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Men And Women In Music Essay

2838 words - 11 pages

Gender is a set of attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that we typically associate with masculinity and femininity (Brym, 2011, p.76). A lot of times, these differences are socially constructed through various outlets – one of them being music. Often times there is a lot of confusion between the definition of “sex” and “gender”. An easy way to understand the two definitions is to remember that “sex” refers to biological differences between men and women and “gender” refers to culturally defined ways of being male or female. Through a process of gender socialization, we are enabled to understand how to be more masculine or feminine (Brym, 2011, p.89). Music is definitely a contributor in the process of gender socialization. In a sociology 100 class, on February 3rd 2011, a class discussion suggested that men are often characterized as violent, assertive, strong, and sexual instigators (reinforced by Pruitt, 2007). Since the beginning of time, men have been considered the dominant sex. In the same class discussion it was also suggested that women were emotional, motherly and insecure (again, reinforced by Pruitt, 2007). Unfortunately, women are seen as the weaker sex in society. This simplistic way of categorizing women and men is commonly referred to as gender stereotyping. Gender stereotyping is the “simplification” of common beliefs about men and women and the traits that they possess (Brym, 2011, p.156). Gender roles are socially constructed expectations on how males and females are required to behave in social settings (Brym, 2011, p.76). The problem with gender roles is that they’re socially constructed – meaning, it’s constantly changing. The term assumes that there are strict differences between men and women and the truth of the matter is that we are really not that different from each other. The term doesn’t take the different views on masculinity and femininity in different countries into consideration. For example; it is socially acceptable for men to wear skirts or “kilts” in public in Scotland. On the other hand, North American men would be quite reluctant to do so. With the rise of metrosexuality and evolving cultural norms, the lines that help define gender are often blurred. This essay will specifically look at the gender roles that are portrayed in various genres of music including country, pop and rap.
Country music is a great example of a genre that echoes various gender stereotypes in the lyrics. In this genre of music, men are urged to display masculine traits like “aggressiveness, reason, rationality and protection” (Pruitt, 2007, p.86). Women are pressured to display traits like “peacefulness, caring, emotion and vulnerability” (Pruitt, 2007, p.86). In country music, masculine traits are more commonly favored over female traits (Pruitt, 2007, p.86). Country music is distinct because of this strong emphasis and tendency toward representation of male characteristics. Popular male-country figures include: Toby Keith, Tim McGraw,...

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