How Maren Morris and the rest of the music industry are standing up for women
By Mackenzie Gellner, Contributor
Music has the ability to make a person feel like they belong or that they are being understood. Music can uplift you and also put you right into your feelings. Recently, however, music and musicians have been given a greater power. With the current political climate, music has become a platform for marginalized voices, such as women.
American country singer, songwriter and record producer Maren Morris recently debuted her new album entitled GIRL. The album consists of soft ballads, such as “Good Woman” and “To Hell and Back,” while also showcasing Morris’ upbeat side in songs like “The Feels” and “Flavor.”
The album has been split into two parts, and as you begin to play “Make Out With Me,” you can hear it explain, “This is the end of side one of this record. Please now turn it over for the second side.”
Morris’ describes the first part of her album as introspective, stating in an interview with Cosmopolitan, “It’s more about my opinion on the world and myself and music.”
Musically, the album has been praised. However, what had listeners more impacted was the release of her first single from the album. In fact, the title of that single then became the title of the album itself.
The track “GIRL” describes what most women and girls have thought or felt during their lives, or even on a daily basis. Beginning with a simple yet powerful set of chords, the opening line chimes in ringing with relatability. It states, “Man, this shit’s unflatterin’, all up in my head again. I don’t feel myself right now, maybe I should just lay down.”
When describing the single, Rolling Stone said, “The title track from her new one, ‘GIRL’ sets the bar high right away. It’s the most ambitious and eccentric song she’s done yet, an emotional powerhouse driven by jagged rock guitar.”
When listened to completely, you can hear relatable line after relatable line. She touches on emotions women deal with constantly while simultaneously giving the listener a lyrical pep talk. Once you know the lyrics, it’s hard not to belt them in your car.
Not long after the release of Morris’ single came the accompanying music video. The video attempts to embody women as a whole through the perspectives of different women. It shows women of different sexual orientations, races, career paths and more; it gives all women a connection with the soulful sound.
Since the presidency of Donald Trump, there has been an uproar for women’s empowerment through movements, such as Me Too, Times Up and the physical Women’s March itself. Other artists, besides Morris, have been trying to also use their platforms to shine a light on the need for feminism globally.
For example, at the 2018 Women’s March in New York City and at Glamour’s Women of the Year, also in 2018, American singer and songwriter Halsey gave two speeches in the form of poems. Both speeches were in respect and support of the need for women’s rights. She tied her own struggles being a woman with other women’s experiences as well.
Kendrick Lamar also attempted to show women’s empowerment through his own music with his album DAMN., specifically in the song “HUMBLE.” Using his lyrics, he explains how he is tired of the use of photoshop and praises the natural woman with her imperfections.
Although he was looking to compliment women, it did receive backlash to women who utilize makeup, hair extensions or any form of enhancement. It gave the appearance of only one type of woman being considered worthy, when in reality that was not the artist’s intention.
Even though the support can occasionally come off as negative, the idea of women’s empowerment is prevalent. Which is what these artists, along with a long list of others, are now wanting to show with the current political and social climate we are stuck in, specifically in the United States.
There is a lot to be done before feminism is no longer considered taboo. But when pop culture figures, such as singers, use their voices for marginalized groups to be heard and understood, there is a greater chance a larger audience will take the time to listen.