Analyzing the New Woman through “‘Redneck Woman’ and the Gendered Poetics of Class Rebellion”

Topics: Gender, Woman, Gender role Pages: 6 (1718 words) Published: April 28, 2015
RWS 100
2 December 2013
The New Feminine
In 1913, women couldn’t vote, have a credit card in their own name, legally have an abortion, apply to a graduate school as a married woman, or attend ivy league schools such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown, Dartmouth, and Colombia. Due to the past restrictions imposed on women, it seems the search to find oneself is ongoing. What first began as a fight against clear and visible restrictions such as voting, has now crossed over to the silent and subtle restrictions forced on women through gender roles. By using “‘Redneck Woman’ and the Gendered Poetics of Class Rebellion” as a lens, this paper will analyze how women are redefining the role of gender, defying the constraints of class systems, and why it is morally better to be poor, in order to show how women are bringing forth a new meaning behind the term femininity. Nadine Hubbs’ main argument in the essay, “‘Redneck Woman’ and the Gendered Poetics of Class Rebellion,” is that Gretchen Wilson redefined redneck pride and women’s role as a redneck. Hubbs states, “The song is a gender-inclusive statement of redneck pride and a call to twenty-first-century working-class consciousness, fine-tuned to distinctions of consumption and self-construction and their social, economic, and affective reverberations,”(55). Throughout the essay Hubbs analyzes how Wilson touches on the issues of working and social class, male versus female roles, and the changing view towards the redneck in her song, “Redneck Woman.” Hubbs supports the theme of a clash between male and female roles by claiming that women aren’t recognized as rednecks but are instead viewed as an accessory added on to the males identified as being rednecks. Hubbs also claims that Wilson uses the song as a celebration of the “Virile Female” and claims that it defies dominant middle-class culture. As evidence for her claims, Hubbs refers to multiple research studies and historical references. Her audience is very broad, however she revolves her essay over defending this new view of female rednecks, so her audience is anyone unfamiliar with the culture of rednecks and who look down upon them. Her purpose is to leave the reader with a new understanding of how Gretchen Wilson’s song created a change and highlighted on many key issues involving country history, gender differences, and class differences.

One sub-claim Hubbs uses is that women are redefining the roles and constraints of gender. Hubbs states, “‘Redneck Woman’ makes common cause with redneck men and draws on cherished symbols of good ol’ boy ideals and prerogatives to articulate its manifesto, a cross-gender, macho-affirmative rejection of the very standards of hegemonic middle-class femininity”(49). Although Wilson distinguishes herself as a redneck woman, she still takes on male characteristics and shows that she is up to par with male rednecks. Prior to Wilson’s song the identity of the redneck was decidedly male. However, Gretchen brings new meaning to the term redneck by making it gender inclusive of females, therefore emphasizing the importance of the title ‘Redneck Woman’. This supports her argument because she eliminates the constraints put on gender by the term redneck. This is important to the topic because she is describing herself in a predominantly masculine way, however she isn’t losing any of her femininity while doing so.

The first media source that will be used is the Disney Pixar movie Brave because it also challenges the constraints put on women by gender roles. The movie Brave is the first of all the Disney princess movies to defy the notion that as a princess she needs to sit and wait for her dear prince to save her. One could argue the movie Mulan was the first, however Mulan is not an actual princess, where as Merida is a Scottish born princess. Instead of waiting, the princess Merida fights alongside the princes in the “Highland Games” for her own hand in marriage, therefore framing a new...
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