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The Marginalization of Women in Country Music: A Look at The Future Now That Our Present is Demanding Immediate Change in All Industries
Two years ago, June 2015 to be exact, Noah Berlatsky a writer for The Atlantic and New Republic wrote an article "The Marginalization of Women in Mainstream Country Music" where he highlighted the mindset of the powers-that-be in the music industry in general, and in Country music specifically, that has always seemed to support the thinking that country music is primarily meant for men to create and sing, and for women to stand pretty and be gawked at by those men. There have been several breakout female stars but Mr. Berlatsky stands to say, "not enough" and "when will men stop marginalizing women?"
The rough and tumble of country music has been a story told mostly by men, but does that mean that those rural and stark towns of the south that these men sing about don't also include women who can tell their own story? Apparently not.
The CMAs were last week and even if you didn't watch it you can do an online search to find the nominees and awardees. Some people are concerned that in the categories of "Entertainer of the Year" and "Musician of the Year" there weren't any female nominees. There also was only one female nominee for "New Artist of the Year", Lauren Alaina, and for "Vocal Duo of the Year"--Maddie & Tae. The acceptance and presence of women in country music still is up for debate.
Over the past two years, and especially the past two months women across the country and around the world have been speaking out against sexual harassment and the predatory practices of powerful men in the entertainment industry (to include music, film, and tv), sports, media, and other industries. The past three weeks have been an unraveling of the reputations of powerful men who have wielded their power over women who lacked their own voice and power--until now.
With experts outlining what constitutes sexual harassment, hostile work environments, and other related concepts, will there be a greater push for more inclusion of women in mainstream country music? Will there be a greater interest and appreciation in the stories that women can provide through song in a way that only they can tell it? Will this segment of the industry stop marginalizing women? Only time can tell.
Women are sick and tired of being sidelined, overlooked, unappreciated, and devalued. It would be interesting to see what Mr. Berlatsky thinks about this topic now, two years later--in the wake of this #MeToo "We're not taking it anymore" era.
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