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Gender Roles in Popular Music Today

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Publish date: 19-11-2018

Gender Roles in Popular Music Today

In the modern world, gender construction comes from society, family, cultural norms, media, and music. Popular music plays a crucial role particularly in the way it shapes out views. As a rule, a song on the top of a chart becomes played much often on the radio, thus receiving much public exposure. Modern popular music such as hip-hop and rap depicts men as having absolute control over all aspects of women’s life (Tick, 2008). Some music genres portray women as property or an object that lacks self-control, while others represent lack of respect for women as human beings. Furthermore, popular music uses derogatory names when referring to women in order to inculcate the notion of insubordination. In either way, most popular music genres portray men as a powerful gender that can exercise unlimited control over women. A small number of hip-hop songs portray women in a positive or respectful way (Tick, 2008). However, irrespective of such negative portrays, women still listen and identify themselves with such music due to the social construction of gender that forces women to embrace inferior position. Furthermore, in most instances, men are usually portrayed as having the key economic power. Throughout the songs, men are portrayed as being flashy with money and having enormous wealth. On the contrary, women are depicted as being insubordinate to their male counterparts.

Black Women in Gender-Integrate Instrumental Ensembles

The involvement of women in the bands is not well documented even though some of them were professionals. However, the existing documentation indicates that black women were more involved in instrumental ensembles than white women. Initially, many Americans had no idea that black women were active instrumentalists, even before the First World War (Dunbar, 2011). Furthermore, the work of the black women in the band world largely overshadowed the involvement of black women in the jazz age. Black women were more engaged in the instrumental ensembles than white because black women were providing functional music under a circus tent (Dunbar, 2011). The role of white women in the circus was quite different. Furthermore, live music played a significant role in creating suspense and ambience as high wire acts and elephant riders entertained the crowd, a role that white women were unwilling to embrace. In additional, circus band music was technically difficult and required great stamina that was only associated with black women.

Popular Singers and Dancers Admired By Elderly While They Were Young

The elderly in the society reveal a different picture in respect to the songs and dances they admired during their young age. A significant difference exists between the music listened to during those years and that embraced by the modern young generation. The most popular dances in the 1970s were disco and punk which gained a great popularity in the decade. The disco style was considered very sexual with flashing colors and clingy dance wear (Ray, 2013). Punk dancing style was more aggressive, dark and rebellious and was common among the bands such as the Clash. Other punk dances that were popular during the period included the Pogo and the Mosh. Although the aim of the dance was not to harm, a number of people were injured during the dance due to physical contacts. In 1976, Pogo dancing became one of the most common dances in the decade. The dance entailed jumping in one position off the dancing floor to the first beat of the music and then landing at the starting position during the second beat (Ray, 2013). In the 1970s, the most popular music genre was soul. Such soul sensationalist as Donny Hathaway, Otis Redding, Frankie Beverly, and Bobby Womack among others topped the soul music charts. Their legendary performance is still remembered by the elderly people.


Dunbar, J. C. (2011). Women, music, culture: An introduction. New York: Routledge.

Ray, M. (2013). Disco, punk, new wave, heavy metal, and more: Music in the 1970s and 1980s. New York: Britannica Educational Pub., in association with Rosen Educational Services.

Tick, J., & Beaudoin, P. E. (2008). Music in the USA: A documentary companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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