Just when you think we might be taking steps forward as a society, country music radio listeners serve us with the cold, hard reality that maybe we aren’t as progressive as we thought.
Country stations across the United States have been bombarded with phone calls from their listeners threatening to boycott if the song, “Girl Crush,” by Little Big Town is not pulled off the air, according to the Washington Post. The song’s lyrics, which include, “I want to taste her lips/Yeah ’cause they taste like you” and “I want her long blond hair, I want her magic touch/Yeah, ’cause maybe then you’d want me as much/I’ve got a girl crush” have been branded as pro-gay propaganda.
We won’t even go there with the miscomprehension of the song, which is clearly not even about being gay or lesbian. Country music listeners have bigger issues that they should be thinking about than the supposed promotion of a gay agenda.
For one, sexism and the objectification of women is hugely prevalent in the genre, which has even been dubbed as the “bro country” movement. Songs about women shakin’ their thang for men in short shorts and a bikini top dominate country radio, which is mostly a six-song loop that is constantly on repeat. The trend hasn’t gone unnoticed by people outside country music and has even prompted the category’s own Maddie & Tae to write a song dedicated to the issue. The lyrics in the duo’s “Girl in a Country Song” pretty much sum it up with, “Bein’ the girl in a country song/How in the world did it go so wrong?” and “We used to get a little respect/Now we’re lucky if we even get/To climb up in your truck, keep our mouth shut and ride along/And be the girl in a country song.”
Being that the antiquated values of the country radio listeners who are making the scathing calls to local affiliates is reminiscent of the 1950s, it’s unlikely that they are going to stand up for feminism or are ready to see women viewed as complex, strong characters as opposed to Daisy Duke-wearing sex objects who serve no other purpose than to dance in the moonlight and crack open cans of beer for their (male) lovers.
Another issue that fans should be concerned with is the extinction of country radio altogether. What’s popular on the radio is not representative of what people are spending their hard-earned money on. For instance, “Girl Crush” is being yanked off the air in some markets and is only No. 33 in radio rankings, but sits at the No. 4 most downloaded song on iTunes, according to the Washington Post. Radio is already an industry in decline and if the platform isn’t promoting sales, it’s unlikely that execs will continue to use it as an avenue to make money. It could also mean the end of country music as a whole somewhere in the not-so-distant future as more artists, like Little Big Town and Maddie & Tae, may consider pulling a Taylor Swift and jumping ship to the “dark” side of pop music, where societal progression is usually not only tolerated, but embraced.
On the other hand, there’s no such thing as bad publicity: As a non-country fan, I had never heard of Little Big Town, but you better believe I just fell in love with “Girl Crush” and downloaded it today. Watch them perform it live for Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show below.