Last week, country radio promoter Keith Hill made a controversial comment about female singers that many decried as an example of country music’s misogynistic politics. In an article for The Conversation, Clifford Murphy, an ethnomusicologist and adjunct lecturer of American studies, provides a broader context, writing that the comments show how the centralization of country music has helped create a misogynistic environment.
Murphy describes how women have had a long history in country music, but often have a difficult with the country music industry when they go against expectations of female country stars. “The popularity of female country stars threatens Nashville’s obsession with defining…what is country music, and what country music is,” he writes.
Murphy also points to the centralization of country music as contributing to the problem of misogyny as it gives a few industry insiders the power to silence outspoken artists. He gives the example of the backlash against the Dixie Chicks when they criticized then President George W. Bush. “Popular, powerful women in country music voiced a political opinion that may have resounded with many of their loyal fans, but ran counter to the conservative politics of country music’s brand. Their resulting disappearance from country radio was nothing short of political censorship,” he notes.
Click here to read “Keith Hill’s comments about women in country music cut far deeper than misogyny” in The Conversation.