Country Duo Maddie & Tae Boot-Scootin’ All Over Sexism In The Genre

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Ok calm down die-hard country fans, we aren’t here to trample on your musical religion!

Instead we’re using our space to promote a newbie female country duo Maddie and Tae not just because they are super talented, but because already their music is causing quite a stir amongst feminist communities and the online media.

Make no bones about it, the two friends are more than just young, blonde-haired, blue-eyed soul sisters who can belt out a track. Signed to Dot records in Tennessee, Maddie Marlow is from Texas, and Taelyn Dye is from Oklahoma. So they are pretty much country gals through and through.

Yet their lyrical content is sure to have them set apart from the usual country stock right out the gate. In an EPK video which has been doing the rounds, they and members of their management team talk about an upcoming catchy single called ‘Girl in Country song’ (released July 15) which aims to tackle the sexism so often heard in country lyrics.

It has been called the “Bro-country backlash” by The Atlantic, where they point out the many ways women are objectified in male artists’ songs. Boys drinking beers, girls in short daisy dukes, barefoot, tanned legs, shaking their “money-makers”, batting their eyelids, and women being portrayed as “pretty little things” have become the norm when it come to music coming out of Nashville, it made Maddie & Tae realize they would never ever want to be one of those types of girls described in a country song.

While they don’t mention their names, the girls mention the actual lyrics from artists such as Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Thomas Rhett, Blake Shelton, and Jason Aldean to name a few. Needless to say they had plenty of fodder to choose from when writing the song, but also made sure to give cred to legendary male artists Conway Twitty and George Strait who they sing “never did it this way back in the old days…we ain’t a cliche…That ain’t no way to treat a lady…”

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“Those two men have over eighty #1 singles between them, and part of the reason their fans stayed so loyal is because they wrote about real women, and the real men who love them because they are real women, not pinup fantasies that look great in the background.   Too few songs today are moving past the male gaze when they talk about women, focusing only on how they look and how that drives the guy crazy.  Yes, it’s shallow and dumbed down and often misogynist.  But more than anything else, it’s boring,” writes Kevin John Coyne at Country Universe.

“Being the girl in a country song–how in the world did it go so wrong? Like all we’re good for is looking good for you and your friends on the weekend, nothin’ more. We used to get a little respect. Now we’re lucky if we even get to climb up in the truck, keep our mouth shut, ride along and be the girl in a country song,” the girls sing in the chorus.

In the promo video below, from around the 3 minute mark onwards the team discusses the makings of what is sure to be a massive hit. Think Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Shania Twain in the ’90s big!

“It’s funny because when people think two 18 year-old blonde girls you think ‘butterflies, rainbows, and boys’ and we’re like, ‘no!’ ” says Maddie.

“It’s a viewpoint we haven’t heard in the market before and I’m dying to show that to the world,” says their manager Chris Stacey.

When you look at the Top Ten biggest selling country albums of all time (not including any Greatest Hits compilations) 6 of them belong to Garth Brooks, and the rest women: Shania Twain, The Dixie Chicks. A list of the top ten richest (aka the ones who have sold the most records and tickets on tour) country artists to date is also quite interesting.

Six of them are men, and the rest are women: Reba McEntire, Dolly Parton, Taylor Swift and Faith Hill. So it’s not as if audiences don’t want to hear female artists and their take on the world.

Anyone remember Shania Twain’s tongue-in-cheek girly anthem which became a pop hit ‘That don’t impress me much’? And let’s not forget the video for ‘Man! I Feel Like A Woman’ where she blatantly subverted the typical sexist roles played out in Robert Palmer’s ‘Simply Irresistible’ music video.

This is just one example, of course there are plenty of others. The messages have been always been there in country, but it seems they have either been a novelty, or been drowned out by the stereotypical representations that sell numerous records. Also, the fact that these two artists are young, and will join the likes of Taylor Swift who is currently the only artist of her generation in the upper echelons of country royalty, is powerful.

“There is a gaping hole for a female act to re-engage teenage girls in the format, it really hasn’t happened since Taylor [Swift],” says Scott Borchetta from Big Machine Label Group who are promoting the single.

These girls have the potential go insanely huge, and if their message of empowerment can capture the large country music audience in the United States alone (not to mention other regions where country music is just as cult) they have a wonderful opportunity to lead legions of female fans in a positive and empowered direction where they too are willing to challenge the status quo, the sexist norms in our culture and question the way women are represented in society.

Can you tell we are super excited for more of Maddie and Tae? Check out the music video, and be sure to stay tuned for what these boot-scootin’ beauties are going to bring to music!


 

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