I don’t listen to much country music anymore because most of it sucks. Now don’t misunderstand me–I say this out of love. I used to love country music. Back when it wasn’t terrible. Mid 90’s to…I’ll be generous and say 2010. If I’m in my car and flipping stations and I hear “Long Black Train” by Josh Turner or “My Give A Damn’s Busted” by Jo Dee Messina, I will 100% blast it. I have most of Joe Nichols’ album “Man with a Memory” memorized because I listened to it 9,000 times when I was 14.
But nowadays, country music has relatively few standout artists. I’m sorry to say it, but the one country-ish song on Beyonce’s new album ,”Daddy Lessons”, is better than all the top country songs for the past five years. When a pop star can do that, then the genre is in trouble.
There are notable exceptions–Kacey Musgraves. Some Miranda Lambert. That really funny one by the two girls about being a girl in a country song.
But most of it is terrible, just terrible. And I’m here to talk to you about a song that made me want to drive off a bridge which is entitled, “God Made Girls”.
I wanted to like this song. I really did. A country praise song centered on women? Please yes, we need this thing. Unfortunately…stylistically, lyrically, and musically this song is nothing short of terrible.
Let’s go over the lyrics. The first line of the song goes thus:
“Somebody’s gotta wear a pretty skirt.”
Wait, what? I’ve GOTTA wear a pretty skirt?! But…
I’m just saying.
“Somebody’s gotta be the one to flirt, somebody’s gotta wanna hold his hand, so God made girls.”
Oh dear. I’m already disliking the premise of this song.
“Somebody’s gotta make him get dressed up, give him a reason to wash that truck, somebody’s gotta teach him how to dance, so God made girls.”
I’d like to point out that nearly all the guys I’ve dated were sharp dressers that didn’t need my help and I should not teach ANYONE to dance, that is a terrible idea. Also “give him a reason to wash that truck”? How I long for the days of Shania Twain crooning, “You’re one of those guys that likes to shine his machine, you make me take my shoes off before you let me get in…I can’t believe you kiss your car at night…”
Come back, Shania. Country music needs you.
Anyway, the song goes on:
“He needed something soft and loud and sweet and proud, but tough enough to break a heart, something beautiful, unbreakable, that lights up in the dark.”
I mean there are lots of nice compliments about women, but none of these compliments wave away the nasty implication that God made girls specifically to cater to boys’ needs.
“So God made girls, God made girls, He stood back and told the boys, ‘I’m ’bout to rock your world’, and God made girls for singing in the front seat, God made girls for dancing to their own beat, He stood back and told the boys, ‘I’m ’bout to rock your world’, and God made girls.”
Okay, that’s not too bad. Maybe the rest of the song gets better…
“Somebody’s gotta be the one to cry.”
Oh no. Please no. Please tell me this song is insinuating that God ordained one gender to cry and the other one to not. Please tell me this song is not advocating the toxic idea of “real men don’t cry”.
“Somebody’s gotta let him drive.”
GIRLS ARE NOT TO DRIVE EVER. ONLY MENFOLK CAN DO THAT.
“Give him a reason to hold that door, so God made girls.”
Because…if there were no girls…there would be no reason to perform basic acts of human kindness like holding a door for someone?
“Somebody’s gotta put up a fight, make him wait on a Saturday night, to walk downstairs and blow his mind, so God made girls.”
Brad Paisley did this song already, it was called “Waitin’ on a Woman”, and it was 100% better than this tripe and had Andy Griffith in the music video.
“Something that can wake him up and call his bluff and drag his butt to church.”
What? I’m in charge of waking him up and making sure he goes to church? That is a terrible idea, I can barely manage to wake up on time on my own. I usually have to bribe myself with tea.
God. There is something about the line “drag his butt to church” that really rankles. Maybe it’s the assumption that I have to bully the person I’m dating into being interested in my spiritual beliefs. I would hope that I’d have more sense than to date someone who has no interest in my church life. And I’d hope that for any other lady.
“Something that is hard to handle, somethin’ fragile to hold him when he hurts, so God made girls…”
Look, I’m happy to be my partner’s emotional support when they’re going through a rough time, but my intrinsic purpose and value as a person is not centered around The Boyfriend’s emotional welfare.
The song ends repeating the refrain and jauntily singing about how someone has to wear a pretty skirt and be the one to flirt, blah blah blah. I refer to my previous point:
These men are welcome to flirt with me in a pretty skirt, I’m just saying.
So here’s my main problem with this song. It’s not to say that country music doesn’t have a plethora of songs that reinforce stereotypical gender roles, but this one takes a particular pleasure in it, even insisting that they’re God ordained. Worse still, according to the theme of this song, the only reason women were even created were to cater to men’s needs. I have a real problem with that.
Why not talk about how God created women outside of male need?
A woman named Esther needed to save the Jews from genocide. Two women named Hagar and Sarah needed to start an entire nation. A prostitute named Rahab needed to save her family–and did it by striking a deal with enemy spies. A woman named Jael needed to kill Sisera and thereby deliver Israel out of the hands of King Jabin. A female judge named Deborah needed to command and lead Israelite troops during this very war. A woman named Mary Magdalene needed to learn at the feet of God. A woman named Junia needed to be an apostle. Three women were needed to proclaim the news that Jesus rose from the dead.
I get that this song is supposed to be silly and fun, but for me, it’s just condescending and limiting. And makes me long for bygone days.
Like Shania Twain singing, “She’s–not–just a pretty face, she’s–got–everything it takes, She has a fashion line–a journalist for “Time”, coaches a football team, she’s a geologist–a romance novelist, she is a mother of three, she is a soldier–she is a wife, she is a surgeon–she’ll save your life…”
Or Faith Hill singing, “She’s a wild one with an angel’s face, she’s a woman-child in a state of grace/When she was 3 years old on her daddy’s knee, he said you can be anything you want to be, She’s a wild one runnin’ free…”
Oddly enough, “God Made Girls”singer RaeLynn calls herself a feminist. She suffered a bit of backlash for the song which she insists is not sexist (c’mon, RaeLynn…) it just celebrates femininity. “It’s just a sweet song about the connection between guys and girls,” she responded in one interview, and points out that four women wrote the song and because of this, shares “many different perspectives.”
Now, RaeLynn was 20 when she wrote the song, and who has a basic grasp on anything when they’re 20? I certainly didn’t. And it does beg the question, “can women write sexist things?”
Well, yes they can. That’s why feminists won’t shut up about the patriarchy–the belief that a male dominated social system indoctrinates people into believing that men are inherently more valuable than women. We can look at the “Twilight” series or it’s mutant child “Fifty Shades of Grey” for proof of women writing sexist things.
But what about RaeLynn’s point that the song shares four different women’s perspectives?
Nope. The song shows one perspective, a perspective that’s been beaten into women’s heads for the past thousand years. Women are accessories to men, women exist for men, and that’s just how God designed it. No matter how well-intentioned, that remains problematic and sexist.