This song “I’m still a Guy” by Brad Paisley points out all the way that men today are not real men. He speculates that they are some new breed of men that take part in womanly activities. But he does not take part in these womanly activities that other men are doing, so he is still a man. However he does mention that behind closed doors he can write her love songs and be super emotional, and lovey dovey with her, but not out in public.
After finding a song that did not go after women, I started thinking about songs that did. I looked up “dirty rap songs” on youtube and this is what came up, a video already created in order of the top 10 most dirty rap songs. I listened to each song briefly and this is by far 10 terrible songs, not only degrading for women but for men too. I would be embarrassed to be a man after listening to some of the things they had to say.
I was interested to see what I would get when I searched for positive lyrics and rap music and I found a singer by the name of J Cole. A powerful lyric is the very first ” What am I here for, I’m a man so I cannot let these tears fall, but understand I’m trying to get my head clear yo, this shit is on my mind, asking for the lord to show me all my signs, show me something”. This song connects very much to our last set of classes and how men are in a “pressure cooker”, needing to fit in and the built up pressure can lead to negative things. This song acknowledges these pressures and the fact that men should not show emotion. This is a much better way for people to express their feelings rather than using language that is disrespectful and that actually promotes violence.
So here we have two different eras of country music, the present has Blake Shelton, and the past has Johnny Cash who could possibly be called the father of country music.
The interesting contrast between the two videos is that in Blake Sheltons song, he seems to be insinuating that country men are in fact so masculine that they are then more masculine than men who take part in other musical cultures (see the first seen with the competition between the truck and the cadillac.)
And on the other hand, Johnny Cash is simply there, with his band, singing about love and the problems that may come along with it.
I always thought that country men were rugged. I grew up on and around farms in Maine, so I typically saw men who were workers, and who were out in the fields rather than behind a desk. These men were white, and they didn’t talk about much in their personal lives, but they did talk about their trucks and beer. They liked going to the race track and talking about their ladies. And they loved country music. It related to every part of their lives, and it was good jammin’.
“A Boy Named Sue: Gender and Country Music” by Kristine McCusker, is a fabulous book that analyzes how masculinity may not necessarily be formed by country music, but as generation after generation are raised a certain way, always listening to the way country music says they should live, it strengthens the country way.
You can find that book here: http://www.4shared.com/office/lrJ7uC7E/a_boy_named_sue_gender_and_cou.html
Formed in Australia on November 1973 by the brothers Malcolm and Angus Young, AC/DC has been an integral part of the rock and roll scene for over forty years. While currently AC/DC’s popularity is on the decline (alone with most other classic rock bands) in the 1970s and early 1980s they exerted a degree of influence over the culture of masculinity with their songs. As such their songs have been analyzed by both males and females alike, and the resulting viewpoints on the lyrics are very interesting.
Take for example ACDC’s 1980 hit song “You Shook Me All Night Long”. To a first time listener the song probably just seems like a three minute description of an x-rated night between a man and a woman with the man being the sole benefactor. Artist, activist, and writer Caroline Coon has a different take on things however. Citing the lyrics “Taking more than her share, had me fighting for air/She told me to come but I was already there/The walls start shaking, earth was quaking/My mind was aching, we were making it”, she argues that “The singer doesn’t just admit to, he revels in the fact that holy **** this woman is more than he can even handle. He celebrates the fact that she can rock him like a geological event and he cannot even hope to keep up. This is a song that celebrates female power, not diminishes it.”
What is very interesting about AC/DC is the fact that they were widely regarded as more popular with the female crowd than the male crowd. Although there are many different theories as to why exactly this is (from women misinterpreting AC/DC’s lyrics to AC/DC being the root of the feminist movement in rock and roll culture). Whatever the real reason is, there is no disputing the fact that ACDC influenced an entire generation (my parents’) of music listeners.
Hip Hop has been accused of glorifying violence, misogyny and homophobia. It is this type of music that is teaching our youth that it is socially acceptable and required to “be a man”. The author of the section in the link Masculinities Kevin Powell said that “ultimately that kind of manhood ultimately kills you”. There is a preoccupation with violence which is not unique to the hip-hop culture.
Black masculinity and the hip-hop culture was born out of the South Bronx ghettos in the 1980’s and 1990’s. The population was poor black and Latino’s. Guns, gangs and prison culture was a very real world to them. This music had a very strong influence on these cultures, making a new way of expected life for them.
This music not only affected men, but women of color as well. Misogyny and women of color are seen everywhere from magazines, TV, music, etc. The portrayal of male heterosexuality used the female body as an advertising tool. Half naked women affirm this image of masculinity. For women of color, misogyny and misrepresentation are seen in both gender and race.
Homophobia is seen in hip-hop music/culture as well. One of the greatest insults that can be given to a man is by calling him a woman or saying that he is gay/girly. It is when their manhood is questioned that this kind of homophobic behavior comes into play. There is a very real idea that men have to meet a strict gender-based guidelines.
There has been a shift in rap music today. What was once used as a way to express empowerment, political activism and cultural marginalization, is now a representation of misogynistic and violent content, sending negative and dangerous messages. A reason for this is because it is what sells. Another explanation is that it all plays into stereotypes of race, class and gender.
The website posted above is where I got all of my information.
In the sixties a new male pop icon emerged that came to dominate the British pop industry; the pop dandy. In the book, “The British Pop Dandy” Professor Stan Hawkins describes starts like David Bowie, Mick Jagger and Robbie Williams as dandified.
Hawkins looks at the historic roots of the dandies, their musical expressions and their play with identity, gender and glamour. A critical analysis of issues and aproaches to musical performance through masculinity becomes the focal point of this fascinating study.
This shows a very different masculinity than what society is used to. As Hawkins writes in his book, “One of the political objectives of the dandy is to liberate himself through a denial of the structures that assume fixed identity. Not least, it is acts of queering in pop music that characterize entire generations of male artists in the UK.”
So here we see the role music had on liberating aspects of masculinities in the 1960s as these famous stars show in ther music videos.
The process of studying masculinity and masculinities role in society has really only recently become a major issue. It hasn’t really been studied in general and really at all in the role of music until recently despite its fundamental importance for music history, music education and the social cultural in general. In the book, “Music and Masculinity in Germany since 1950”, Marion Gerards, Martin Loeser and KatrinLosleben talk about the importance the role of music has had on masculinity
They talk about how “music as an almost omnipresent, versatile and effective powerful medium that reveals a wealth of images of masculinity and thus reflects social trends. At the same time it shapes itself is a society – so far, music is a most revealing investigation.” This book starts at the end of WWII, all the way through today, exploring many different genres of music and really showing how music and masculinities tie into each other and create a culture, a culture of masculinity.
In the documentary The Bro Code, rap music was one area looked at and discussed as being sexist and portraying different gender roles for men and women. Women are made to look and feel submissive, while men are seen as in control and powerful. Men should have as many sex partners as possible and are seen as role models for youth boys and tells them how to be men.
This idea of the the Alpha male, being possessive and controlling of women, while using them as objects to use sexually is not sending the right message. Womanizing is shown to not just be a Black or Latino trend/way of thinking. Many white singers/songwriters portray many of the same female ideologies. Womanizing is not a race thing, it is a man thing.
An older phenomenon is women making themselves seem dumb so as to not threaten the womanizer and his ego. A newer phenomenon would be how some women like singer/songwriter Kesha, are mirroring male posturing and talking about/to men like men typically do to women. The mind set of if you cant beat them, join them and the competition of being empowered and in control, is how women are seeing things instead of trying to change men in this sense for the better.