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Gender in Music

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Submitted By makk93
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Gender is a fundamental feature of popular music. It is evident that gender is one of the main factors in which shape ones identity. When discussing popular music, scholars often emphasize the “distinction between biological reality of sex and the cultural category of gender” (Magrini 2003:1). Your sex refers to your “biological phenomena”, whether you are heterosexual, homosexual etc, however, your gender insinuates the expected rules, behaviours and expectations considered appropriate for being a female or a male (Magrini 2003:1). In this essay I will discuss how, Judith Butler, Simon Frith, Angela McRobbie and Kristen Schilt explore how ‘traditional gender norms’ continue throughout popular music. Judith Butler looked at how gender is a ‘performance’ and that we need to break the traditional gender binaries. Simon Frith and Angela McRobbie discussed how Rock music is male dominated and that women are more or less in the background. Finally, Kristen Schilt discusses how the band Riot Grrrl portrayed girl power, and how Riot Grrrl associated bands tried to keep the girl power going, but still conformed to the traditional female stereotypes, the very thing they were trying to get away from.

Describing gender, Butler states that gender is in fact ‘performed.’ We are performing gender as we behave, walk and talk in ways which connects human beings to impressions of being a male or being a female. She argues that there is “an unwitting regulation and reification of gender relations”, (Butler 1990) which reinforces the fact that there are binary views of gender relations. This means that human beings are essentially divided into two distinct groups, women and men (Butler 1990). There is nothing in between; it’s just two extremes at each end of the scale. It is this approach to gender where there is little lenience to resist the gender binaries and be ‘different’.…...

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