Someone tell the CMT Awards that country female artists aren’t just ‘hot’

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If you’re a regular consumer of award shows, there are some things you know to look for: the sappy acceptance speech, thanking God, mothers, spouses, pets and managers. The crying. The music, which swirls to a pitch as the winner ascends the stage. The awkwardness of the host(s) as they try to make two hours pass seamlessly. Jokes about current events that may or may not land well. The 2016 CMTAwards featured all of these elements, including an astounding amount of sexism.

Like, crazy sexism. From cohost J.J. Watt putting a random girl in the audience on his shoulders (“What? She couldn’t see the stage? I’m just being a gentleman! You’re not married too, are ya?”), to the constant references to how beautiful the women in the audience and on the stage are, to yet another Watt comment about how he’d like to get with Pitbull’s backup dancers, the sexist comments and actions were constant throughout the show. It made the watching experience excruciating.

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How do you compile a group of insanely talented women, including Carrie Underwood and Kelsea Ballerini, and never once reference that talent? The adjective most used to describe the female artists at this year’s CMTs was “hot.” To be fair, Erin Andrews did refer to Luke Bryan as “chiseled” and apparently Dierks Bentley has a song called “It’s Different for Girls” that essentializes both men and women in terrible ways, so the problem of gender isn’t exactly limited. Still, though, it was shocking to see and hear how women were treated on the show, especially since country music has, in many ways, committed to overthrowing the stereotypes it’s spent years perpetuating about women. It must have been awful to be a woman in that audience (unless you’re Carrie Underwood, who I’m sure is entirely sick of this junk by now and is plotting its demise in her giant mansion, with the help of Miranda Lambert).

This was the first time I’ve ever watched the CMT Awards, but yikes. What a throwback to a time we would all like to believe doesn’t exist anymore. It’s sad to be wrong and it’s even sadder to have that wrongness continually revived for two consecutive hours on TV. Do better, CMTs.

What did you think of the CMT Awards? Were you also shocked by the sexism? Tell us in the comments!

Before you go, check out our slideshow below.

2016 CMT Awards acceptance speeches slideshow
Image: John Shearer/Getty Images for CMT