Gender in Country Music

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Michael Palmiscno
Brian Campbell
Women in Music
October 10th, 2012
Gender in Country Music
Throughout history men and women have played different roles in music. Today is no different. With the development of the music video, these different roles were magnified. From rap to country, men and women play roles. DreamWorlds 3: Sex, Desire, and Power in Music Video explores the world of music video. Women are seen as sex symbols that simply must have sex and will submit to any fantasy that a man may have. This is mostly displayed in rap music. DreamWorlds 3 also talks about the language used. Again, it is mostly displayed in rap, and the language is very vulgar. Country music is different. According to research by Julie Andsager and Kimberley Roe, country music sang by men portrays traditional gender messages, and country music sang by women portrays both traditional messages and progressive messages. They studied music from 1997, country music’s “Year of the Woman.” There are numerous examples of this, but I chose to analyze one song, I’m still a Guy. I believe this song shows how mainstream male country music reinforces traditional gender messages. Content analysis does not tell the whole story about the portrayal of females in country music, and I will explore this after. I’m Still a Guy is a song that is sung by Brad Paisley. It was written by Paisley, Kelley Lovelace, and Lee Thomas Miller and released in 2007. The recording company is Arista Records. The main message that Paisley wants to get across is that he (men in society) is “still a guy” despite his partner’s (women and society in general) attempts to change his stereotypical behavior and make him more “feminine.”

The song appeals to men more than women although some women could find it humorous. Any man who has had a relationship would probably find it funny and in some ways true. Because it is a country song, it probably appeals more to rural areas, but that does not mean that city dwellers would not like it either. As far as education goes, there might be a little more appeal to the less educated. He talks about hunting and fishing and punching other guys, so higher educated people might not find it as appealing. Conservative thinkers would find it more appealing, because he is trying to get the point across that guys are still guys. He has the old-school idea that a guy should be tough and like to fish and hunt and be able to punch someone if he wants to. The song would offend someone with strict religious views if they viewed women as the lesser gender, because this song tells us how women can be controlling sometimes.

The messages pertaining to gender roles are pretty much what you would expect: tough guy man, who likes to get into fights and a pretty woman, who likes paintings and picnics. This is obvious in the first verse when he says they see a deer and she thinks Bambi and he thinks hunting, or when they see a lake, he sees a fishing hole and she thinks picnic. In the chorus he talks about punching a guy which would make him even tougher. I think these are traditional and common stereotypes in today’s society. He later goes on to take a shot at metrosexuals. He does not like the guys that are getting facials and getting “feminized.” I do not think these are good messages. To me there is nothing wrong with a guy that likes paintings and is a little feminine and maybe goes to the tanning salon. And for women, there is nothing wrong with a “tom girl” who likes to hunt and fish.

Another type of message that this song sends to us are gender relation messages. One is that women in today’s society are trying to “train” their men. The second verse has the woman telling her friends that “he has come a long way.” I think this is a common misconception and has been going on for a long time. People think when you get married or are in a relationship the man loses his freedom and has to do what she says....
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