Country music is “toxic trash” with lyrics that only serve to “validate the fragile masculinity of a male-dominated industry” in a genre that “is an insipid soft-served white-centric suburban utopia that thrives on phoned-in mediocrity and lazy writing.”
That’s the argument a University of Louisiana at Lafayette student makes in an op-ed recently published in The Vermilion, the campus newspaper. In his column, George Clarke bemoans country music for having what he considers sexist lyrics while also lamenting that the genre is “ideologically rooted in the 1950s.”
From his column:
It’s easy to mock the lyrical content of the songs on country radio. Take a drink every time they sing about dirt roads, trucks, a river, blue jeans, cut-off jeans, girls in jeans, girls in trucks and girls as sexual objects there only to validate the fragile masculinity of a male-dominated industry that built an empire out of misogynistic, derivative, homogenized, bland and nationalistic shlock.
Every song on country radio manages to hit all the checkpoints set for the genre, but most troubling is the way these male singers perpetuate the weird kind of farmer’s daughter, country girl fetish that hyper-sexualizes young women and equates their worth to the tightness of their jeans. For a genre that claims down-home old-fashioned wholesomeness and a hat-tipping southern gentlemanliness, country really seems to have a limited idea of the place of women.
Clarke does not provide any statistics in his op-ed to back up his claim that the genre is “male-dominated” nor does he point to any specific lyrics that “hyper-sexualize” women.
He claims modern country music is inspired by the 1950s and that era’s “obsession with motor vehicles, paranoid nationalism and the confinement of women to, for the most part, kitchens and homes.”
Clarke also seems to equate country music with President Donald Trump, invoking Trump’s campaign slogan to describe the genre:
Although country songs may strike a sonically pleasant chord with its familiar melodies and superficial saccharine odes to summer written by horny 30-year-old men, the genre in its mainstream form is an insipid soft-served white-centric suburban utopia that thrives on phoned-in mediocrity and lazy writing and celebrates a glossy, corn-fed ideal of America that doesn’t rally match up with the one we live in. It’s more of a regressive opioid day dream — the Make America Great again of pop music.