folk when Rachel Brooke announced her engagement. She is beautiful, talented, and will never be seen wearing daisy dukes humping farm equipment. Yet all the men want to date her, and all us girls want to be her.
November 26, 2012 @ 3:31 pm
Trig, I agree with your article 100%. Do you think this trend will continue to affect female artists as well? I think female artists such as Taylor Swift have, for the most part, resisted demeaning themselves and succumbing to the devaluation. But I’m noticing that more and more country female artists are playing up the sex in their songs and videos. Miranda Lambert’s new single is about proudly being a slut. That stupid Pontoon song about slobbering into boobs. I don’t know, I guess I shouldn’t expect anything more from these f-tards.
BTW, “If this is the country, then where are all the ugly people?”
Spot on. I’ve never seen anyone remotely like Shooter’s ladies walking around my farmtown Wal Mart. Guess they must all be in various fields and farm parties, dancing on top of jacked up tailgates, drinking moonshine, gigging frogs and listening to Skynyrd and “old Hank”. Guess that’s why I never see them.
November 26, 2012 @ 3:51 pm
I think both Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood have trended toward being more sexual under the misguided idea that this is what they need to do to keep up with Taylor Swift. I think Taylor may have devalued herself with her new Shellback/Max Martin-produced songs, but she’s been smart to stay coy about her sexuality over the years. Ironically, I think this makes her MORE intruding to the public from a sexual standpoint than putting out slutty songs and showing more skin.
November 26, 2012 @ 3:54 pm
I think a lot of it is just the trends right now. For the longest time Country Music ignored the young, male audience and put a lot of focus on the suburban house wife in terms of who they were selling Country music too.
Now with the rise of artists like Eric Church, Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Brantley Gilbert, etc, the record labels are trying to grab that audience more. That isnt to say they completely ignore the suburban housewife, but stuff like “Truck Yeah” is a very blatant example of desperately trying to sell to that segment of America.
It’s pretty pathetic, but it will fade away soon enough and the Nashville row will move onto another group to sell their crap too.
Just another reason to continue to ignore mainstream Country music and 98% of what comes out of it,
November 26, 2012 @ 3:58 pm
I agree with the theme of the article but lets not demean the women in these videos for making a paycheck by calling them sluts, or saying all strippers are sluts. In fact even calling a woman a slut is a bit sexist. A woman or man can sleep around and that shouldn’t be anyone’s business but theirs.
November 26, 2012 @ 4:59 pm
November 26, 2012 @ 4:02 pm
Why does Luke Bryan brag about how manly he is in his songs then go around acting like a woman? Seems kind of counter-productive.
November 27, 2012 @ 6:30 pm
Ever heard the saying ” Thou dost protest too much!”
November 26, 2012 @ 4:09 pm
I remember travis tritt having a song called ‘girls gone wild’…
Craig Morgan has a song called “corn star”-yes it should be porn star
Brooks and Dunn had some questionable dancers in their videos-even with (rock my world lil country girl)
Toby Keith had whiskey girl, they came out in hard hats during a live performence.
These are just a few I recall through the years….
November 26, 2012 @ 4:29 pm
I really don’t have a problem with women singing about sex. They can bang whatever they want, including farm equipment. My problem is that it is very one sided. Hellbound Glory sing about drinking and drugging, but with a pessimistic defeatist attitude that is true to life. These people don’t sing about the downsides of chosing that type of life style, and the detachment that comes from it. They are just using it as cheap marketing.
November 26, 2012 @ 9:04 pm
Loretta Lynn’s “The Pill”. Now THAT was telling both sides. These videos portray a life that is generally unrealistic for anyone to attain.
November 26, 2012 @ 6:44 pm
By far one of my favorite Articles recently. I mean I am 18 and yes I get a little distracted by the females, but it is a little out of hand. My (ex)girlfriend honestly reminds me a lot of this article, and to be honest I left because like you said, there is nothing Intriguing, not much is special. And I FAR prefer a lady who has respect for herself, considers what they have something special, NOT something they will flaunt, or give to any guy who asks for it. Well enough about my little rant about my ex, BACK TO THE MUSIC!!!
November 26, 2012 @ 9:00 pm
I hope you didn’t leave your girlfriend because of something I said :/
Oh wait, because LIKE I said …
November 26, 2012 @ 9:06 pm
Naw trig, happened a few days ago. You just had good timing on this! 🙂
November 26, 2012 @ 7:22 pm
Great piece, Trig. I was especially intrigued by your comment about “the tradition of proud, empowered, beautiful women in country music,” and I wonder if the rampant disrespect of women in today’s scene is just another symptom of the genre’s growing disconnect with its own past (such as how the recent CMAs had a big to-do for Willie Nelson — certainly an iconic entertainer — but not even a mention of the late Queen of Country Music, Kitty Wells).
Another thing I can’t help thinking of is how, when I grew up with country radio from the late ’80s through the mid-’90s, the sheer variety of female artists I remember hearing during that period was pretty impressive — Reba, Dolly, the Judds (and later, solo Wynonna), Rosanne Cash, Holly Dunn, KT Oslin, Tanya Tucker, Patty Loveless, Kathy Mattea, Suzy Bogguss, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Pam Tillis, Lorrie Morgan, Carlene Carter, Martina McBride, Trisha Yearwood, Terri Clark, Deana Carter, LeAnn Rimes and so on…
I wonder if things really started going downhill when Shania’s career took off, and then Faith Hill went more pop and tarted up her image — it’s like the industry as a whole stopped taking country women seriously (even when they were selling like crazy). And I wonder if what’s happening today is just the logical conclusion of that; very few ladies are actually getting played anymore (namely Taylor, Carrie and Miranda, plus female-fronted groups like the Band Perry and Lady Antebellum), and the airwaves are infested with young guys peddling this sort of raunch in their songs and videos.
November 26, 2012 @ 10:33 pm
Shit man. Amen. Well said on all fronts.
November 27, 2012 @ 3:55 am
Since most of the audience can just click over to porn I suppose they need to do what they can to hold viewers attention. Look at the hit counts on youtube videos that show hot women on the intro screen.
November 27, 2012 @ 8:12 am
I clicked on the link to the Luke Bryan CMA thing because I wasn’t sure what exactly it was – the comments are fuckin hilarious!! Highly recommended reading (disclaimer: for comedic value only) lol jajaja
“Dang his jeans fit perfect!!!” – Barbi in GA
“Love the song but he has no rhythm”
And it gets more and more ridiculous from there I’m sure – I can’t believe there was no one on there saying what bullshit his music is etc – I don’t think I saw any negative comments except those regarding his “dancing” lol.
November 27, 2012 @ 8:34 am
If you wanna sell a product to the knuckledragger wearing his silver necklace on the outside of his Costa tee shirt , and textin’ on his camo-covered iPhone , you produce a product that looks and sounds like the stuff we bash around here …. end of story .
November 27, 2012 @ 8:37 am
What is urban jargon? Its not ok to use urban jargon in country but its ok to use country jargon? I am confused.
November 27, 2012 @ 12:31 pm
Here’s an article just posted yesterday that explains it better than I can (and cite’s Saving Country Music)
November 27, 2012 @ 9:10 am
It’s been going on a lot longer than a year in ALL music. It goes along with the sleaze everywhere else and women being lauded in politics for thinking that government should pay for their contraceptives and abortions. A general degradation of women as nothing but body parts and millions of women jumping on the band wagon and prostituting themselves in music, movies, retail, you name it.
You see ten year old girls flocking to V. Secret because of the sexification of kids in our culture. As a social worker and a mom I have been watching the trends for about 20 years of violence, then combining violence with sex, then making sexual violence etc. acceptable in our culture. The porn book Shades of Gray has helped make pornography main stream. It is a slow creeping disease. Parents need to teach their daughters to respect themselves and to demand respect from men. Women set the trends in culture and they CAN make choices.
Sorry to get heavy on this, but it is my vocation to watch society and figure out what makes people tick. I know many young women who are in the music business and real talent sells itself.
November 27, 2012 @ 9:26 am
AMEN, we should be teaching young girls to respect themselvs and their bodys. And it truly starts with the parents, especialy fathers; they should be inolved in their doughters life and give them the strongest possible father figure to respect, and give them the atention they need (even when they claim they dont want it, they want it.)
November 27, 2012 @ 9:28 am
AMEN, we should be teaching young girls to respect themselves and their body’s. And it truly starts with the parents, especially fathers; they should be involved in their daughters life and give them the strongest possible father figure to respect, and give them the attention they need (even when they claim they don’t want it, they want it.)
November 27, 2012 @ 9:29 am
I once heard someone say “show me a girl gone wrong and I’ll show you an absent father.”
November 27, 2012 @ 9:23 am
So much “win” in this article not much more can be said.
November 27, 2012 @ 9:35 am
One of my favorite journalists, Chuck Klosterman, touches on modern country music videos quite a bit in his writing, particularly how modern pop country videos have become the place where the stereotypical 80’s hair metal video has gone to die (something Triggerman has mentioned once or twice too). It’s the same thing Whitesnake did twenty years ago, just with tractors instead of sports cars.
Here’s a good Klosterman quote while I’m at it:
“The thing country singers and rappers understand is something rock people don’t get: Whenever you try to appeal to everyone, you end up appealing to no one. If you want to become the soundtrack to any individual’s life, your message can’t be universal. This is why there is an entire sector of modern country that is (seemingly) geared toward thirty-four-year-old divorced women who want to bridge the gap between settling down as an adult and getting drunk three times a week (e.g., Gretchen Wilson’s “Redneck Woman,” Amy Dalley’s “Men Don’t Change,” Terri Clark’s “Girls Lie Too,” and about seventeen others in a similar vein). When someone says they like “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy),” by Big & Rich, or “I Go Back,” by Kenny Chesney, it actually says something about who they are and how they think. When someone says they like the Hives or Incubus or Modest Mouse, I don’t know if it says anything (beyond the fact that this person still reads rock magazines). I mean, what does liking Linkin Park mean? I suspect the only thing it means is that you like Linkin Park. And if you’re the kind of person who worries about the future of rock and/or roll, this is something else you probably need to worry about.”
November 28, 2012 @ 2:10 pm
One of the white elephants in the room is the passive allowance of women being depicted as “things” (or “thangs”) in a lot of recent country music lyricism.
Jason Aldean earnestly set off much of this trend: covering Brantley Gilbert’s “My Kinda Party” and then once again on “Take A Little Ride”. Worse yet, the depiction of women or wives as “little”, which is most blatantly apparent in Randy Houser’s catalog (one instance of a “little girlfriend” on “My Kind Of Country” and another of “little wife” on ‘Will I Ever Be This Way?” come to mind readily).
In other words: the treatment of women as property, or “things” to be prized like trophies, began before Luke Bryan ever even emerged. Bryan just stepped it up on the visual front.
November 30, 2012 @ 7:58 am
One of the greatest things we did during the Honky Tonk Tuesdays here in Detroit a few years back was the couple of times we did the Honky Tonk Women shows. We got some of the ladies that would participate in the Tuesday night jams and have them sing the whole night–Loretta, Patsy, Tammy, Alison Krause, Dolly, Tanya Tucker and more–the ladies would sing and we’d sit back and play. It was a lotta fun–I love those songs, and the way they were delivered. To bad it just don’t feel the same with this new crap.
There was always “dirty” songs–but, they were done much more subtlely, which actually gave them more bite, and when necessary, made them sexier.
And as far as “sex appeal”–does it get any better than Jessi in The Conversation video? No, it doesn’t.
Mick the Aussie
April 14, 2013 @ 9:41 pm
I’m from Australia, and down under, our “King” of modern country music is Lee Kernaghan. For about 20 or so years, he’s been putting out good quality, Australian-tinged, country music. He’s had songs like “Boys From the Bush”, “The Outback Club”, “Love in the time of Drought”… All great, clean, country songs. But more recently, he’s started to publish rock-infused, sexual crap. Songs featuring lyrics such as “…can’t help but love the way it feels when we do it in the dirt…” and another called “Ute Me” (a “ute” being our version of a “pick-up truck”), in which he says “Ute me, ute me, I like it out back on a red dirt road…”, with “ute” being a rhyming replacement for “root” (slang for sex) in an attempt to make it radio-playable. It’s downright offensive and a real kick in the guts for the Australian country music scene, especially given the fact that this bloke is meant to be our “king” of country. And the videos for these songs feature near-naked men and women dry-humping in a field, and another shows a near-nude girl pole-dancing on the back of a pick-up truck (Ute). I can’t even watch the country music show with my younger siblings around anymore.
January 22, 2014 @ 11:19 am
Hey, uh, Just so you do know, Not All 14 year old guys masturbate to that sort of stuff.. Am 14 my self, so I know.
April 19, 2015 @ 9:45 am
I totally agree with this commentary. I love the sound of country music and am a big fan but I worry for my grandaughters. So many videos depict women in bikinis, naked, perfect features, and bodies. Women are so much more than that. We are empathetic (not pathetic), intelligent (not just mushy globs of emotion) beautiful from the inside out, NOT from the outside in. Ive read that some mainstream country male stars like Kenny Chesney are finally recognizing this concern. I grew up knowing LOTS of powerful, female singers: Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, TanyaTucker, Tammy Wynette and later Reba and The Judds as well as cross over artists Linda Rondstadt and EmmyLou Harris. I ackowledge Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert and for working to promote women in country (RaeLyn, Gwen Stephanie, Cassidy Pope, The Pistal Annies). Thank heavens for them and newcomers like Kasey Musgraves and that new duo (sorry cant remember their names) who said it loud and clear in “Girl in a Country Song”. As Miranda Lambert said the last time I saw her- she “aint nobodies baby” and “I miss the Dixie Chicks”. For the sake of our daughters, please start respecting women again. I want to share my love of country music to my grandaughters and be proud of it. Thank you for this commentary.
May 6, 2022 @ 12:20 pm
Hmmmmm.Hate to say it,but when “bro-Country” became popular,the number of tr*shy women in these videos pretty much equaled the number of such “ladies” in rock or rap videos. And I’m speaking as a proudly randy,68-year-old black Canadian man who’s almost always been a Country music fan.
May 6, 2022 @ 12:23 pm
By tne way,wasn’t Waylon A. ” Shooter” Jennings supposed to be the next big thing and an alt-Country favourite ? Where is he today?
May 6, 2022 @ 12:27 pm
The lack of plain-looking folk in Country has been going on since the late aughts/early teens,when rock seemingly collapsed and pinup cowboys and cowgirls who during the vast majority of my lifetime would have been rockers gravitated to Country .
May 6, 2022 @ 12:31 pm
RIGHT ON,RD !!!!! (Especially about football. I never thought the pigskin sport would be denigrated on a Country website,but congrats,pard !!!!!!!)
August 15, 2022 @ 9:04 am
What happened to it?
It died when women respecting themselves died. It died when men respecting themselves died. It died when in the 1960s when free love became mainstream and sex was treated as trivial. Love all you want. There are no side effects. It was hogwash but it resulted in the destruction of the family unit which has led to dependence on welfare. Which is exactly what the government wants.