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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Deborah feminist perspective on folk songs (123* d) feminist perspective on folk songs 03 Sep 00

In another thread yesterday, somebody mentioned the song "Michael Row The Boat Ashore."

I've been thinking about that song from a feminist perspective and am wondering if there is an anti-woman bias implicit in it, and maybe in other traditional folk songs.

Michael, the male figure in the the song, is clearly named and is given the primary role: rowing the boat.

However, the female figure is just called "sister." And sister's role in the song is just to "help trim the sails."

Thus, the male is clearly identified and has the primary duty, while the female is vaguely identified as a helper.

Therefore, we see a definite male-superior/female-inferior bias in this song.

Is sexism in folk music a reflection of the cultures that produced the songs?


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