Empowerment? Or a huge step backward?

Such is the question that this brings up:

If you turn Maggie Rose’s new single, “Girl in Your Truck Song” into a drinking game — taking a swig every time she name-checks a so-called “bro country” song — you’ll likely be pretty buzzed by the end of the first chorus.

“I can be the girl in your truck song/The one that makes you sing along/Makes you wanna cruise/Drink a little moonshine down/Leave a couple tattoos on this town/Chillin’ out with a cold beer/Yeah, hangin’ with the boys round here/Gonna take a little ride/That’s my kind of night/You and me getting our shine on/I wanna be the girl in your truck song.”

Well. you probably already know my answer to this, I bet. I don’t even know where to start, but to say that the whole thing leaves me rather aghast, not least of all because of Maggie Rose’s attitude:

“I like what’s happening in country music right now. There is a place for women, if we just find our niche. Don’t fight it; embrace it…I want to be a big player in country music, and this is the kind of music people are gravitating towards.”

Because that’s just what country music needs, yet another trend-follower, amirite? And is it the kind of music people are gravitating towards? Or is Trigger right when he says that we’re at the point that the bro-country trend has peaked and we’re now at the point of working through excess inventory of bro-country to make way for the next big thing? I don’t know, but either way I am more than a bit appalled that she seems to be embracing this sort of thing, as much as its been justly derided for reducing women to little more than arm candy.

Just as disturbing, though, are perspectives like this:

Male critics, justified are (sic) not, have been taking a very obviously paternalistic approach to the subgenre. They’re protecting women who aren’t asking for protection.

What the fuck does one even say to that? We just can’t win here. If we speak up against this crap we get accused as paternalistic by one side, yet if we don’t we get accused by the other side of promoting rape culture. Frankly, I don’t see why it’s so “paternalistic” for us to want our mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters to aspire to more than what they’re portrayed as in the bro-country trash. The women may not be asking for protection, but there are still those out there who feel they’re being degraded by the bro-country movement, and with all the mentions of sugar shakers, Dixie cups, fine asses and whatnot, it’s pretty easy to understand why. I am always hesitant to talk about any kind of silent majority when it comes to any given issue, but just the same I have to wonder just how many women out there take offense to bro-country because of its portrayal of women — and how many of those women have just given up on mainstream country music because of it. Are we being paternalistic? Maybe it does depend on who’s being asked. I don’t know.

But if we’re wanting our women to be empowered, what would be the better anthem for that? “Girl in Your Truck Song,” or Kacey Musgraves’ “Follow Your Arrow”?

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Really, though, we can go round and round all day long about being paternalistic vs. wanting our women to be portrayed as more than just truck accessories, as a couple of commenters at SCM so astutely put it, but there’s so much more wrong with the bro-country movement than that — specifically, that it not only makes women one-dimensional, but it also makes life that way. The bro-country movement seems to discount everything else that country music is about — it reduces our existence to one big party. Life’s not a party for a bunch of folks at all, let alone constantly. Like I’ve said before, there’s nothing wrong with singing about drinking around a bonfire and whatnot, but there’s more to life than that, and there ought to be more to country music than that. And not so long ago, there WAS more to country music than that. So even if some people are fine with just being arm candy for some redneck, is it still a good place for the genre to be going or to be stuck in? I certainly don’t think so.

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3 Responses to “Empowerment? Or a huge step backward?”

  1. Sabra Morse Onstott Says:

    Maggie Rose belongs on a “Why I Need Feminism” Tumblr somewhere.

  2. Greg Says:

    Found this little parody/satire video about bro-country & chicks: http://countrymusicnation.com/hilarious-music-video-takes-shot-bro-country-watch-51354#6bdI3h2lvgacGuUo.01

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