Sunday, March 15, 2015

Critiquing singer-songwriters

Judy Kutulas has some critiques of both women and men singer-songwriters of this era.  What do you think about them?  What did women and men gain and lose in this restyling of gender roles and the rise of the “relationship” in popular music? 


  1. Kutlus described a push and pull dynamoc between male and female musicians in this era. For women, the battle was to appear dynamic enough that they appealed to the rising culture of awareness without appearing too feminist and isolating potential fans. Male musicians had to fight against the "threat" of feminism, and present themselves as a hypermasculine figure in order to reassure fans that the "rock and roll" lifestyle still exsisted. In this effort, female singer songwriters landed somewhere in the middle--too sexed up to be taken as a serious political movement, but too faceted and reflective to be a sex icon. Men fought against this more empowered female ideal, gaining more power within the gender hierarchy, but had the new expectation to be a partener and equal within a relationship.

  2. Kutulas' descriptions of singer songwriters at the time is particularly intriguing. Through these figures we see some changes that seemingly are still relevant even in today's culture. The female singer songwriters such as Joni Mitchell and Carly Simon sing songs concerning relationships in ways that empower women, giving them more authority over men, as well as more independence to do as they please in general. Some feminists will assert that this was not enough, but still it propagated the idea of a more powerful woman's role in relationships. Alternatively, male singer songwriters such as Gordon Lightfoot and James Taylor, surrendered their dominance in relationships to women. Ultimately, this led to a perceived loss of masculinity for these men, as well as for many other common men.