“Girl In A Country Song” starts with the artists, Maddie and Tae, listing out things they hate about being a girl in a country song. Bare feet, cutoff jeans, and chafing bikini tops being just a few of their complaints. The girls then flip a switch, reversing the gender roles.
When I first heard the song, I noticed a lot that annoyed me. The girls bounced and overdid their facial expressions. They were horribly auto-tuned, and they overdid their country accents.
A few days ago, though, I clicked on the video. This time I watched and listened carefully. The girls were actually doing something quite brilliant. Maddie and Tae were taking the stereotypes for women and showing how ridiculous they are by applying them to grown men.
In the video, the three men who whistled at a couple of girls in bikini tops are subjected to wearing “girl clothing”. Also, they participate in activities that are seen as “sexy” when a scantily-clad woman does them. They wash cars, serve drinks to the girls—whose roles are also reversed—and eat strawberries in a “seductive” fashion.
Male country artists tend to sing about women in a way that highlights their physical appearance. Luke Bryan’s “Play It Again” opens with Bryan seeing a girl sitting by herself on a tailgate at a party. He mentions her “tanned legs” and believes she can’t be single. We can assume that’s because she’s so attractive.
Maddie and Tae mention that “Conway and George Strait never did it this way”, meaning they didn’t objectify women. One of my favorite George Strait songs, “I Got A Car”, does start with Strait being attracted to a woman he’s never met before. However, Strait talks about more about what she says and their experiences. He never mentions their sexual relationship beyond the child they have at the end of the song.
The girls, fresh out of high school, had a lot to say regarding their first single. Maddie said, “Boys, we love you, we want to look good, but it’s not all we’re good for.” NPR’s lead pop critic Ann Powers said the girls were “natural comediennes” in their video for “Girl In A Country Song”, which has made me understand their overdone facial expressions.
Feminism is a powerful role in this piece. They echo Janet Jackson’s, “I’ve got a name, and it ain’t ‘Baby’”. They also subtly slam multiple male artists including Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, and Brantley Gilbert.
Instead of being annoyed by their bounciness and giggling, I’m impressed with the girls. They worked hard to get to where they are. Maddie gave up college, and Tae graduated from high school early. In the end, their love of music translated into a wonderful piece that inspires women to not be the girl in a country song.
This article was written by Maryssa Gordon, a writer for dusk magazine.