Essay on Feminism as Depicted in Music

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Carnegie Mellon University
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In the modern world, contemporary artifacts such as music are able to convey our beliefs and values. One of the values is our attitude towards women. Feminism can be defined as the belief that genders ought to have equal privileges and openings and the organization of activities that aim to support the rights of women. Feminism has its roots in our culture which stipulates the need for clear sex differences to either masculine or feminine and also the ascribed roles of either sex in terms of dominance and submission.

Bourdieu model explains that there exist various structures of inequality and domination. He goes on to state that the structures are the result of different practices which form the foundation of the structures. The actors of the practices seek to fully utilize the capital to improve the positions they hold within the structures. Bourdieu paints a picture where there is a constant struggle in a field where all social agents have an aim of accruing symbolic capital that will help them to achieve dominance in the field. Those agents, who acquire cultural capital, are able to maintain and reproduce the dominance CITATION Tho17 \p 510 \l 1033 (Thorpe 510)In contemporary music, various artists have been singing different songs that advocate for feminism. One of the singers in the modern world who has truly embraced the aspect of feminism and being labeled a feminist is Beyonce Knowles. One of her famous songs depicting feminism goes by the title of Flawless. In the lyrics of the song, various lines depict feminism as outlined below. In one line she states that she doesnt think she is his little wife. She goes on to critique that the society teaches girls to have ambition in life but not too much ambition and not to be too successful in life so as not to threaten the man. In another line, she states that girls are raised up being taught to be competitors in order to gain the attention of men CITATION Mic14 \p 21 \l 1033 (Micheals 21)Bourdieus model explained that there exist various structures of inequality and domination in the society. He further elaborated that these inequalities are embedded in daily practices which shape social interactions of individuals. This is evident in the lyrics of the Flawless song by Beyonce. She tries to portray that contrary to popular beliefs; a woman is supposed to take charge of her destiny and does not seek the approval or attention of a man. Beyonce is trying to advocate for the position of women in the society as being equal to men. Males have established dominance as a result of accruing the symbolic capital which originates from different values taught to children as they grow up depending on their gender.

It is evident that contemporary music can clearly outline our beliefs and attitudes towards certain issues in the society. Music is seen as a way of communication to convey our values such as how feminism is depicted in the Flawless song by Beyonce.

b) Feminism as depicted in music

Music has become a valuable tool for conveying information about our culture and values as well as our opinion towards them. Various cultures have a different attitude towards various values and systems. One such system is capitalism which has been voiced in the song Clampdown sang by Joe Strummer. The system is also addressed by Marxs concept of capitalism.

Capitalism refers to an economic system whereby the factors of production are owned by private entities. For capitalism to succeed it requires an economy with a free market. Capitalism as a system makes business owners rich and workers poor. According to the elite theory, the wealthy control the economy in ways that benefit them. In his concept of capitalism, Karl Marx explains that all techniques of production require that the conduct of individuals should be modified. The modification should be inclusive of attitudes not just skills. Marx explains that for capitalism to be effective there are two necessary factors; a disciplined workforce and a class of owners who invest back the capital they get. He says that capitalism advocates for people to work as hard as they can in order to accumulate a lot of wealth.CITATION Gol17 \p 190 \l 1033 (Goldman 190)Capitalism was illustrated in the song Clampdown sang by Joe Strummer in the band The Clash. The title of the song Clampdown refers to the act of making regulations that are aimed at suppressing an individual or an action. The lyrics of the song say that at the factory there are only old and cunning men who just want to steal the best years of your life. The Clash is telling the young men to run because they do not owe the old men anything. They further state that when these people grow up they start to boss around other people in order to feel big. This song explains how a class of owners depicted as the Clampdown is constantly undertaking a fascist takeover. They recruit young men to work for them in order to continue enriching themselves. When they grow up they end up joining the establishment and start oppressing other youths. These owners tell you what and how to do everything.CITATION DAm03 \p 26 \l 1033 (D'Ambrosio 26)This song relates to Marxs concept of capitalism in a number of ways as outlined below. The song depicts how young men change when they grow up and occupy positions of power. This is also stated by Marxs concept which states that capitalism requires modification of the skills and attitudes of the owners of factors of production. The song asserts that there are two parties that are the youth and the class of elites owning the techniques of production. This is also explained in Marxs concept which states that capitalism requires two factors that is the disciplined workforce and a class of owners.


D'Ambrosio, Antonino. "'Let Fury Have the Hour': The Passionate Politics of Joe Strummer." Monthly Review Foundation (2003): 23-28.

Goldman, Geoff A. "Reflections on Capitalism: Insights from Modern Music." Journal of Social Sciences (2017): 187-197

BIBLIOGRAPHY Micheals, Sean. "Beyonce': 'Men are Free and Women are Not'." The Guardian (2014): 14-27.

Thorpe, Holly. "Bourdieu, Feminism and Female Physical Culture: Gender Reflexivity and the Habitus-Field Complex." Human Kinetics Journal (2017): 491-516.



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