Date of Award
Master of Liberal Studies (MLS)
Dr. Christopher Olds
In 2003, Natalie Maines, the lead singer of the band then known as the Dixie Chicks, made a political statement to an all British audience. Her statement was both critical of the Iraq War that America had just entered, and also critical of then-President Bush. The Chicks were immediately blacklisted, with audiences burning the Chicks merchandise and radio stations refusing to play any of the music penned by the Chicks. In this thesis, the causal factors behind this level of backlash will be evaluated. Previous studies have indicated the significant impact of gender and music and how this has an impact on response (Griffiths, 2015; Katz, 2008), but this does not account for why other female country artists at the time, and even beyond, were not blacklisted for behavior that can also be interpreted as political. This thesis will introduce a four-pronged theoretical framework in which gender, genre, timing, and framing will all be addressed to understand why the Chicks were severely blacklisted for their statements. By comparing the Chicks to male and female artists inside and outside of the country music genre at the same time, the reason the Chicks faced this extreme backlash becomes more clear. The timing of Maines’s statements in addition to the aggressive packaging in which she presented these statements also had an impact in addition to their gender in the country music genre. In a time where many were experiencing the effects of the Rally around the Flag phenomenon, much of the country music scene expected its artists to support political institutions. When the Chicks did not, and stepped out of the boundaries given to women especially in country music, they received a shocking amount of backlash.
Bishop, Danielle, "Not Ready To Make Nice: A Study Of The Intimate Relationship Of The Chicks' Music And Politics" (2022). Master's Theses. 3203.
© 2022 Danielle Bishop