The readings for today highlight some of the ways that women are portrayed in lyrics and music videos in heavy metal and rap.
For this assignment, choose a song from one of these genres and write a thorough analysis of it. (You can also analyze the video, if there is one.) How are women portrayed in the song? Does the song illustrate (or counter) any of the common themes described in the readings? How do the music, lyrics and/or images work together?
In today’s class, we’ll be discussing criticism of female rock and pop musicians. In her article, “How Not to Write About Female Musicians: A Handy Guide,” Maura Johnson highlights some of the ways that sexism becomes apparent in criticism.
Find an example or two that illustrate one or more of her points from recent articles in music blogs, magazines, etc. Send them to me before class, and be prepared to lead class discussion about your example.
The album Free to Be You and Me was released by the Ms. Foundation for Women in 1972–a television special followed several years later–and it was intended to encourage gender neutrality.
We’ll be listening to some excerpts for class today, but for this assignment, you should listen to the whole album. Write a critical response. How do the songs challenge traditional gender roles or stereotypes? Do the messages of these songs hold up in 2013?
Hazel Carby’s essay, “‘It Jus’ Be’s Dat Way Sometime’: The Sexual Politics of Women’s Blues” has been influential on scholarship and criticism about black women in blues and jazz. It has also produced some dissenting responses from other feminist scholars. Find a scholarly book or article that responds to Carby. Provide a citation to this source, and briefly summarize the other viewpoint.
Gender in Heavy Metal and Rap – Misogyny in Music Video
Reading: Excerpts from Walser, Running with the Devil: Gender and Power in Heavy Metal Music and Weitzer/Kubrin, “Misogyny in Rap Music : A Content Analysis of Prevalence and Meanings”
Viewing: Watch a selection of the videos linked on Blackboard
Listening: Kanye, “Gold Digger”
Queen Latifah, “Ladies First”
Women and Rock and Roll – Fans and Groupies
Reading: Maura Johnson, “How Not to Write About Female Musicians: A Handy Guide” Village Voice blog, 10 Feburary 2012 (http://blogs.villagevoice.com/music/2012/02/sexism_women_in_rock_female_musicians.php)
Mavis Bayton, “Women and the Electric Guitar”
Pop Music and Second-Wave Feminism – Interpreting Pop Music
Reading: Gillian Gaar, Excerpt from “Hear Me Roar” in She’s a Rebel: The History of Women in Rock & Roll
Dan Kois, “Free to Be,” Slate, 22 October 2012 (http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/doublex/features/2012/free_to_be_you_and_me_40th_anniversary_how_did_a_kids_album_about_gender/free_to_be_you_and_me_40th_anniversary_how_did_a_kids_album_by_a_bunch_of.html)
Listening: Lesley Gore “You Don’t Own Me”
Aretha Franklin, “Respect”
Helen Reddy, “I Am Woman”
Loretta Lynn, “The Pill”
Excerpts from Marlo Thomas and Friends, Free to Be You and Me
4/1 – Women in Blues and Jazz – Black feminist criticism
Reading: Hazel Carby, “‘It Jus’ Be’s Dat Way Sometime’: The Sexual Politics of Women’s Blues”
Listening: Clara Smith, “Freight Train Blues”
Bessie Smith, “In House Blues”
Ma Rainey, “Sweet Rough Man”
Ethel Waters, “No Man’ Mama Now”
Ida Cox, “One Hour Mama”