10 Sep 2021

Dr Jada Watson: celebrating 'the F word' in country music

From Saturday Morning, 10:07 am on 10 September 2021
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Photo: Supplied

For years female country artists in North America have been told by radio programmers that they are the “tomatoes” of an all-male salad. In other words, they are the garnish and their music should be played sparingly.

Dr Jada Watson, a professor of musicology at the University of Ottawa, says this attitude leads to a direct impact on the success of songs by female country artists. But despite this, women country artists continue to make songs that could be considered strong feminist anthems - following in the tradition of Loretta Lynn’s banned 1975 tune ‘The Pill’, a song that celebrated the dawn of birth control.

Dr Watson has teamed up with New Zealand singer-songwriter Tami Neilson for a special show called The F Word, which celebrates a rich songbook of country classics, doubling as a tongue-in-cheek expose of gender inequality in country music.