Gender and sexuality in popular music
Without a doubt, popular music is a primary, if not the primary, leisure resource in late modern society. – Andy Bennett As Bennett (2001 ) implies, and as supported by the Kaiser Family Foundation’s study “Generation mm”, teenagers spend on average 2.
20 hours listening to music. Its importance lies not only in providing for a mass market but also its ability to reflect and express popular culture.The perpetuation of popular music to be able to serve as a timeline; the protest songs of the sass’s, the rock hits of the sass’s, the power ballads of the 1 ass’s, k-pop today, not only acknowledges the issues Of then, but also addresses, even if indirectly, the issues of today’s society. This essay will attempt to explore the capital issue of gender and sexuality which encompass the notion of normality (what is assumed to be right and/or wrong) within popular music.This will be uncovered through gendered identities that will explain masculinity and femininity as enactments of transgression and identity and furthermore, the dominant ideology of gender roles in romance which, using examples from modern day popular music, conveys the man as a pursuer of ex and woman as the pursued but more interested in love and romance. These factors are dependent upon genre and will therefore also be discussed.The purpose of genre, according to Waller, is to organism the reproduction of a particular ideology.
Gender, as defined by Christenson and Peterson, is central to the ways in which popular music is used and tastes are organized. The irony suggested here reinforces that the same way we assume a system or structure that organisms genres into coherent music groups, so can popular music be an instrument of organizing individuals and groups as part f a larger but prejudiced society.Herein, looking at the writings of Waller (1993), Christenson & Peterson (1 988), and Mass (201 2), I will show how popular music can be transgression not only through the gender dynamics found specifically within the heavy metal and hip-hop genres but also how these influences come to shape perceptions for the perpetuation of gender and sexuality in society. To examine the ways in which popular music is used as a way of addressing these issues, the concepts of gender and sexuality must first be distinctly defined. According to Kemp (2013) sexuality is in. At you biologically are; male or female according to what your genitalia looks like’. Gender, on the other side is ‘nothing to do with male or female counterparts but the way you are taught to act’.
Understanding this, I will be addressing gender in the form of gender identities and sexuality through what society assumes and sometimes accuses, Of both male and female sexes in popular music. Walker’s (1993) approach to popular music in ‘Forging Masculinity’ focuses on heavy metal as a discourse shaped by patriarchy.The TV show The A-Team’ is presented as an example of the ideal world without omen, which allows for an interpersonal dependency among the members of a ‘hero team’ that serves as a masculine performance. Heavy metal promoted traditional notions of male power and the subordination of women and homosexuals. This can be supported by Harridan’s statement on patriarchal power within popular music which refers to the fact that men have ‘historically and traditionally dominated culture and have been privileged by it’ (2008).However, it must be noted that heavy metal has also had a significant effect on gay communities (Gay Metal Society) women and armorial androgynous individuals which illustrates that not only has popular music, via metal, become a site for the perpetuation of what was assumed to be morally right but has also created these gendered identities by which they have come to be known by. Waller explains that masculinity, like popular music, has the inability to be stable, consistent or ‘natural’ which ‘produces the need for its constant reconcilement’.
The development of heavy metal is, believe, an extension of these re-enactments, that led to the broadening appeal Of heavy metal starting in the 1 ass’s which under the influence of a ordained audience led also to a slightly ‘less masculine’ culture of contemporary heavy metal. Notwithstanding, the 20th century saw a shift towards a more ballad-based musical style otherwise known as ‘soft rock’ which at the same time attracted a greater female metal audience (Harrison, 2008).Androgyny (showing characteristics of both sexes, in this case particularly men) has also, now been understood, in the case of bands such as Poison, to be an act of dealing with the anxieties of masculinity. This portrays an important message of masculinity affecting men as much as omen as men become oppressed by the models to which they are expected to conform. Not being able to conform to these gender boundaries blur the identity of a person in which stereotyping comes into play.This also demonstrates an important message about how modern day society operates and the normalization of those who do not meet the requirements of ‘normalcy as Waller reports, ‘Gender constructions in heavy metal music are significant because not only do they reinforce patriarchal ideologies but more importantly because popular music may teach us more than any other ultra form about the conflicts and bids for legitimacy that comprise cultural activity’ (p. 1 1 1).
Secondly, to demonstrate the dominant ideology of gender roles in romance, here is an example that was posted up as a blob on the ‘Feminist’ website of a typical contemporary song ‘Trading Places’ by hip- hop artist Usher whose message reinforces the submission of women in bed: “Gong’ pay for dinner take me to see a movie And whisper in my ear I bet you really want do me Girl now take me home and get me up in Benz Pour me a shot and force me to the bed (Chorus) I’m always on top, tonight I’m on the bottomCoo we trading places When can’t take no more, tell me you anti stopping Now put it on me till I say (Oho wee) And tell me to shut up before the neighbors hear me This is how it feels when you do it like me We are trading places. ” This song emphasizes an expected nature of both male and female sexes where the male has ultimate power or dominance within a setting.In Mass’ study of ‘Music, Gender & Sexuality’ (2012), he claims that boundaries between gender and sex, the ‘constructed’ and the ‘natural’ are controversial. He cites Faculty from the late nineteenth century who argued that emotionality, then, marked an ‘ontological’ shift from sexual acts to sexual identities. This expresses a significant relationship between both gender and sexuality and can therefore begin to explain reasons behind why certain identities I. E. ‘masculinity’ are associated with the ‘male’ figure.
The dominant ideology of gender roles as the male a pursuer of sex, particularly within popular music also derives from the traditional notion of male power; masculine sexuality, in which Mass describes as ‘the intensity of fleeting emotional contacts’ which proposes alternatives to the world of ‘work and obligation’. This conveys a message of duty for the male figure to not only accomplish his sexual desire but to, as mentioned earlier, ‘accomplish gender’ in the re-enactment of ‘male’ culture for the constant reconcilement of masculinity in popular culture, through popular music.