dandorfman (dandorfman) wrote,

Борцы за права женщин добрались до Кантри

Все, как обычно, выясняют, почему нет премий у женщин, подсчитывают проценты, которые доказывают, что женщин забижают и т.д. и т.п.
Кантри до недавнего времени была тихим уголком, где не боролись ни за чьи права. Но вот на тебе, добрались.


The 2019 CMAs Ignored Female Artists Where it Really Mattered

The 2019 Country Music Awards might have touted a line up of strong, female performers, but its 7,300-member voting body didn't support women where it really matters—with actual trophies. Even with an incredible all-women opening act, and a trio of hosts made up of three generations of country queens, the real truth about the genre's gender-bias problem came out during the final envelope. Garth Brooks won Entertainer of the Year—the show's top award—instead of Carrie Underwood, who was believed to be the frontrunner coming into the night. Even in a year with a well-received album, a world tour, and ubiquitous superstardom wasn't enough to earn her the award. Instead, it went to Brooks, who didn't release an album this year and played five shows in 2019. While receiving the honor, Brooks fumbled through his thank yous and failed to thank the only woman nominated in this category—all on a night designed to highlight female performers.

Was it unfortunate? Absolutely. Is it surprising? No. As country music continues to rectify its dicey past with women—be it lack of airplay for female artists or the degrading nature of stadium country—the genre can’t figure out how to nail the execution of country-fried feminism. Even more troubling, country music is getting worse. From 2000 (the last time a woman other than Taylor Swift won Entertainer of the Year at the CMAs) to 2018, the share of women airplay on country radio has fallen from 33 percent to 11 percent. Punctuating the evening by giving the night’s biggest award to arguably the most unlikely male winner just reiterates that as of now, country music’s gender issue is alive and well. Even worse, it suggests that maybe those who control it don't care.

In a lot of ways, the show displayed a little progress. Beyond touting superstars like Reba out for her best rendition of “Fancy” in years, the awards for Best New Artist and Best Album went to Ashley McBryde and Maren Morris respectively. But the lack of attention feels strangely reminiscent of the Grammys and its troubled past with hip hop. Much like those stars who have brushed off the Grammys, how long will it be until country acts like Brandi Carlile and Kacey Musgraves just stop showing up to an antiquated award show that doesn't seem to value them anyway? The machinations of a "female driven show" all feel so forced: small, meaningful awards that used to spell a line of succession to the throne now feel like consolation prizes. But the big award at the CMAs is not Album of the Year or Best New Artist—that honor goes to the Entertainer of the Year: an award given on the ambiguous merits of visibility, airplay, touring, albums, and miscellaneous other live performances.

Speaking of air play, let's cut to Carrie Underwood—the lone female representative in a male-heavy category that hasn’t been won by a female other than Taylor Swift since 2000. In the last two years, the category has not even had a female nominee to consider, but this year, the outcome seemed obvious. Underwood released a critically acclaimed album, followed by a massive tour, all while pregnant. Brooks, for the record, did not release an album. Yet the award was presented to him instead, for the third time in four years.

What does it take for a woman to win Entertainer of the Year? From the show's history and listed criteria, it seems that woman must be a crossover hit. In the past 19 years, a female has won Entertainer of the Year three times. Twice for Taylor Swift (her Fearless cycle and Speak Now cycles, which both had massive fanfare with pop radio) and once for the Dixie Chicks (as a result of the also pop-adjacent Fly). With Underwood staying primarily in the lane of country, she’s in a tough position. Last year, it was reported that she was country’s most played female, yet still garnered half the radio time as Kenny Chesney, the genre’s most played male. And again, Carrie is the most played of a demographic that is only getting 11 percent of air time. Every awards season begins with an impossible handicap, and Underwood remains uncrowned in the category.

And focusing on Underwood alone completely ignores the even more baffling blind eye given to Kacey Musgraves—fresh off winning the Grammy’s top honor, all while headlining her own world tour. Maren Morris did navigate the complex waters of country-pop crossover this year and received nothing more than a Best Album win. When the genre places bets on a night full of women and then messily proves its own point by ignoring their accomplishments, it borders on the line of parody.

But if the night did any justice at all, it further highlighted what country listeners are getting cheated out of: authentic storytelling from powerful women within the genre. Marching those talents out for the evening is a great start, but when there's no compensation for it, it reads like you've pulled the kids out of bed to parade them in front of company. Recycled habits make a genre feel just as old and tired as it’s detractors claim it is, and the women of country wouldn't be out of line to walk away from the establishments that only use them ornamentally.


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