In case you haven’t heard, Martina McBride raised eyebrows yesterday when she shared an excerpt from Country Aircheck consultant Keith Hill, who put in his two cents on the females in country music issue that has been plaguing the industry for quite some time. Likening females to a mere accoutrement on a salad and comparing men to the foundation of same, Hill tossed the controversial salad and served himself a heaping dish of outrage. Joining McBride in the rant against the masochistic mentality of Hill was fellow country star Jennifer Nettles who, likewise, spoke up . . . in a more visual (or vaginal?) manner.
This left the gals here at Gab thinking a couple of things: 1) Keith Hill is taking us back decades to the days of Donna Reed with his gender-based close-mindedness and 2) why did it take until now for females to take a public stand against these antiquated frames of thought? Perhaps the latter is what aggravated Ashley Anne Helene and I most, considering we both have taken a stand in publication in support of female country artists in the past. If we are fighting the good fight, why aren’t those who are losing their spins to their male counterparts?
I would like to relay my thoughts on this subject in a way that most everybody will be able to relate . . . movies/movie quotes. When I found out that Hill was able to elicit a public response to the very blatant radio problem, I quoted Elle Woods (it’s the lawyer in me) and said “Why now? Why this sperm?” Bear with me here; it will make sense. So many people came before Hill and raised their fits in bouts of outrage over the apparent lack of females on country radio, but yesterday those being directly affected spoke out (though I do commend those who did). I repeat – why now and why this man’s comments? Congratulations on your undue “fame,” Mr. Hill.
Let’s equate this to the movie Mean Girls. Everybody knew there was a problem at North Shore High School. Regina George was a bully. Her friends were her puppets. They ruled the school and they made everyone miserable. However, it wasn’t until the Burn Book surfaced that anyone was willing to address the issues. The school is the industry and the Burn Book, well, that’s you Keith Hill. Now that someone called attention to the issues in a degrading manner, we all want a solution. We want a giant assembly where we can find camaraderie and solidarity and bond over a mutual annoyance for an obvious injustice. Well, where were the problem-solvers prior to seeing the very cruel comments in black and white? Why now?
Are those in the direct line of fire scared to show weakness? Afraid it will further impact the lack of radio attention? Are those who are benefiting from the male dominating presence worried they will speak up and forfeit success? If country music is a family, maybe it is time to band together — especially the women who are undeservedly getting shafted — and make some noise! Let the tomatoes of the world unite and force the industry to play catch-up with the times (I couldn’t resist one condiment joke). Let’s make sure the children of the world don’t enter adulthood without a Reba McEntire or a Dolly Parton or a Jo Dee Messina to call their own.
And for the record Mr. Hill, you can’t sit with us.
It is absolutely no secret I have been vocal about the lack of female vocalists on country radio. Hell….a lot of us have. So, while I am ecstatic this “issue” is being raised to new a new level, I naturally have some concerns. I mean…why now?! This issue has snowballed to where it is now because of the lack people scared to step up and say something. Scared of losing what little steam they had on their careers. Scared of losing fans. Scared of losing respect. Who really knows, but what I DO know is I am scared that my niece and nephews won’t be able to sit around a table with THEIR own kids in twenty years and reminisce on how great the Cassadee Popes, Mickey Guytons, Danielle Bradberys, etc. of the world were simply because they didn’t have an outlet to be introduced to them properly. Let’s face, times are changing technology and local radio is at risk of losing popularity, so the fact we aren’t giving women a bigger piece of the salad at this time could really hurt us in 20 years as a genre. To credit where credit is due, I have heard Bobby Bones do his part in uplifting young female vocalists and for that Mr. Bones….I applaud you. Because quite frankly…where is everyone else at? ANYONE in radio knows it’s the right message, the right number of times equal RESULTS. Well, without frequency on the radio…how do we really know if the audience will adapt? If I am being fed lettuce my whole life then how the hell am I suppose to know how good tomatoes are? Besides…have you seen what lettuce does after you leave it out for extended periods of time? It isn’t pretty.
We would like to tip our very stylish and feminine hats to those radio industry personnel who have supported the females of the genre, such as Bones and his nationally syndicated show. Where are the rest of you at? Speak now and stand up for what’s right. If country music prides itself on “three chords and the truth,” why does it matter if a male or female voice is the one singing the statements of honesty?
Country fans, we challenge YOU to #SpeakNow. Speak your minds. Share your frustrations. Shout from the rooftops about the gender inequality that so inappropriately exists at this time. Why now? Because it’s about damn time.