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Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?

Thomas the Rhymer 09 Dec 03 - 11:45 AM
John Hardly 09 Dec 03 - 11:54 AM
PoppaGator 09 Dec 03 - 11:58 AM
Ebbie 09 Dec 03 - 12:15 PM
SueB 09 Dec 03 - 12:26 PM
harpgirl 09 Dec 03 - 12:40 PM
GUEST,rich_and_dee 09 Dec 03 - 12:42 PM
Peg 09 Dec 03 - 12:51 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 09 Dec 03 - 12:52 PM
Malcolm Douglas 09 Dec 03 - 01:13 PM
Joe Offer 09 Dec 03 - 01:55 PM
GUEST,ttr 09 Dec 03 - 02:21 PM
open mike 09 Dec 03 - 02:49 PM
Peace 09 Dec 03 - 03:39 PM
Nerd 09 Dec 03 - 03:50 PM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Dec 03 - 04:36 PM
GUEST,Pete Peterson 09 Dec 03 - 04:37 PM
Uncle_DaveO 09 Dec 03 - 05:20 PM
Little Hawk 09 Dec 03 - 06:46 PM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Dec 03 - 06:55 PM
Grab 09 Dec 03 - 06:57 PM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Dec 03 - 07:06 PM
Murray MacLeod 09 Dec 03 - 07:52 PM
Peace 09 Dec 03 - 08:47 PM
Thomas the Rhymer 09 Dec 03 - 08:59 PM
The Fooles Troupe 09 Dec 03 - 09:55 PM
Thomas the Rhymer 09 Dec 03 - 10:13 PM
Ebbie 09 Dec 03 - 10:22 PM
GUEST 10 Dec 03 - 12:12 AM
Gurney 10 Dec 03 - 12:29 AM
Thomas the Rhymer 10 Dec 03 - 01:11 AM
LadyJean 10 Dec 03 - 01:31 AM
GUEST 10 Dec 03 - 01:48 AM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 10 Dec 03 - 01:50 AM
Thomas the Rhymer 10 Dec 03 - 01:53 AM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 10 Dec 03 - 01:55 AM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Dec 03 - 06:44 AM
Willie-O 10 Dec 03 - 09:06 AM
Uncle_DaveO 10 Dec 03 - 10:22 AM
Thomas the Rhymer 10 Dec 03 - 11:21 AM
Art Thieme 10 Dec 03 - 11:37 AM
Thomas the Rhymer 10 Dec 03 - 11:43 AM
Amos 10 Dec 03 - 11:45 AM
Thomas the Rhymer 10 Dec 03 - 02:02 PM
greg stephens 10 Dec 03 - 03:36 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Dec 03 - 04:29 PM
MAG 10 Dec 03 - 05:43 PM
Uke 10 Dec 03 - 06:47 PM
GUEST 10 Dec 03 - 06:50 PM
Thomas the Rhymer 10 Dec 03 - 07:21 PM
MAG 10 Dec 03 - 07:39 PM
Uke 10 Dec 03 - 08:06 PM
Thomas the Rhymer 10 Dec 03 - 08:28 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Dec 03 - 08:42 PM
Uke 10 Dec 03 - 08:57 PM
Thomas the Rhymer 10 Dec 03 - 09:24 PM
Gurney 11 Dec 03 - 05:13 AM
CapriUni 05 Aug 05 - 09:52 PM
Le Scaramouche 06 Aug 05 - 10:41 AM
GUEST,Nellie Clatt 06 Aug 05 - 10:48 AM
CapriUni 06 Aug 05 - 01:45 PM
Le Scaramouche 06 Aug 05 - 01:50 PM
Malcolm Douglas 06 Aug 05 - 03:03 PM
CapriUni 06 Aug 05 - 07:35 PM
Le Scaramouche 07 Aug 05 - 03:59 AM
CapriUni 07 Aug 05 - 04:29 PM
Le Scaramouche 07 Aug 05 - 04:35 PM
Richard Bridge 07 Aug 05 - 05:54 PM
michaelr 08 Aug 05 - 12:14 AM
Le Scaramouche 08 Aug 05 - 03:33 AM
Grab 08 Aug 05 - 09:42 AM
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Subject: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 09 Dec 03 - 11:45 AM

Because it acts as a form of justification... and consequently a convenient excuse for violence and macho behavior? And how does our need to evolve into social equality stand a chance with so much energy and time being put into adorning and preserving misogenystic lifestyles? Hmmmmm?

All the Best! ttr


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: John Hardly
Date: 09 Dec 03 - 11:54 AM

Maybe it's not always a case of misogyny. All good literature and music comes from conflict -- if the protagonist is male and love/lust/cohabitation is the theme, the antagonist is bound to be female. The hatred/vengeful feelings toward A woman don't necessarily translate to hatred OF women generally.

On the other hand, maybe it's just that we men are insecure about our inferiority.


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 09 Dec 03 - 11:58 AM

One might also ask why love of warfare is so prevalent in trad, or xenophobia/racism, or any such long-held human attitude that has only become outdated within the last century or so.

A subculture built around interest in the past, or (at least) in long-established and deep-rooted cultural expressions, is not going to reflect values that have only emerged in recent years, since the world has become so much smaller so quickly.

Our current ideas of feminism, universal brotherhood, etc., were unimaginable to our forebearers of just two or three generations ago, so we can hardly expect such enlightened values to be reflected in centuries-old ballads, etc.


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: Ebbie
Date: 09 Dec 03 - 12:15 PM

An overload of testosterone without corresponding active brain cells.

:)


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: SueB
Date: 09 Dec 03 - 12:26 PM

Is misogyny prevalent in trad? Can you give examples?


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: harpgirl
Date: 09 Dec 03 - 12:40 PM

I was going to post "The Ten Dollar Bill" from the DT as my answer to this query but I can't seem to find it!!!!

Thomas, I know you to be a sincere and caring man. What prompted this question, since it is bound to stir up controversy? love, harpgirl


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: GUEST,rich_and_dee
Date: 09 Dec 03 - 12:42 PM

Not sure I really understand the question.

Traditional songs reflect the entire spectrum of human experience. There are songs showing great care and tenderness towards one's beloved and there are songs about playing the cuckold.

There are also songs about Christ's love and there are songs about the farmer's daughter.

Where you have songs emerging from oral story-telling traditions I would surely expect to hear diverse stories being told.

Not many successful stories have a boy-meets-girl-and-everyone's-just-ducky-about-it theme. That's not drama. That's an NSync album.

If you're asking why is there bad behavior in the world, that's move that to a theology forum.


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: Peg
Date: 09 Dec 03 - 12:51 PM

well, this may be a reductionist view, but don't most traditional songs hearken back to "the good old days?" In other words, there is an historical setting and context to many of these stories, and, well, prior to the mid-20th century, women were viewed as second-class citizens...

That explains the presence of misogyny in the song texts. But not the way women performers/fans are treated in the community. I don't have any answers for that, except that it's a microcorsm of the rest   of our culture.


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 09 Dec 03 - 12:52 PM

Love of war outdated? Don't think so. The killing goes on.
The war between men and women? Covered over with PC behavior, but ever present.
Violence attracts interest- just look at the popular computer games and cinema.

About trad as a whole, I agree with Rich and Dee. It is all there.


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 09 Dec 03 - 01:13 PM

Popular song reflects the attitudes prevalent at the time it was made. A very simple answer; but then, I don't really see the point of asking the question. An equivalent question might be, "Why does Shakespeare use so many old-fashioned words?" The answers lie in the context of the material, to which the political and social attitudes that prevail today are irrelevant.

If, on the other hand, you were to ask why these things still appeal to us now, there would be some scope for useful discussion, perhaps; but even then I doubt if there would be much to say that hasn't already been quite well covered.


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Dec 03 - 01:55 PM

I think Peg and others have answered the first question well - misogyny is prevalent in traditional music because misogyny was a prevalent attitude in the "olden days." So was racism, and it's easy to find old songs that express racist and misogynist attitudes.

I suppose people sometimes sing songs with outdated attitudes because they're good songs - and I'm sure that many good songs will be lost because they include attitudes that are no longer acceptable. I suppose we sometimes sing songs with outdated attitudes out of a healthy naughtiness, and I suppose some some people cling to some such songs out of true hatefulness.

I sometimes like to sing Flowers on the Wall and remember the pleasures of smoking cigarettes, but I stay away from the misogynist songs and tiptoe around the racism in Stephen Foster's songs while trying to avoid Bowdlerism.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: GUEST,ttr
Date: 09 Dec 03 - 02:21 PM

Thanks harpgirl, and a fine bunch ye all are! This question is not meant to stir up controversy, though it might, but is representitve of a conflict I am having in my own little mind...

Simply stated, I have had it up to my eye teeth with negativity and war and violence and agression and the self exonerating connection between garbage in, and garbage out.

Thusly stated I would like to propose a self declared need for transcendence of the 'justification' for clinging to antiquated forms of lousy interrelationships... and I'm wondering out loud if our consistant focus upon bad behavior and drama isn't at least partially responsible... especially when you consider how far we've come...

End of Rant... ttr


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: open mike
Date: 09 Dec 03 - 02:49 PM

i often sing an old song
that i got off of a 78 at
the family home stead--
Nickety Nackity-
i love the rhythm of the
chorus but not so much the
contect of the lyrics.

I would like to learn the
song Equinoxial, which
would be a great counter
part balance as in it the
woman goes aout and plows
the field and does the man's
work successfully, but he has
a heck of a time trying to do
her chores...ends up with the
cow on the roof, and a bunch
of mishaps. Equinoctial and Phoebe

there is a SLIGHT chance that is
reversing the pendullum and still
including slurs against the opposite
sex, but it does add some balance.
One version I recall had him tie
the cow to his leg and somehow the
cow falls off the roof and he is
hanging by his leg with the tether
rop leading up the chimney or some
nonesense like that when she gets home.

what is the opposite of misogyny?
not good i guess to react with more
vengefullness...the cycle continues..
i still want to learn that song.


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: Peace
Date: 09 Dec 03 - 03:39 PM

History repeats itself because historians repeat each other! (Don't know who said it.)


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: Nerd
Date: 09 Dec 03 - 03:50 PM

TTR, thinking the same question about proverbs, which often have misogyny but seldom negativity about the male gender, I realized that proverbs spoken by and for Men were much more likely to survive through being written down and/or printed than proverbs spoken by and for women. We may have the same thing going on with trad. songs; there may have been more songs with women's perspectives which simply did not survive because many more of the primary mediators of the culture (folklore collectors, scribes, printers, etc)were male.


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Dec 03 - 04:36 PM

"what is the opposite of misogyny? "Misandry" - and though you don't hear the word that often, there are plenty of songs that exhibit it.And good songs too. For example .

Traditionally women and men until recent generations tended to have separate cultures in many ways, and often largely separate song traditions. That is reflected in the songs.

Whether the revival folk world is more sexist or less sexist than the world around it I'm not sure. I'd suspect the latter currently, in England anyway. And that is reflected in the fact that in my experience people feel at ease singing and listening to good songs which are either misogynist or misandrist. Airbrushing that kind of stuff from the past is no way to deal with it.


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: GUEST,Pete Peterson
Date: 09 Dec 03 - 04:37 PM

Open Mike, you aren't the first to pair Risselty-Rosselty and Equinoxial. . . Pete Seeger did this over 50 years ago on a long-cherished Folkways record. GOod idea, though.

can remember the night before two (musician) friends got married (still together, approaching 9 years now) singing all the songs I know that were misognyist; had only two that warned women to beware (Blind Alfred Reed's Beware O Take Care) and Equinoxial. . .


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 09 Dec 03 - 05:20 PM

Courtesy of Open Mike and McGrath:

"what is the opposite of misogyny? "Misandry"

The "other opposite" is philogyny, to which I plead guilty.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 09 Dec 03 - 06:46 PM

Anything that stirs deep emotional feeling in people (and romance certainly does that) will result in songs about the times when those emotions go hostile, won't it? There have always been such songs and probably always will be.

Add to this another factor: There was a sort of romantic fantasy concept woven into European culture about tragic love affairs that ended in violence or death. It was considered VERY dramatic and romantic. Hence, people wrote scads of such songs, appealing to their own sense of drama and that of their audiences, and fitting the mood of the times. Clearly, their audiences liked those songs, and I suspect that both males and females liked them, generally speaking.

The Japanese were even more inclined to romantic (and other) tragedies, ending in the miserable or heroic death of all key characters.

Love and Death remain very moving themes, great for stories, as Woody Allen pointed out in one of his movie titles.

To simply view this through the prejudices of a present day political stance is a bit lunkheaded, in my opinion.

Men get upset with women because they care deeply about them. Ditto for the other way around. It's a case of the greatest expectations running headlong into the vagaries of unpredictable fortune, getting angry or sad about it, and writing a song.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Dec 03 - 06:55 PM

You're right there Uncle Dave. Both in the word and the sentiment.

However I think that the word I supplied was probably what the questioner was looking for - not really an opposite, but an equivalent for the opposite sex..


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: Grab
Date: 09 Dec 03 - 06:57 PM

Pete, you missed the obvious "Don't get married girls".

Thomas, is the question about the themes of songs, or about the people playing those songs today?

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Dec 03 - 07:06 PM

But though "Don't get married girls" is a marvellous song (and the Dubliners did the best version I've ever heard), it's hardly "trad".


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 09 Dec 03 - 07:52 PM

Thomas, I have observed your postings over many years, and I have come to the conclusion that you are either

A: an alien who has learnt English at a really cheap school, or
B: permanently stoned.

If I am correct in either of these observations then I wish you well.

If, however, neither of these conclusions are accurate, then will you please try to couch future postings in less convoluted, pretentious, and meaningless terms.

Thank you.


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: Peace
Date: 09 Dec 03 - 08:47 PM

Hey, Dave, why don't you like Phil?


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 09 Dec 03 - 08:59 PM

Thanks Murray! I've watched yours too, and I can't remember a thing... ;^) Pretentious? Naw, give me a break... Stoned? Not on your life... Cheap school for aliens? How about cheap shots from a closed mind, Murray...

Grab... Basic themes, Blues and Ballads...

Now don't get me wrong, I am not trying to spoil the party here, I'm just concerned about focusing so much on the past that the future is bound to be more of the same... Same old same old... which becomes a excuse for not trying a new tack and a more peaceful approach to evolving...

The women's movement changed everything around us, and face it guys... the old ways just don't work very well. This is why I ask 'silly' questions like the former... ttr


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 09 Dec 03 - 09:55 PM

Haven't you heard about the British women who carried their fishermen husbands out to their boats on their backs - and carried them back in again?

Oh terrible! How repressed those women must have been! What a big lot of misogynists those fishermen were!

But - there was a damn good reason, especially from the women's viewpoint. The weather was freezing - North Sea Winter style weather - and the men needed to fish to feed them all. Getting the man DRY into the boat was a damn good idea, as far as everybody was concerned - he would then stay alive in the driving freezing wind, instead of being frozen to death by the wind chill factor... and after being out several hours out in that weather fishing and rowing out and back (heavy work definitely), the wife considered that it was a damn good idea to get her exhausted man back home safely to go out again tomorrow - after all, she had been in the dry warm house for the last few hours and was relatively rested, and she only got cold and wet for a few minutes...

It's so easy to misunderstand motives through ignorance...

Robin


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 09 Dec 03 - 10:13 PM

Nice point Fooler! ...and plenty of ignoance I've got! But...


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: Ebbie
Date: 09 Dec 03 - 10:22 PM

McGrath, I wouldn't call 'Never Marry an Old Man' sexist (there warn't any!) but ageist. It expresses no hostility, as so many male pov songs do, just exasperation.


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 12:12 AM

Misogyny isn't particularly prevalent in traditional music, at least not in the oldest Anglo-Appalachian folk ballads. Looking through part I of FOLK SONGS FROM THE WEST VIRGINIA HILLS by Patrick Gainer (1975), I find that, of the fifty songs listed, only two seem truly misogynist (DANDOO, Child #277, and THE FARMER'S WIFE AND THE DEVIL, Child #278). I counted 27 ballads that have a clearly identifiable villian (or villians). In 11, the villian(s) were male. In 11, the villian(s) were female. In five, there were both males and females in the wrong.
The songs with male villians included THE DEVIL'S QUESTIONS (CHILD #1), THE SIX KING'S DAUGHTERS (#4), THE BRIDE'S MURDER (#11), THE FATHER'S MURDER (#13), FAIR FLOWERS IN THE VALLEY (#14), BOLAKIN (#93), THE BANKS OF YORROW (#214), THE HOUSE CARPENTER'S WIFE (#243), HENRY MARTIN (#250), GOLDEN WILLOW TREE(#286), and THE SOLDIER AND THE MAID(#299). There were male villians who wronged other males (GOLDEN WILLOW TREE)and males who wronged females (THE SOLDIER AND THE MAID). There were, similarly, females who wronged other females (THE SISTER'S MURDER, #10) and others who wronged men (JOHNNY RANDALL, #12). The heroine of THE SIX KING'S DAUGHTERS and the villianess of YOUNG HENEREE, #68, physically over-power and kill their male nemeses. For every BARBARA ALLEN, there's a LORD LOVEL.
The old singers didn't hate women. Half of them WERE women. The other half were sons of women, husbands of women, and fathers of women. There were undoubtly a few he-man woman-haters around, but they certainly didn't dominate the genre.


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: Gurney
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 12:29 AM

Are there that many? Are you confusing an expression of marital strife with misogyny? They aren't really the same thing, because divorcees usually remarry.
From where I stand: There are a few in the British Traditions, not many. That's TRADITIONAL tradition. And very few racial ones, excepting songs about current enemies, which I wouldn't count as racial.
What do YOU call trad? I'm not going there.
Folk songs were often collected in pubs, or from guys the collectors knew had sung them in pubs, which were once a male domain, so what do you think those guys sang about? Bluebirds? Flowers?

A better question might be: Why are sickly-sweet love songs so prevalent in Pop music? So that they sell to the ladies, possibly? Folksingers aren't (weren't) trying to sell their music.


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 01:11 AM

Excellent reply Guest 12:12! I'm going to need some time to reply... You have given me a formidable challenge, and I'll certainly rise to it! Thanks...

Gurney... Burns did just fine with flowers, birds, honor, love, and nature ttr


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: LadyJean
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 01:31 AM

I'm not sure whether you'd call "Maids When You're Young Never Wed an Old Man" or "My Husband's Got No Courage In Him" misogynistic, or not. I love to sing them. Then of course there's "I Wish I Was A Single Girl Again" and "Sorry The Day I Was Married". I like to sing that one at weddings.


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 01:48 AM

"Guest" is me, fairly new member Kent Davis, who apparently somehow tossed his cookie and is no longer recognized. Sorry for appearing incognito.


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 01:50 AM

hreloo, wahts a misoginist?


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 01:53 AM

OK... I'm blushing... I've overstated me query, and I have the flu to blame it on. Misogyny was a poor word to use and I'm sorry to have done so... I have issues with the 'less than progressive' trad outlook on women's roles (and consequentially men's too) in society. It is this histoical perspective that I was calling (and wrongly so) misogyny... and I was doing so because in my mind, it is misogynystic to categorically 'overlook' the freedoms and responsibilities that modern women (and men) face in this very different world we now live in. I am not a trad bashing pop star aspirant... :^)

OK then? Can we be friends? ttr


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 01:55 AM

eh?, waht you on aboot?
/wahts a mysongy?
mysongyny


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 06:44 AM

I'm a bit lost about the point Thomas is making. Is it that we ought to stop singing old songs, or that we ought to make a point of rewriting them in a way that cleans up the past? And is there an assumption that in all respects the way we are today is better than the way our predecessors were?

If there are people who use old songs about ways of treating each other that have changed for the better, and do so as a tool intended to change things back for the worse, obviously that's a bad thing. I haven't come across it, but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen. (Though I can't see it as very effective in any case.)

As for "An Old Man Came Courting", that's both sexist and ageist - the two don't rule each other out; but I wouldn't dream of objecting to it. If it was a song about an ugly old woman and a young husband, I probably would - there's an inconsistency there, but I think I could defend it.

On the other hand I wouldn't have any regard for anyone who objected on these kind of grounds to a song like Rocking the Cradle.


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: Willie-O
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 09:06 AM


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 10:22 AM

It appears from that last post that Willie-O has no idea.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 11:21 AM

MoG... Don't stop singing trad... I certainly am not stopping... I'm not really all that into rewrites, but I've heard a few good ones...

What I'm chewing on out loud here is apparently my own personal reaction... Though traditional music contains vast amounts of experiences that serve to teach, warn and guide us... I find it necessary to include songs of inspiration (cosmic rather than religious in my case) and songs of up to date (but not 'trendy') content... in my play list.

Methinks it's time for me to start writing again... Sorry for all the confusion... overlook my overreaction, ifyouplease...ttr


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 11:37 AM

As Lenny Bruce said in justifying the inclusion of sex education into the normal school curriculum, "Having a knowledge of syphilis is NOT an instruction for the students go go out and contract it !"

Another insight might be my own idea that a good story is simply that, a good story.

And as is my wont, humor always helps. My school district was so poor that we used the same car for Drivers' Ed. and Sex Education.

You might as well say we ought to take the fantasy out of Lord Of The Rings.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 11:43 AM

Well said, Art... and point joyfully taken! ;^)


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: Amos
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 11:45 AM

Great line, Art.

As for TTR's initial poser, I think it is a non-issue and a granfaloon.

A


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 02:02 PM

As is the conscious evolution of human society, eh, Amos? I'm not so sure... Seems we could lift our sights a bit don'tchathink? Why is this so hard to admit? Point is, where in trad do we find evolving new standards for relationships?

Wake up calls are seldom enjoyed... Good Morning!!!! ttr


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: greg stephens
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 03:36 PM

Go on, McGrath, lets hear you defend your inconsistency about the Old Man song.


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 04:29 PM

Basically it's to do with power - rich old men buying trophy wives have been around for centuries. They've been subject to a mixture of contempt and envy - but on the whole they are a sizeable and pretty powerful class. I don't think the likes of Ruper Murdoch need protecting.

The other way round is a lot less common, and from what I've seen a lot more complicated. Where I'm come across it, it's seemed to me that so far as power is concerned the boot tends to be on the other foot.


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: MAG
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 05:43 PM

Power is the real issue in male/female in the world issues, McGrath.

As far as love and war go, I am told the Buddha said all suffering is caused by lust, aggression, and ignorance. I doubt any of us are keen on stamping out lust but I could do wtih a world free of aggression and ignorance.

They're just really really basic questions, TTR and the best and brightest minds of human history haven't figured out how to do it.

And you can always read me your poetry, Thomas.

You have all heard my rants on rewriting traditional material when you do not improve on the original. You may know I tend to foam at the mouth about good-time girl songs like "Keep on Trucking Mama." The old Chicago Women's Liberation Rock Band did a parody on it which I adore. I would counter it with that song "Louise" which Bonnie Raitt sings. Muddy Waters' "Paying the cost to be the Boss" I counter with Koko Taylor's "Devil have a Field Day."

If you guys want something to counter "Never wed an old man," dig out the R&B tune from some 20 years ago called "Old men with young ideas." The colleagues who introduced me to it were in great praise of older men, saying the young think they slick and pull stuff, whereas the old ones know if they want you to stay home they got to stay home and keep you happy.

If we are being frank here, age is not a problem in that regard but mileage is. I was once madly in love with a guy who turned out to be alcoholic and I learnt the hard way what THAT does to your love life.

I want to knoww why aggression and violence against women seem to be hard wired together in our species. My reading indicates anger and indiscriminate violence against females is hardwired into primates, period. That's my biggest issue.

MA, stepping back off the soapbox ...


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: Uke
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 06:47 PM

From "The Folk Songs of North America", by Alan Lomax (Pg 169):

"... in American, the ballads have been women's songs, attached to the household and the fireside. The men, left to themselves, sang humourous or bawdy songs which satirized love or composed songs about work or deeds of violence. If the men sang the old ballads, this was in the presence of women and was a recognition of feminine interests... In my opinion the British folk songs most popular in the backwoods were... vehicles for fantasies, wishes and norms of behaviour which corresponded... to the emotional needs of pioneer women in America.

'The House Carpernter' [mentioned up above by Guest 12:12] ballad... represents the longings of pioneer women for love or for an escape from their log cabin life - both sinful wishes to the Calvinist. The ballad heroine has one moment of romantic splendour. Then she is harshly punished. No fantasy could have been better calculated to reinforce the Calvinist sexual morality of our ancestors. It counselled them to stick to what they had. Indeed, no women have ever been more long-suffering, or more hard-working helpmates, yet they did enjoy songs about women who rebelled, especially if the rebels were punished in the last stanza."

Sorry for the big quote, but I think it shows this question is more complicated than theories like 'hard-wired' instincts. What traditional songs have survived is a lot to do with their practical 'usefulness' in the Reality of Social Life.

Also, one of my interests in trad songs is their connection to this Reality, the insight this gives you into the past (like with 'The House Carpenter') - to my mind revising trad songs is like cultural vandalism, plus its ignoring what they may have to tell us below the surface.

My comment would be that labelling a song misogynist is an easy way to label it and dismiss it without looking any deeper into the matter.


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 06:50 PM

From the Greek - misogny = hatred of 'women'


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 07:21 PM

Actually,... "Misogyny". Cheers to you both, MAG and Uke!

It's not like I don't sing lots of trad ballads... and *some* people seem to enjoy them... I am not putting down Trad music in town... I guess I'm asking you think that a musical diet of Trad only can give us all the nutrition we need for a well ballenced approach to social evolution... whadyathink? ttr


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: MAG
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 07:39 PM

One last comment before I have to head    back to work: It's worth seeking out good songs to balance the ones I don't like rather than convincing people not to like the ones I don't.

There is a certain mind-set that doesn't like Stan Rogers, finding him sexist. To paraphrase Margaret Nelson: (yes Phil, that Margaret) If someone can come up with a line as poetic as

Is this the face that won for her the man

Whose amazed and trembling fingers placed that ring upon her hand

then OK.


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: Uke
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 08:06 PM

Thomas,

I wonder, listening to any style of music is about enriching your life in some way (even simple enjoyment), good for general happiness. Is Trad Folk socially regressive though? I reckon not more than any other style (think about the range of lyrics in rap music, from good to bad).

Because trad songs are often so seemingly distant from modern life, it makes you do a bit more thinking about the original context, espeically if you want to sing it truthfully. It often tells us things we don't want to know, can't easily grasp, about subjects that are 'difficult'. For me it's one cure for all the mass generalisations about the past.

And, surely, having to think about things from another point of view is the essence of 'socially progressive'? That there's many sides to every story.


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 08:28 PM

Absolutely Positively So! ...except that I'm not really OK with a judgement placed on two generas in comparison... Trad songs contain a massive wealth of information, morality, second and third hand experiences, rhymes, and reasons... Encyclopedia Balladica of daily life. I *love* to sing them...

But maybe there's just a scoshe to much of yesterdays ... ttr


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 08:42 PM

But there've been a whole lot of yesterdays, and there's never more than one today, and of course no tomorrows at all. One definition of tradition is democracy extended to include the past.


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: Uke
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 08:57 PM

Very nicely put McGrath.

I wonder how generous folk in 100 years will be in speculating as to our motives and 'prejudices' today.


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 09:24 PM

I couldn't agree with you more MoH... and... Tomorrow is worth striving for with sound historical perspective and a very open mind... ttr


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: Gurney
Date: 11 Dec 03 - 05:13 AM

Still can't understand why anyone should view traditional songs as any kind of template for living or social development.
They are history. Each is a cameo of a time and place and the thoughts of the songwriter. They are more educational than most 'official' history books because (the Rev. B-G and his like aside) they are unrevised, not politically corrected, and the winners didn't write them all. I prefer unrevised history to cloud cuckoo-land, don't you?

I'm also not sure that violence toward women is anything other than bullying someone weaker. I've never hit a woman in my life, but glib and persistant women have had me shaking with rage, to the point where I WOULD have fought a man, had I been suitably lubricated.
Some people can live alongside a powder-keg, others HAVE to light the fuse. I'm not saying all the battered females brought it on themselves, but that I don't understand how they can live in a tiger's cage.
Sorry about all the cliches.


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: CapriUni
Date: 05 Aug 05 - 09:52 PM

Like many who have posted to this thread, I am not certain that misogyny is more prevalent in trad than any other human sentiment. But I'll set that argument aside for the moment, and propose this idea instead:

Whether a song is mysogynist or not can depend a lot on who is singing it at the moment. I, for example, really like "The Devil and the Farmer's Wife" (Especailly the version found here (Recorded by Stekert, Songs of a New York Lumberjack, Child #278).

As a woman, I hear that song as a song of survival -- a woman who is bartered away by her husband fights back, and protects her family from the Devil's harrassment from that moment on (a 17th C. "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"). After all, having been "to Hell and back" is often seen as an admirable quality (at least, when speaking of traditional male roles, such as soldiering).

Granted, the "Folk Process" had been at work in my brain, and I had altered the lyrics slightly over the years without even realizing it, in ways that made the woman act more in self-defense than out of sheer spite. But I imagine I'm not alone in that, and I wouldn't be surprised if my foremothers had done the same while churning the butter or working the treadle on a spinning wheel...


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: Le Scaramouche
Date: 06 Aug 05 - 10:41 AM

I see the Devil and the Feathery Wife as a song of true love. Think about it.


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: GUEST,Nellie Clatt
Date: 06 Aug 05 - 10:48 AM

I first heard Martin Carthy sing this song at the Topic Folk Club in Bradford when it was at the Star in Westgate, he introduced it as ' a song about true love '


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: CapriUni
Date: 06 Aug 05 - 01:45 PM

I'm not as familiar with "The Feathery Wife" version of Child #278, so I will have a closer look.

So, is it true love between the wife and her husband, or the wife and the Devil? ;-)


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: Le Scaramouche
Date: 06 Aug 05 - 01:50 PM

Between the wife and the husband of course!
Wonder how many of you would roll naked in feathers and droppings to save your old husband from his own idiocy.


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 06 Aug 05 - 03:03 PM

'The De'il and the Feathery Wife' (so called in Peter Buchan's Secret Songs of Silence) is a very rare ballad and is no relation of any kind to 'The Devil and the Farmer's Wife'; though both have the words 'devil' and 'wife' in the title. It appeared on 18th century broadsides (three examples can be seen at Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads) as

The politick wife: or, The devil outwitted by a woman.


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: CapriUni
Date: 06 Aug 05 - 07:35 PM

Hmmm... yeah. There is no explicit mistake made by the old man in #278 -- except, of course, handing his wife over to the Devil in the first place. If she bops him a couple of times on the head when she returns, I don't think a jury of her peers would ever convict! ;-)


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: Le Scaramouche
Date: 07 Aug 05 - 03:59 AM

There are a few out and out nasty songs like the Man of Burningham Town. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if the ending was clever.


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: CapriUni
Date: 07 Aug 05 - 04:29 PM

I don't know The Man of Burningham Town, and based on your description, I don't think I want to. Lucky for me, however, I'm under no obligation to learn or sing every song out there.

Which, of course, brings us back to the opening question of this thread. Personally, I don't think misogyny is more prevalent in trad than any other human sentiment. When you have a genre that, by it's very nature, has contributors from every segment of human society, you'll get a body of songs as wide and varied as humans themselves.

I just refreshed this thread because I was surprised that the song I'd been singing as an anthem of women's strength didn't quite read that way in the "Official" version frozen in text.

The moral of this story (perhaps)? The singer gives at least as much meaning to a song as the lyrics or the melody.


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: Le Scaramouche
Date: 07 Aug 05 - 04:35 PM

Also known as the man of Burnham Town, it's one that Martin Carthy used to sing (Byker Hill and Selections has it) until he realised it was sheer nasty. I think it has a great melody and lyrics until the wife-beating.


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 07 Aug 05 - 05:54 PM

Oh !"£$%^&*()_+

History should not be conditioned by rectitude. Current conduct should.


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: michaelr
Date: 08 Aug 05 - 12:14 AM

Oh, so it's OK to "take your sword and pin her against the wall" (Matty Groves/Little Musgrave), but hitting her is non-PC? I think Martin Carthy missed the mark on that one.

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: Le Scaramouche
Date: 08 Aug 05 - 03:33 AM

The focus is different.
Burnham Town really leaves no room to doubt that (according to it)wife beating is a good thing which is why it's so horrid.


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Subject: RE: Why is misogyny so prevalent in trad?
From: Grab
Date: 08 Aug 05 - 09:42 AM

Oh, so it's OK to "take your sword and pin her against the wall"

No, but since said wife has seduced a young lad, she ain't exactly pure as the driven snow. Classic "getting what you deserve" song, even if it isn't ethically correct - there's more to it than your typical murder ballad, most of which are frankly no more than "snuff music" (to coin a phrase).

Seriously, what is the point of songs like "Pretty Polly", "Banks of the Ohio", "Bruton Town", "Weilla Wailla" (sp?), etc? Someone kills someone else for no apparent reason, and that's it. And from the songs I hear, there seem to be more of them on the misandry side (evil men) than on the misogyny side (evil women). Maybe this is bcos men are more usually the active parties in songs (due to a historical prevalence of male singers), but anyway. Personally I find both types equally distasteful.

And the whole question is pretty bloody daft, to be honest. It's like someone asking "Why are pro-IRA songs so prevalent in trad?" Well DUH! some IRA supporters write them, but you're not going to hear a single one sung by a Loyalist or a Brit. So they're only prevalent amongst bigoted people who like singing things like that.

Graham.


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