Mike Coppola/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Keith Urban Released A Song Called "Female" In Response To The Weinstein Scandal, & It's... Not Great

Ad failed to load

In today's edition of "Sh*t women didn't know they needed but are ever so *lucky* to have," Rolling Stone reported that Keith Urban released a song called "Female" in response to the growing number of women who have accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment or assault. My first thought on this was, who in the hell still refers to women as "females" in 2017, outside of biology professors talking about mating rituals? But my second thought was no, thanks, I'm OK, Keith. I can go without "Female" and not lose an hour of sleep, not only because it was performed by a man and simply repeated all the hardships women already know they face, but also because it's being produced within a genre that has sexualized and debased women, contributing to a culture where such a song needs to exist in the first place.

You might think I'm overreacting here, because it's "just a song," but hear me out, because I'm coming at this not only as a feminist who has had enough of men dominating conversations about women's sexual abuse, but also as a southerner who grew up with country music playing in the background of my life like a mid-2000s Miley Cyrus film.

First, an update on Weinstein. Since Friday, 57 women have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct, with the allegations ranging from inappropriate language to harassment to sexual assault, according to Entertainment Weekly. Weinstein has admitted to sexually harassing women, blaming the culture at the time, and settled lawsuits with a few of his alleged victims, according to The New York Times. But his lawyer denied any allegations of sexual assault, and his former representative said some of the harassment accusations are "patently false," according to EW. Weinstein's representative did not respond to Romper's additional requests for comment.

Ad failed to load
Keith Urban on YouTube

Fifty-seven women is a lot, obviously. And as more and more of them have come forward, more men in Hollywood have been speaking out and promising to be better advocates for women. And that's valuable, because — even though men are victims of sexual abuse, too — most sexual violence is perpetrated by men. Men's voices will be critical when it comes to calling out other men who might make rape jokes or make a disgusting comment about a woman at a bar. But the one place men shouldn't step in? Speaking in place of survivors. When it comes to the Weinstein scandal, it's great for male actors to acknowledge what they can do to make Hollywood safer, but what they shouldn't do is assume that they know what it's like to be one of Weinstein's alleged victims — or what it's like to be a woman in the U.S., generally — rather than elevating a woman's own story.

Ad failed to load

Women get this a lot. I've had men tell me of my sexual assault, "Well why didn't you just get up and leave? I would have kicked him in the nuts." OK, thanks, Fred. Or we'll even get men's unsolicited opinions about street harassment: "They're not doing anything. You need to stop being so sensitive."

Something doesn't need to be a problem for men, or be offensive for men, in order for it to be offensive or problematic to women (or any other gender). And women are tired of needing to have their problems acknowledged by men in order for them to actually be addressed. Enter, Keith Urban, who is going to perform "Female" at the Country Music Awards Wednesday night. According to Rolling Stone, the song is well-intentioned. It was written by two men and one woman, but, that issue aside, Urban is going to dedicate it to the women in his life and all the sexism they face daily. Great. But what Urban told Rolling Stone was less-than-great:

Ad failed to load

I understand that knowing someone affected by marginalization makes you feel more personally invested in a cause — it makes sense. But it's a problem. You should not need to be a father or a son or a husband to want safety and equality for women. I don't need to have a relative who has died from cancer to donate to a cancer research fund, and I don't need to know a transgender person to be involved in stopping violence against trans people — I should do these things because it's the right thing to do. Unfortunately, the chorus of "Female" just perpetuates this idea that you have to have a connection to women to appreciate them. Here's what it says:

Ad failed to load
Ad failed to load
Ad failed to load
Ad failed to load

Not only is this description of women incredibly shallow, Urban is perpetuating sexist tropes that contribute to inequality. "Virgin Mary, scarlet letter, nature, fire, suit of armor" only further contributes to the "cherished woman" trope.

Women are tired of hearing that it's their connection to men that makes them valuable and worthy of songs or fundraisers or hashtags. Don't combat rape culture because you have a sister — do it because rape is wrong and it's a violent crime.

Though it sounds like Urban means well, I wish he and his songwriters had named the song "Being a Better Man" instead of "Female," since he is a man. Women can share their experiences about their own lives, and we should elevate them when they do. We don't need men to parrot those same experiences; rather, what we need is for them to acknowledge what they're going to do so that women stop having these bad experiences. I don't want to hear a song about the shitty things that women deal with, because I, and a lot of other women, live it daily. I especially don't want to hear it from a man. I'd love to hear Keith sing a song, though, about being a man, and breaking down the toxic masculine tropes that lead the women in his lives to face hardship. Toxic masculine tropes that are perpetuated by his own industry.

Ad failed to load

Country music is well-known for being sexist and for mistreating its women artists. Rolling Stone did a separate piece in July about how sales of Miranda Lambert's The Weight of These Wings are a sad example of sexism in country radio. The Dallas Observer also noted that country music refers to women with the infantilizing term "girls" and constantly reduces them to their "long, tanned legs."

Take this popular song "Must Be Doing Something Right," by Billy Currington, which I used to listen to, that starts off with "A woman is a mystery a man just can't understand," perpetuating the trope that women are strange, confusing creatures that you couldn't possibly just communicate with like a normal human.

Ad failed to load

Or how about "Rough & Ready," by Trace Adkins, where the lyrics say, "Got a 'what-are-you-looking-at-pretty-boy' smirk," perpetuating the idea that men who don't fit traditional ideas about masculinity are weak and lesser than. Let's check out the next few lines:

Ad failed to load

Oh, goodie! Jokes about how women who have elective plastic surgery — a trend that developed because of unrealistic beauty expectations created by men. And then it goes:

Ad failed to load

Oh, yes, I love it when I can supplement men's meals like a side of fries. And this is a general trend in recent "bro country" music. One critic wrote for the Los Angeles Times that a lot of popular country music written around and since 2010 is made up of "interchangeable songs about dirt roads, pickup trucks, girls in tiny cutoff jeans, and beer, lots of beer,” according to the Pacific Standard. (Notice the writer even said "girls" not women.)

Ad failed to load

Country is treating women like sh*t. I'm glad that Urban is trying to change that with "Female," and, according to Rolling Stone, Chris Janson released "Drunk Girl," which is about rape culture, and Luke Bryan released "Most People are Good," in support of the LGBTQ community. So, progress is happening. But, rather than repeating the struggles that women face daily and criticism survivors hear, like "she was asking for it" — which is a lyric in "Female," according to Rolling Stone — I would love for men in country like Bryan to write songs about what they are doing to change.

I appreciate the sentiment of "Female," but I'd like the men of country to call out their own industry for its objectification of women, which leads to them being treated like sexual side dishes that you load into your truck as a symbol of what a great man you are. Then they need to write songs about how they‘ll change. It's bigger than Weinstein. Country music culture is yet another reason that a song like "Female" even has to be written — and that it's performed by a man.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

5 Parenting Habits That Increase Your Chances Of Successfully Potty-Training Your Child

From starting solids to learning to walk, every childhood milestone presents its own unique set of challenges — but this is especially true of potty training. Indeed, the very thought strikes fear into the heart of many a toddler parent, particularly…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

Getting Pregnant Might Mean Losing The Plus-Size Body I Love

For the last two years, I haven’t been my body’s biggest champion. I’ve gained 50 pounds. The stress of helping a parent get sober, a house purchase, and a new job got the best of me. But now, at 36, with talks between my husband and I about having a…
By Loren Kleinman

7 Hilarious Differences Between Having A Baby In Your 20s Vs Your 30s

I was 24 when I had my daughter. And even though that pregnancy was neither expected nor pleasant, I was optimistic. Sure, I guess your 20s are "supposed" to be about finding yourself, finishing college, starting your career, and navigating less-than…
By Candace Ganger

Babies "R" Us Was The First Place I Went When I Found Out I Would Be A Mom

For years I struggled to have a baby, and the sight of toys and layettes made my heart hurt. For me, Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us were a complete no-go zone, a reminder of everything I was missing out on. My mom would walk the long way around Target…
By Becky Bracken

New Moms Have Two Options: Be "Sad & Fat" Or "Desperate & Thin"

As the line goes, the worst thing you could say about me, I've already thought about myself. In the early postpartum period with my son, it was: "I am overweight, lonely, and heartbroken." It was four days after I brought my son into the world, and I…
By Danielle Campoamor

6 Fascinating Facts About Spring Babies: You Could Have A Leader On Your Hands

Does the season in which you are born affect you or are all seasons pretty equal? It turns out that there are many ways in which the your child's birth season could give you an insight into things to come. Whether you are expecting a baby in the next…
By Shari Maurer

Kids Will Love These TV Shows & Movies Coming To Netflix In April

It's that time of the month again: as March draws to a close, Netflix gets ready for a little bit of spring cleaning. Though some TV shows and movies will have to find homes elsewhere, their departure makes room for all kinds of exciting new media. A…
By Megan Walsh

I'm A Stay-At-Home Mom &, Face It, These 11 Stereotypes Are Totally True

Hello, friends! It's me, your resident stay-at-home mom. You know, there's a lot that's said about me and my kind, and the vast majority of it is not even remotely true. For example, this whole "we're lazy, vapid, unambitious, anti-feminist, backstab…
By Jamie Kenney

The Pressure To Worry About The Gap Between Kids Is So Bad For Moms

"Two under two is absolutely crazy," a friend recently told me upon hearing the news that I was expecting a second child. "Why would you do this to yourself? Seriously, why?" However harsh her words, she was only echoing the same feelings I'd been ba…
By Marie Southard Ospina

To Be Honest, I Couldn't Survive Motherhood Without My Job

The decision to work outside the home once you've become a parent can be a complicated one. Some people don't really have a choice, and go back to work because they're either a single parent or can't sustain their family on one income. Some choose to…
By Priscilla Blossom

I Feel Guilty That My Kid’s Dad Is A Better Parent Than Me, & That’s BS

I was scared, and he was sure. I was clueless, and he was well-researched. I was making mistakes, and he was picking up the pieces. From the moment I found out I was pregnant until just last night, when I threw my hands up in the air and left the alw…
By Danielle Campoamor

These Millennial Parents Are Taking Gender-Neutral Parenting To An Entirely New Level

A woman on the subway looks at my bulbous shape and asks, “What are you having?” I take a deep breath and throw a glance to my 5-year-old. “I’m having a baby,” I say to the woman. “No, no” the woman says laughing as she pushes further. “Are you havin…
By Madison Young

My Daughter Is Obsessed With Being "Pretty" & I'm Way Past Terrified

Last week, when I picked up my daughter after school, she immediately wanted to know if I liked her hair. "Is it pretty?" she asked. Her hair was pulled up into two ponytails that were intertwined into thick, long braids. A shimmering pink and purple…
By Dina Leygerman

7 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 20s, But I Will

I was 24 when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. The pregnancy was a surprise, since I was on birth control (side note: antibiotics and birth control don't mix), but my partner and I decided to continue with the pregnancy and committed to m…
By Candace Ganger

7 Things I Wish My Partner Had Said To Me In The First Hour After Giving Birth

I don't know if it was the buzz of the surrounding machines, the non-existent cry of our son as the doctors tried to resuscitate him, or the fact that I'd already been through labor and delivery once before, but I knew something was missing after I h…
By Candace Ganger

Moms’ Groups Weren’t For Me, Sorry

I go to my moms’ club everyday of the week, but not usually on weekends. My moms' group is a place I can always count on finding fellow mothers who understand the daily struggles and triumphs of parenthood and of juggling life’s responsibilities. Dep…
By Samantha Taylor

I've Had 3 Miscarriages But *Please* Keep Telling Me About Your Pregnancy

I can feel the tension the moment my friend announces her pregnancy. I can hear the forced nonchalant attitude she's willing herself to exude as she fishes for the ultrasound. I know why I was the last to learn that she was expecting; why she keeps l…
By Danielle Campoamor

7 Early Signs You're Going To Need An Epidural, According To Experts

Even if you've constructed an elaborate birth plan, it's impossible to control every aspect of labor and delivery. Complications can occur, proactive measures might be necessary, and your mind is subject to change when those damn contractions really …
By Candace Ganger

11 Essential Products To Pack In Your Hospital Bag, According To OB-GYNs

The minute you go into labor (or think you're going into labor), chaos ensues. You and your partner are likely to get a little frantic, just like in the movies, so you most definitely want to have a hospital bag packed before the day comes. This prec…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

7 Photos You *Must* Take In The First 6 Months Of Motherhood

In my experience, becoming a mom is like becoming an amateur photographer. There's just something about the need to capture every single coo and sorta-smile that leaves you obsessed with all things photography. I know I couldn't stop taking selfies w…
By Candace Ganger