Last week I went to the Winter Men’s and Women’s Chorus concert. I didn’t go into it expecting to find gender stereotypes but they were apparent as the concert progressed. There were three songs from both the men’s and the women’s sides that seemed to presented blatant gender stereotypes.
The women’s choir sang first and there were three songs in particular that were gendered. The first song was called “Little Lamb”. During the song a little child was talking to the lamb. The women were singing as the child and being the child in a sense. Upon hearing this song I was reminded of the magazine ads that portray women as children. In these ads women are dressed in childlike
clothing and are often doing silly things that a child might be seen doing. The second song, “Fair and True”, was not quite as gendered but it was not a song that a men’s choir would ever sing. The women sang about having a loving heart and a good mind. It was evident that the composer wrote the lyrics with the intention that they would be sung by a female. This song also had a childlike feel to it and love was one of the main themes. The third song that was gendered was titled “He’s Gone Away”. The song was about a man that is going somewhere far away and while he is gone who will glove this woman’s hand tie her shoes. The song was from a different time period but all I could think was “really?” Was this woman so dependent on her man that she couldn’t even put on her own gloves? I couldn’t believe that any woman, even one from a different era could need a man so much. It may have been true that women needed men for many things at the time this song was written but I don’t think they were needed this badly and they are clearly not needed this badly today. Women now don’t even need a man to get pregnant but this song seemed to be trying to tell women that they should be dependent on men.
The men on the other hand had three short songs that were very silly in nature and were clearly meant to be sung by males. The choir was split in two and each group had a different part of the song to sing and the lyrics would cross to makes phrases like “look up her dress” and “hot dog”. It was very funny but it irritated me that a woman director would pick music that was so gendered. But there does seem to be some hope for the future. There was a student conductor who picked out and directed two songs. One of the songs she picked out for the women was just as funny as the men’s songs and gender didn’t seem to be so much of an issue in that song.