Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Female Hall of Fame: Rock and Roll vs. Country

In general, Rock and Roll tends to be regarded as left-leaning, both its audience and its performers. Likewise, Country music is usually regarded as right-leaning.

Of course there are exceptions, but I decided to assume the position and do an experiment. I compared the numbers of female Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees with female Country Music Hall of Fame inductees.

Here's what I found...

The number of female soloists and all-female groups inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: 21 (out of 253). If you include mixed groups (like ABBA and Jefferson Airplane) as well as duos (like Ike and Tina Turner), the number increases to 32.

The number of female soloists inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame: 15 (out of 125). There is one mixed group and one duo, which would move the number to 17.

Female soloists and all-female groups only:
RRHF: (21/253)*100 = 8.3%
CMHF: (15/125)*100 = 12%

With mixed groups and duos included:
RRHF: (32/253)*100 = 12.65%
CMHF: (17/125)*100 = 13.6%

The numbers seem fairly close, but they do suggest one thing: the conservative value of individualism appears to be more apparent in country music.

If you are a liberal, then it would makes sense to go with the number that includes all women wherever they appear in the Hall of Fame, since they are more about equality than individualism. That would also suggest that there is no political leaning whatsoever. If we actually count heads, however (i.e. Jefferson Airplane = 1 woman, 5 men), then the percentage would likely be much lower.

(Of course if you actually are a woman, you’re probably just pissed that the numbers are so damn low to begin with.)


Chisa said...
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Chisa said...

(reposted because I made a bonehead typo in the first one and there is no edit button for comments.)

Oh, this is a bullpucky "scientific test" if ever I've seen one. I won't deny that rock and roll is grossly machismo biased but to make these corresponding assumptions about liberals and conservatives would be laughable if it wasn't so irresponsible. You're making a huge leap in logic about the inclusiveness of both genres as they pertain to sex. For starters, the various "halls of fame" are hardly a litmus test for artistic excellence as much as they are for commercial and charismatic appeal. Then there's the social aspect; country music is by and large a softer and more feminine artform than rock. Even the most boot-wearin' terbacky-spittin' cowboys in country and western croon about their broken hearts and tear-soaked pillows incessantly (I'm looking at you, Johnny Cash). Then there's the assumption that political tenets have a basis on aesthetic preference; they don't. I have never heard of anyone not listening to U2 or Public Enemy because they didn't have enough girls in the band, nor arguing that Britney Spears or Girls Aloud are disingenuous feminists.

I do see the point of your post here but I think you made an absolutely poor attempt at "proving" it that ultimately undoes your intention.

The Spoon said...

We can debate until the cows come home about the "artistic excellence" of those who are and are not in the Halls of Fame, but such a discussion would be entirely subjective. Perhaps you may differ with my conclusion (which is more of an observation than a conclusion), but it's a lot more scientific than, "Country is a softer, more feminine artform." (ever heard of Outlaw Country, for example?)

Re: "Political tenets don't have a basis on aesthetic preference": You've spoken at length about this before, but you took the exact opposite position! You've said that a person's art and his politics are inseparable, and I agreed with you.

But again, these are all entirely subjective things. What I tried to do was find a basis of comparison that was NOT subjective, and what I found is actually what you seem to be trying to say anyway: that there is no difference ("The numbers are fairly close.")

In case you missed it, I'm concluding that there is no huge difference in how many women are included, but that the difference is in where they are (i.e. solo vs group). There may in fact be more women in country like I suggest at the end, but I didn't look at that yet. Perhaps I'll do a follow up.