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Is 'Trad music' sexist?

GUEST,akenaton 02 Feb 18 - 09:42 AM
Dave the Gnome 02 Feb 18 - 09:56 AM
Vashta Nerada 02 Feb 18 - 11:10 AM
Jeri 02 Feb 18 - 11:14 AM
GUEST 02 Feb 18 - 11:20 AM
CupOfTea 02 Feb 18 - 12:26 PM
Vic Smith 02 Feb 18 - 12:27 PM
GUEST,akenaton. 02 Feb 18 - 12:33 PM
GUEST 02 Feb 18 - 12:44 PM
Jim Carroll 02 Feb 18 - 12:58 PM
GUEST,John 02 Feb 18 - 01:48 PM
GUEST 02 Feb 18 - 01:56 PM
Joe Offer 02 Feb 18 - 02:37 PM
Jim Carroll 02 Feb 18 - 02:52 PM
Reinhard 02 Feb 18 - 02:54 PM
Brian Peters 02 Feb 18 - 03:03 PM
Brian Peters 02 Feb 18 - 03:32 PM
GUEST,Morris-ey 02 Feb 18 - 05:46 PM
Jackaroodave 02 Feb 18 - 06:12 PM
Jackaroodave 02 Feb 18 - 07:30 PM
Andy7 02 Feb 18 - 08:01 PM
GUEST,Morris-ey 03 Feb 18 - 04:56 AM
Bonzo3legs 03 Feb 18 - 05:18 AM
Vic Smith 03 Feb 18 - 06:19 AM
Big Al Whittle 03 Feb 18 - 07:48 AM
Bonzo3legs 03 Feb 18 - 08:14 AM
Jackaroodave 03 Feb 18 - 08:15 AM
GUEST 03 Feb 18 - 11:44 AM
GUEST,akenaton 03 Feb 18 - 11:45 AM
GUEST,Morris-ey 03 Feb 18 - 11:48 AM
Jackaroodave 03 Feb 18 - 12:11 PM
Jim Carroll 03 Feb 18 - 12:14 PM
Jackaroodave 03 Feb 18 - 12:18 PM
Jim Carroll 03 Feb 18 - 12:23 PM
Brian Peters 03 Feb 18 - 12:26 PM
The Sandman 03 Feb 18 - 12:37 PM
GUEST 03 Feb 18 - 01:02 PM
Bonzo3legs 03 Feb 18 - 01:07 PM
Jim Carroll 03 Feb 18 - 01:11 PM
Stilly River Sage 03 Feb 18 - 01:21 PM
Big Al Whittle 03 Feb 18 - 06:05 PM
GUEST,Some bloke 04 Feb 18 - 03:00 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Feb 18 - 04:03 AM
BobL 04 Feb 18 - 04:10 AM
GUEST,akenaton 04 Feb 18 - 04:41 AM
GUEST 04 Feb 18 - 05:03 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Feb 18 - 05:09 AM
Johnny J 04 Feb 18 - 05:41 AM
TheSnail 04 Feb 18 - 05:41 AM
TheSnail 04 Feb 18 - 05:43 AM
Big Al Whittle 04 Feb 18 - 06:37 AM
Howard Jones 04 Feb 18 - 06:43 AM
GUEST,akenaton 04 Feb 18 - 07:18 AM
Big Al Whittle 04 Feb 18 - 07:40 AM
GUEST 04 Feb 18 - 07:53 AM
GUEST 04 Feb 18 - 08:04 AM
GUEST,akenaton 04 Feb 18 - 08:06 AM
Vic Smith 04 Feb 18 - 11:00 AM
Stilly River Sage 04 Feb 18 - 11:36 AM
Steve Gardham 04 Feb 18 - 12:58 PM
michaelr 04 Feb 18 - 01:17 PM
Steve Shaw 04 Feb 18 - 03:44 PM
Stilly River Sage 04 Feb 18 - 04:51 PM
Steve Gardham 04 Feb 18 - 04:56 PM
Jackaroodave 04 Feb 18 - 05:08 PM
gillymor 04 Feb 18 - 05:24 PM
Steve Shaw 04 Feb 18 - 05:58 PM
GUEST 04 Feb 18 - 06:11 PM
Gallus Moll 04 Feb 18 - 06:40 PM
GUEST,akenaton 04 Feb 18 - 06:44 PM
Stilly River Sage 05 Feb 18 - 12:35 AM
Bonzo3legs 05 Feb 18 - 07:09 AM
Bonzo3legs 05 Feb 18 - 07:39 AM
Jim McLean 05 Feb 18 - 02:20 PM
John P 05 Feb 18 - 02:34 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 05 Feb 18 - 02:51 PM
meself 05 Feb 18 - 03:06 PM
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Subject: Origins: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: GUEST,akenaton
Date: 02 Feb 18 - 09:42 AM

As most TM is about male work songs, wild drinking and sex (usually leaving the poor girl in the lurch), or war in all its forms, is this genre seen as sexist in these "enlightened times"
I suppose if we were "liberals" we could go through the whole traditional itinerary deleting and amending......in fact there are a couple here who would be bloody good at it?
Additionally Trad Music almost always portrays women as victims
Shurely shome mishtake?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 02 Feb 18 - 09:56 AM

There are plenty of songs where the woman gets the upper hand. Look at all those sailors wandering round ports with no clothes or money for a start:-)

DtG


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Subject: RE: Origins: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: Vashta Nerada
Date: 02 Feb 18 - 11:10 AM

You're tilting heavily toward trying to start a BS thread in the music section when you cast aspersions and use quotes ("liberals") in your statement. That's what got you into so much trouble down below.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: Jeri
Date: 02 Feb 18 - 11:14 AM

Songs reflect culture, and culture was formally more sexist than it currently is. Most people are capable of learning.
The ones who aren't, complain, but there isn't much else they can do.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Feb 18 - 11:20 AM

I know some pretty hardcore feminists who seem quite happy singing the sort of trad material mentioned.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: CupOfTea
Date: 02 Feb 18 - 12:26 PM

Dunno how music can be sexist.

Lyrics, on the other hand... Sexism is part of the traditions we have. How we uphold the sexist nature of them is what is telling of contemporary performers who work in the tradition. Then, too, tradition is a dynamic, growing, changing thing. Those who would hold tradition static, frozen at some particular year/era, claiming the virtue of being a "purist" are usually unwilling to consider anyone's opinion but their own.

The poke at "liberals" making amendments, and jumping to the assumption that everything must be changed if anything is, is a typical attempt to politicize a cultural issue. So much of traditional song needs respect for context and audience. Denigrating politeness as a sneered at "political correctness" only shows meanspiritedness. Do you sing a ballad about a rape to a group of rape survivors? Do you sing Stephen Foster lyrics exactly as written to an audience with black members? Do you sing a song about murder or infanticide to a grade school audiences?

Being aware that certain subjects can be touchy to your listeners means putting them ahead of yourself. Things that you might value and they might not, might well be acceptable if presented with a dose of context. There are many traditional subjects that are about outrages - murder, betrayal, forced marriage, revenge - that are simply examples of the darker side of human nature, and illuminating them in a cautionary way can show both shifting cultural values, or the ways some evils still exist.

Joanne in Cleveland


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 02 Feb 18 - 12:27 PM

I would say that the answer is in the way the song is performed and the way it is introduced.
I remember that in the 1960s I remember hearing one of my great heroes, Belle Stewart quite frequently singing Blue Blazing Blind Drunk and delivering it as a comic piece and I can remember feeling uncomfortable about the way she sang it.
No, Belle, the song is about domestic abuse and it isn't funny!

Later, I can remember Cilla Fisher, a much younger woman, singing exactly the same song and delivered it as though it was a really sad blues. Cilla gave the song a feminist perspective and I felt much happier with that treatment.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: GUEST,akenaton.
Date: 02 Feb 18 - 12:33 PM

Despite the snidy comments from Vasha, this is supposed to be a serious thread and we don't need trolls.
I have always loved traditional music, but I have been surprised and disappointed by the lack of songs celebrating motherhood and family in favour of those showing women as victims.
One great exception is Linda Thompsons heart wrenching song
In which there is victimhood, but overcome by mother love and the protection of family and creed.
She tells of a young girl lured by the bright lights of London who through lack of work or money "takes to the whoring...of her own free will" the girl soon succumbs to sickness and begins to hate herself and the hard selfish city. "Oh how I long for ...my mother's arms"
"Come all you young women, a warning take by me, to be tied up in love, means more than liberty.
They'll protect you and keep you, like no one else can do,
Except God and all his angels looking after you".
The young woman is of course referring to her family which she left in search of "fame and fortune".......it is a beautiful song and I find its truth fills me with emotion every time I hear it.
The banks of the Clyde


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Feb 18 - 12:44 PM

Vic, I agree wholeheartedly with your comments regarding "Blue Blazin' Blind Drunk"
Mickey's Warning was very much social commentary.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Feb 18 - 12:58 PM

"Vic, I agree wholeheartedly with your comments regarding "Blue Blazin' Blind Drunk"
Me too
It seems that men seem more ready to celebrate motherhood when they don't have to face the reality of it
I've always thought that the most practical songs "celebrating motherhood" and family" from the more realistic point of view of women come from the UNITED STATES.
Much of this has the ring of "A woman's place is in the home, in the kitchen and in bed"
I'd love to be a fly on the wall when that one's fed to many of today's women!!
'Those were the days, my friend' TBTG
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: GUEST,John
Date: 02 Feb 18 - 01:48 PM

snidy comments from Vasha ... and we don't need trolls

Eh??? In what way, shape or form can Vasha's comments be seen as trolling?

Also you start a thread about traditional music and then quote a modern song written by Linda Thompson to make your point. In what way, shape or form is 'The Banks Of The Clyde' traditional? Bizarre...


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Feb 18 - 01:56 PM

Linda uses a traditional tune and the lyrics are certainly in the traditional genre.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 02 Feb 18 - 02:37 PM

OK, folks, be civil. This is the music forum.

Whether it's sexist or not, it's the tradition. I think we need to just suspend judgment and sing the songs.

I guess one could say there is an element of male chauvinism in much guitar-accompanied "trad" music. But when the music is unaccompanied, the women often seem to dominate - especially with ballads (but definitely not with sea songs). When I go to a ballad session, I quickly realize that I must be on my best behavior. All that stuff about pen-knives and such can get a little scarey. And those pen-knives often get stuck in the tender torsos of menfolk.

So, please, I'm behaving well, right? Put that pen-knife away, dear!!!

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Feb 18 - 02:52 PM

"and the lyrics are certainly in the traditional genre."
No really - a typical Victorian parlor ballad tear-jerker
"Put that pen-knife away, dear!!!"
Talk to them like that Joe (especially the "dear" bit) and they'll probably find a good use for the pen-knife
Do you need any falsettos for your church choir?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: Reinhard
Date: 02 Feb 18 - 02:54 PM

A few years ago, Kim Edgar and Karine Polwart were fed up with traditional murder ballads in which women never were allowed to do something exciting; they were just being murdered or the cause of murder. So they wrote their own ballad "Blood, Ice and Ashes" in which the heroine got to be the murderer.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 02 Feb 18 - 03:03 PM

Vic Smith: I would say that the answer is in the way the song is performed and the way it is introduced.

If I knew how to make a thumbs-up sign on here I would give this comment a hundred.

I also find it hard to agree with the original comment that:
Trad Music almost always portrays women as victims

You can find plenty of songs that do that, and plenty that don't, including plenty of strong women characters in the Child corpus. Which ones you choose to perform is up to you, of course. And in any case the 'victim' variety can still provide a powerful commentary on modern day domestic violence, rape, murder, etc. (see Vic's comment again).


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 02 Feb 18 - 03:32 PM

CupofTea has it right as well.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: GUEST,Morris-ey
Date: 02 Feb 18 - 05:46 PM

Traditional music reflected the attitudes and morality of the time they were sung. They were not sexist or racist.

Looking backwards with our modern morality does not alter that but it seems people today feel obliged to apologise for what was perfectly normal and legal several centuries ago.

If you feel uncomfortable singing a song then don't sing it.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: Jackaroodave
Date: 02 Feb 18 - 06:12 PM

Is this a serious question? Since cultural institutions like literature, law, philosophy, and progressive politics were generally more sexist 150 years ago than they are now, why would we expect songs to be exempt?


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: Jackaroodave
Date: 02 Feb 18 - 07:30 PM

Morris-ey,

Interesting that we both claim that folk songs reflect their times and draw opposite conclusions about their sexism.

I'd argue that community standards and cultural institutions were, objectively, more sexist then than now, also more racist, more overtly anti-semitic, etc. These attitudes and this morality weren't just different in those respects, they were worse. We may feel we can't judge people who adhered to their community's standards--though there were always those who opposed them--but we certainly can judge those standards themselves.

The US Supreme Court decision Plessy v. Ferguson, mandating Jim Crow laws, was more racist than Brown v. Board of Education, which overturned them. The US was less sexist and racist after the 1964 Civil Rights Act was passed than when only men could holld property unrestrictedly, and human beings were among that property. In the 19th Century, American women could not vote; in 2016 Hillary Clinton won a popular majority in the presidential election. In popular fiction, greasy Jewish userers are no longer slotted as comic or villanous characters, as they were in the fiction of Anthony Trollope and Arnold Bennett. etc.

I agree, if you feel uncomfortable singing a sexist song, don't. And if you feel uncomfortable listening to one, walk out.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: Andy7
Date: 02 Feb 18 - 08:01 PM

Very nicely argued, Jackaroodave.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: GUEST,Morris-ey
Date: 03 Feb 18 - 04:56 AM

Lackaroo

I think agreeing with me actually - times and attitudes change over time. You, however, seem to believe that one can judge the past using our more enlightened modern sensibilities. I do not.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 03 Feb 18 - 05:18 AM

Dead right guest Morris-ey, trad songs should be listened to, enjoyed and not be subject to pontification. They are what they are.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 03 Feb 18 - 06:19 AM

The question posed in the thread name has intruiged me and given me cause to think and I welcome it for that reason.

I have thought of another example of differing performances to match the Belle/Cilla that I gave above.
When I first started going to folk clubs in the early 1960s and in the years after, a very popular song sung especially to guitar accompaniment by young women was The Shearings No For You. It was sung in a pretty, pretty way that made me wonder if they were even thinking about the words. It is about the most heinous crime imaginable after murder. In some ways it is worse because the victim survives and lives with the horror for the rest of her life.

In the late 1960s I was at an informal singaround, somewhere in Scotland (Aberdeen? Blairgowrie?) and the people in the room were all Scots travellers or folk revival enthusiasts. Jeannie Robertson was there and sang The Shearings No For You. Like nearly all her singing in her later years, the singing was slow and stately. I had never heard her singing it before or after and to my knowledge, she never recorded it - but the impact was immense.
Jeannie was the only person I have heard who did not repeat the first line, Taking away the lift that comes from the way the tune rises at the end of the repeated line changes the way the song is received.
She sang it with passion.
She sang it with anger.
There was a fierceness in her delivery.
She sang it in an accusatory way.
I found that I could not look at her whilst she was singing it. Other men in the room also seemed to be looking down. I think all the men were feeling a sort of gender guilt.

Unlike my previous example, it was the older woman, the tradition bearer that was getting it right this time.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 03 Feb 18 - 07:48 AM

i don't give a shit.
look at all the religious paintings that were done to glorify a church that burned people in the market place.
do you say well that does it for me, renaissance painting is of no value, because it pushes the values that i don't agree with?

really the more we understand of history. the more, generally we forgive.

we all have feet of clay - one day the people of the future will get all judgemental about us. in fact some folk on mudcat have started already.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 03 Feb 18 - 08:14 AM

And we know who they are!!!!!


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: Jackaroodave
Date: 03 Feb 18 - 08:15 AM

Morris-ey: "You however, seem to believe that one can judge the past using our more enlightened modern sensibilities. I do not."

Judge "the past"?

I think I was pretty clear about what I believed we could judge:

"We may feel we can't judge people who adhered to their community's standards--though there were always those who opposed them--but we certainly can judge those standards themselves."

And actually I think most of us do: that most of us believe people should be free and not chattle, that women should not be utterly subjugated to the oldest male in their household. That, in fact, they should receive the same opportunities and have the same rights as men.

You of course know yourself, and I do not, but I sincerely believe that if you or I or most mudcatters spent a week in, say, 1854 Charleston South Carolina, getting to know what was going on, and what rules were played by, we'd be pretty well appalled.

I think the same would hold, to a much lesser extent, of 1954 New Britain, Connecticut, about which I have some personal knowledge.

I don't think those differences are grounds for self-congratulation about contemporary enlightened sensibilities. Instead, the invisibility of systematic injustice back then to people of good will cautions me to consider what's invisible to me, and how my attitudes and actions--and inactions--might look to someone like myself in, say, two generations from now.

I apologize for going this deep and wide in a thread about traditional songs, but that's where I'm coming from with respect to the original question.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Feb 18 - 11:44 AM

Some of the people here seem slightly confused, my point really concerned the lack of celebration of women in our music
To almost all women that I know, their role in giving birth and nurturing a family are their proudest achievement, it is rarely even noted in passing in traditional music, which seems to be rooted in the heroic( and not so heroic) deeds of men. Perhaps the role of women as protectors of the species was appreciated and taken for granted in the centuries gone?   It is certainly not so today's turgid social climate, where "breeders" are universally despised amongst our biting and clawing elites.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: GUEST,akenaton
Date: 03 Feb 18 - 11:45 AM

Apologies, last guest post was mine...Ake.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: GUEST,Morris-ey
Date: 03 Feb 18 - 11:48 AM

You prove my point yet again; that you can't recognise it is a matter for you.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: Jackaroodave
Date: 03 Feb 18 - 12:11 PM

Al: "look at all the religious paintings that were done to glorify a church that burned people in the market place. do you say well that does it for me, renaissance painting is of no value, because it pushes the values that i don't agree with?"

Al, that's a spurious analogy that's not worthy of you. No one is saying "All trad songs are of no value because they push values that I don't agree with."

The question was, "Are trad songs sexist?" and the consensus is, yes, some are. And surprise! they reflect the values of their context of composition.

Forgiveness doesn't come into it, and yes, we all have feet of clay. I think as you point out, it's distance that makes the difference, rather than any withholding judgment of archaic values. So Vic Smith's examples of dispelling that distance are much more fruitful than back-and-forth about cultural relativism.

To tell the truth, however, I'd rather look at Michelangelo's Pieta than the anti-semitic paintings of Jews mocking Jesus by Bosch and the Master of the Karlsruhe Passion. Once you know the purpose of these paintings, and how well they succeeded, it sort of takes the fun out of it. Nor do I care much for Pedro Berruguete's portrayal of St. Benedict presiding over an auto da fe, even if "Berruguete's way of representing the platform, and the delicacy, elegance and harmony of his colours are all indications that the innovations of Italian art of the fifteenth century had already found their way to Spain." Burning of the Heretics

Life is so short, and there is so much great art and music. Why bother with this sort of stuff?


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Feb 18 - 12:14 PM

"To almost all women that I know, their role in giving birth and nurturing a family are their proudest achievement,"
You did a survey, or aren't they worth asking?
Medieval crap
When our folk songs were being made women were the legal property of their husbands or fathers (not their mothers), they had no right to inherit, they couldn't vote and it was regular practice to sell them to an aspiring husband in order benefit the interests of their families.
Sex on demand by the husband was a legal right and rape within marriage was permitted by law into the 1990s
Violence towards was wives was common and was written off as "a domestic" by police up to the 1990s when the feminist magazine 'Spare Rib' made inroads into bringing about change
Violence against girls and women is still a major problem in Britain and is on the rise
One of the great values of our folk songs is that many of them reflect the position of women in society perfectly   
What planet do you live on Ake
Back to your man-shed I think Ake
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: Jackaroodave
Date: 03 Feb 18 - 12:18 PM

Morris-ey: "You prove my point yet again; that you can't recognise it is a matter for you."

I'm delighted to find we agree, and I apologize for misunderstanding you.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Feb 18 - 12:23 PM

Whic do toy prefer Ake
THIS
OR MAYBE THIS ?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 03 Feb 18 - 12:26 PM

Some of the people here seem slightly confused, my point really concerned the lack of celebration of women in our music
To almost all women that I know, their role in giving birth and nurturing a family are their proudest achievement


Many of the women I know (even if I were to exclude several who are lesbian or willingly childless) would disagree with that, and some would take great exception to it.

On the other hand - as I tried to point out before - there are many songs celebrating women's bravery, defiance, intelligence, etc. Three out of the first four Child Ballads, for a start. Also Tam Lin, False Foodrage, Eppie Morrie, William Taylor, Jackie Munro, Maid on the Shore, Female Highwayman, Female Drummer, Female Captain, Lovely Joan, etc etc.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Feb 18 - 12:37 PM

sing the songs and enjoy singing, to [parody an awful cliche] sing it say it sorted


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Feb 18 - 01:02 PM

Well I happen to think that a woman"s role in the continuation and protection of the human species is of the utmost importance and deserves to be celebrated in our music.
Of course a very few women can be engineers or highwaymen, but the vast majority are quietly bringing up their families, providing love and protection to their children and endeavouring against all odds to bring them up as decent human beings.
That is womans prime purpose in life and without that purpose humanity would surely die......certainly worth celebrating in my opinion and more praiseworthy than any highwayman.....or engineer.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 03 Feb 18 - 01:07 PM

A wonderfully sexist trad song!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Feb 18 - 01:11 PM

"trad songs should be listened to, enjoyed and not be subject to pontification. They are what they are."
Who says you can't enjoy something and discuss it - even think about it in an unguarded moment!!
Songs are like books - they have many functions - once you start dictating to others what those functions might you begin to hear the pitter-patter of tiny jackboots
I was beginning to think all the Folk Police were on their hols!
Hope they repeat The Handmaiden's Tale - I missed it first time around
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 03 Feb 18 - 01:21 PM

To almost all women that I know, their role in giving birth and nurturing a family are their proudest achievement

You have such low expectations of women. Of course we're proud of our children, but that is one portion of a woman's life. We're multi-taskers. The example I set for my children was to get an advanced degree, to work hard, to do artistic, creative, socially relevant things - which is only possible if I was out there doing all of those things for them to see. They learned to cook for themselves, but they also learned to think for themselves. Those were great links, Jim, but so was Bonzo's last link. Do you think we don't understand history, Ake? Bowdlerizing lyrics seems to me to be the act taken from a conservative stance. Liberals understand about teachable moments. My liberal folklorist folksinging father wouldn't think of changing the lyrics, but he made sure to explain what the song was about. There's nothing like the story of a maiden forced to marry a lord she doesn't love who turns herself into a tree to teach a present-day young woman that resistance is always important and that today we're better than that father.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 03 Feb 18 - 06:05 PM

I think the problem is that we don't live in vacuum. We bring the prejudices of our own age to bear on the subject.

its always unwittingly, but its always the way.

take what you can from the past, or what appeals from techniques but NEVER make the arrogant mistake of thinking your understanding of a situation that prompted the song is superior to that of the creator.

there are so many instances of this. that anyone who has been around folksong for any length of time should understand this surely.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: GUEST,Some bloke
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 03:00 AM

Some can be sexist, some can be pure misogynist, some homophobic, some racist etc etc.

Many sing the songs as looking back in history and see the songs as visiting a museum. Thats far cry from singing a present day opinion, although some creatures may do so.

I wrote a song about a gay laddie from Scotland who fled to London to escape his bigoted father. His mental health suffered, eventually went back and is unhappily living a lie in order to please his father.

I wonder what future generations of singers would think of our society if the Youtube etc versions are still around in 200 years time and a "collector" stumbles upon the plight of young Bruce?

I'm sure there are millions of better examples of songs from today that present a society that still has a long way to go, but you get my point I hope.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 04:03 AM

"I wonder what future generations of singers would think of our society"
If people are still approaching songwriting the way you do, at least they will have been given the opportunity to look at how we are living - providing Donald Duck in the White House doesn't get us all blown up or kill us off fith global warming
Write on Bloke
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: BobL
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 04:10 AM

"their role in giving birth [...] is rarely even noted in passing in traditional music"

Could this be because there was no point in writing songs about it? It was, and is, part of everyday life - immensely important but not actually newsworthy, not a thing to memorialise. All the recognition necessary will be found wherever there is a happy family.

I've always been curious that another subject almost absent from traditional songs is success in business or politics. Plenty about unjust laws and downtrodden labourers, occasional mention of returning with gold in great store, just one (Byker Hill) about a worker doing well from his job. Perhaps successful businessmen & politicians didn't need to write songs - they just carried on doing what they were good at.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: GUEST,akenaton
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 04:41 AM

An interesting point Bob, but leaders of political factions often figured in traditional song. The Diggers in the "World turned upside Down", Spanish Civil War Songs etc. The leaders of the struggle for Irish Independence going back three centuries?
I appreciate that contribution Al one of the most thoughtful on the thread.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 05:03 AM

The point Acme is not whither women are "proud of their children", but whether society and the traditional music genre in particular appreciates women's prime purpose in society from the beginning of human life on Earth. The survival of the species.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 05:09 AM

"women's prime purpose in society from the beginning of human life on Earth. The survival of the species."
Jay-sus
Jurassic ark rides again
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: Johnny J
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 05:41 AM

I think you have to try and distinguish between a *Living* Tradition as opposed to a merely *historical* tradition.

Many of these songs are of their time and reflect the attitudes them while others are as equally relevant today as are newer songs which are composed in the traditional idiom.

I don't have any objection to people singing songs which have an outdated or even offensive content as long as it is made clear by the performer(s) that the song represents a snap shot in time and is not a blue print for the future and doesn't represent current. Also, it can be good to be challenged and also to realise how mmuch things have improved (if that's your view) since then.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: TheSnail
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 05:41 AM

Kinder, K?che, Kirche


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: TheSnail
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 05:43 AM

Mudcat doesn't do umlauts.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 06:37 AM

yes it would be nice if we picked our primary purpose... i suppose economics dictated my primary role.luckily the continuation of the species wasn't left to me.
just as well, i would have been shit at being a parent. taught the kid to swear, smoke, eat and drink too much.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 06:43 AM

There are plenty of women's songs in the tradition, as well as plenty more in which the woman plays a key role. If there aren't many about childbirth or raising children maybe that's because women chose not to sing about them. Or are we to suppose that only men made folk songs?


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: GUEST,akenaton
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 07:18 AM

I'm sorry Snail, but I honestly don't understand your comments?
John...I understand your point about time and place, but even "modern" contemporary folk music tends to ignore the natural role of women in society....as if it is something to be ashamed of or some kind of abusive behaviour instigated by men.....see most of Jim's trolling posts above?


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 07:40 AM

the point is Ake - one of the many pluses in society in the relatively more affluent and more educated society in which we find ourselves - existentially we are free.

we don't have to accept our 'natural' role. and that goes for women, men and all points in between.

but who knows, for all we know that could just be the received wisdom of our age. that is my point.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 07:53 AM

Avery good point too Al, unfortunately we cant really discuss the alternatives in this section.
My point relates more to the music.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 08:04 AM

"The Jute Mill Song", is of course a song about women and alludes to the struggle some women had to feed and care for their children in a time when poverty was common to both sexes.
It is a powerful song but more a comment on poor working conditions which also were common to both sexes at that time.
Perhaps the Jute worker had been widowed and left to bring up her children alone? Dundee was a great fishing port and life expectancy amongst fishermen was low...accidents were common.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: GUEST,akenaton
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 08:06 AM

Dammit!!   both of the above guest posts were from me.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 11:00 AM

The Snail wrote -
"Mudcat doesn't do umlauts."


Bryan makes a very good point. Why does Mudcat not allow to enter the likes of :-

Ä Ö ?


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 11:36 AM

appreciates women's prime purpose in society from the beginning of human life on Earth

You're digging that hole deeper and deeper. You wouldn't tell men that their primary purpose from the beginning of human life is to provide sperm, would you?

Linda Arnold sings about pregnancy and childbirth. From Folkways. Not historic, but it made it to the Smithsonian.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 12:58 PM

Hi Acme
Perhaps you could tell us what purpose is more primary.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: michaelr
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 01:17 PM

The primary purpose of DNA is to replicate itself by any means possible. Anything beyond that is fiction, a thin veneer we choose to call civilization.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 03:44 PM

Stop being suckers, good people. Stop posting to this benighted thread, I suggest.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 04:51 PM

If you're amoebas in a puddle of water you don't have much else to do. Since it isn't necessary that every creature reproduce, and with higher beings there are so many options in how you spend your time, I shouldn't have to answer such an asinine question. It takes a village guys. It takes a village.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 04:56 PM

The question still stands, asinine or not!


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: Jackaroodave
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 05:08 PM

"Perhaps you could tell us what purpose is more primary?

Well, to be pedantic, no one could, because "primary" is absolute, without greater or lesser degrees, as the word says, itself.

If one asks, "What is the primary purpose [in life]?" I suppose answers vary greatly from person to person and even from time to time. A vasectomy isn't a lobotomy.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: gillymor
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 05:24 PM

What's all this got to do with music? The originator of this thread is trying to use this section to rant and rave against "liberal elites" because he's been denied access to the actual B.S. section. Let's keep this section clean. That's me out.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 05:58 PM

Spot on. Boycott the bloody thing.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 06:11 PM

Thread Killers?


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: Gallus Moll
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 06:40 PM

The Death of Queen Jane is about a woman in childbirth-----


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: GUEST,akenaton
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 06:44 PM

So THATS what you were typing in the chippy Gallus! :0)


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 05 Feb 18 - 12:35 AM

Birth (of the blues, mind you).


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 05 Feb 18 - 07:09 AM

"I don't have any objection to people singing songs which have an outdated or even offensive content as long as it is made clear by the performer(s) that the song represents a snap shot in time and is not a blue print for the future and doesn't represent current."

How bloody sanctimoneous can a man or woman get??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 05 Feb 18 - 07:39 AM

Great lines from a trad country song!!!

I'd rather live a life of lies and fantasy
Than face the truth and realize you're leaving me
You built me up so high my heart can't stand the fall
And life without you love just isn't life at all
So walk out backwards if you must go
And please don't wave goodbye just wave one last hello
The truth won't hurt so much if I can't just pretend
So walk out backwards and I'll think you're walking in


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: Jim McLean
Date: 05 Feb 18 - 02:20 PM

That last posting reminded me of when I was working in Mull on the new pier at Craigenure, 1961 or so. On Saturday nights my Danish friend and I went to the local ceilidh which had a big policeman at the door, watching for drunks. Ole, my Danish friend was very drunk so one of the locals gave this advice, "Chust walk in backwards and he'll think you're coming out".


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: John P
Date: 05 Feb 18 - 02:34 PM

When introducing sexist, racist or violent songs, we'll often say something like, "The sentiments of this song in no way reflect the views of this music group." Further explanation depends on whether or not the audience is interested in the history of folk song.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 05 Feb 18 - 02:51 PM

Normal was as normal did.

So you're thinking the songs were "traditional" when they were brand new way back when?

Reminds me of the preacher who picked up a snake to beat a dead stick with.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Trad music' sexist?
From: meself
Date: 05 Feb 18 - 03:06 PM

Are you sure it wasn't a dead horse?


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