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MUH3025 Gender

MUH3025 Gender


Traditional blues of the 1920s provided black women with ways to discuss intense selves through forceful, compelling storytelling, both physical and sexual. The success of Bessie Smith, the "Empress of the Blues," suggests that this sentiment was accurate. Her shows and songs, including "St. Louis Blues," presented love, betrayal, and triumph. Bessie Smith was a powerful black woman with stage presence and vocal prowess prohibiting the norms of racism and sexism that were rife during that time, which limited women's rights as well as the black community while promoting their strength.

Current musicians like Beyoncé and Lizzo also follow this trajectory. Female empowerment, race, and sexual liberation are significant themes in many songs, such as 'Run the World (Girls)' and 'Formation,' and Beyoncé can be ranked among the modern feminist singers. Her performance is very close to that of early blues singers like Bessie Smith. Elements of hope, pragmatism, positivity, body affirmation, and the celebration of the genius of women are present in Lizzo's music. Women's power icons inspire people and encourage them to be stronger, and Lizzo from the songs "Truth Hurts" and "Good as Hell" are among them.

It is in analyzing these qualities with male performers that it is seen that strength is portrayed differently. Blind Lemon Jefferson's image of strength reflects social pillars of 'triumph over adversity' and technical virtuosity that continues with artists like Robert Johnson (Starr and Waterman, pp. 130). Modern men's features can also be seen in contemporary male artists such as Kendrick Lamar, who focuses on the themes of perseverance and pertinent issues. But while male heroes emphasize physical might, endurance, and dominance, female performers often embrace themes of assertiveness, confidence, and subversion of conventional gender roles where they present a much more complex image of strength.

Work Cited

Starr, L., & Waterman, C. (2014). American Popular Music: From Minstrelsy to MP3 (4th ed.). Oxford University Press.


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