As if you needed more reasons to love Carrie Underwood, the country music superstar just called out country radio on behalf of women everywhere. Underwood didn’t hold back during an interview with the Women Want to Hear Women podcast, during which she made a strong case for gender parity.
Underwood didn’t mince words, telling host Elaina Smith, “I feel like shutting that door on ‘women don’t want to hear women’ because that’s BS.”
She went on to explain how the sort of systemic gender discrepancy in country radio representation has a ripple effect — girls and young women looking from the outside in aren’t seeing themselves reflected in the artists who dominate airwaves.
“Even when I was growing up, I wished there were more women on the radio. And I had a lot more than there is today,” Underwood lamented. “Think about all of the little girls that are sitting at home saying, ‘I want to be a country music singer.’ What do you tell them? What do you do? How do you look at them and say, ‘Well, just work hard, sweetie, and you can do it.’ When that’s… not the case right now.”
The issue isn’t that women aren’t out there hustling in the country music sphere. They are. That simply isn’t represented proportionately on country radio.
“I see so many girls out there bustin’ their rear ends and so many guys out there that it’s some new guy out there has a No. 1 [song], and I’m like, ‘Good for you, that’s great, but who are you? What’s happening?’” Underwood elaborated.
She’s openly discouraged that “strong women who are super-talented” aren’t getting the same kinds of opportunities but she also admits she doesn’t have a quick and easy answer.
She does, however, have the power to affect change by empowering other women in country music. Although country duo Maddie & Tae are rising stars compared to the well-established Underwood, she is quick to point out they are doing her just as much a favor by coming on her Cry Pretty Tour 360 as she is doing for them.
“First and foremost, they’ve earned it. I’m not throwing anybody a bone by taking them out on tour with me,” Underwood said. “They deserve to be there and they’re gonna put on a great show, and I’m already proud of all that they’ve done. I’m a fan, you know?”
It’s a good move too — Maddie & Tae’s smart brand of country feminism is a natural fit for Underwood’s new tour. After all, their debut single, “Girl in a Country Song,” took a not-so-subtle jab at gender norms in country music. Similarly, Underwood’s “Cry Pretty” serves as “a means to challenge the truth of the female dignity trap,” to borrow from NPR’s Ann Powers.
Underwood may not go so far as to dub herself a feminist, but she is clearly passionate about lifting other women up.
“But it’s good when women support women… And I feel like the more we do of that and the more normal it is, why would I not want to take women out on the road with me? Why would anybody feel like, ‘Oh, well I’m a girl, so I better have a guy?’” said Underwood.
Could we be any more excited about these strong, outspoken women hitting the road together? Doubtful.