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Girl in a Country Song: Gender Roles and Objectification of Women in Popular Country Music across 1990 to 2014

Abstract

Although content analyses have examined the portrayal of women in objectifying and demeaning ways in many forms of media, including several genres of music, little research has explored the portrayal of women in country music. The current study content analyzed the lyrics of 750 country songs popular in the United States across almost three decades (1990–2014) for their portrayal of female gender roles and objectification of women. Findings revealed that country songs from 2010 to 2014 were less likely to portray women in traditional roles, non-traditional roles, family roles, and as empowered than songs that were popular in the first half of one or both prior decades. Songs from 2010 to 2014 were also more likely to refer to a woman’s appearance, to women in tight or revealing clothing, to women as objects, and to women via slang than songs in one or both prior decades. Furthermore, results indicate that the changes in the portrayal of women appear to be driven by changes in lyrics in songs sung by male artists, but not by those in songs sung by female artists. The present research helps to lay a foundation for future work exploring the relations between exposure to country music, female gender role stereotypes, and attitudes and behaviors related to objectification of women.

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Correspondence to Eric E. Rasmussen.

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Rasmussen, E.E., Densley, R.L. Girl in a Country Song: Gender Roles and Objectification of Women in Popular Country Music across 1990 to 2014. Sex Roles 76, 188–201 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-016-0670-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-016-0670-6

Keywords

  • Music
  • Women
  • Objectification
  • Gender roles
  • Stereotypes