Critical Argument

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Even as society progresses to encompass equal opportunity for all regardless of gender, there remains a clear gender division when it comes to music. Making a choice between the drums or the flute may seem like a simple matter as one would assume that the deciding factor in this choice is one's personal preferences. However, our daily decisions are in fact in conformity of a social paradigm. Therefore, while the choice between drums or the flute might appear simple, such a decision might be based on one underlying reason: gender.

Our decisions are in adherence to social paradigms and this means that for a girl, expectations of her playing a violin would be greater than that of a trumpet. Decisions relating music and gender are not limited to just instrumental choices as even genres and musical influences have specific gender associations. Boys playing the drums and listening to rock or hip hop music while girls play the violin and listen to boy bands and ballads are some common gender stereotypes. In comparison to issues such as gender equality in education or social status, one might quickly dismiss the stigmatization in relation to music as negligible. However, it is important to note the repercussions of gender associations in music as a hint of the sexist undertones present in society.

The research paper published by Abeles (2009) opines that despite the advances within society to break gender boundaries, the choice of instruments among adolescent musicians are continually in line with gender associations of the instruments. Using research data and studies, Abeles (2009) affirms that gender associations with instruments remain and while the percentage of cross-gender instrument selection has increased, it is not significant enough to indicate a paradigm shift. The focus upon studies and research data increase the credibility of his assertion although his scope is confined to students and youth performing bands. However, there is a similar argument from...
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