Pin It
Favorite

True Grit 

The bubbling blondes of country could learn a lesson from the Coal Miner’s Daughter

click to enlarge Loretta Lynn, at 77, still performs her signature country tunes.
  • Loretta Lynn, at 77, still performs her signature country tunes.

Loretta Lynn is due for a fist fight. The original coal miner’s daughter and Grand Ole Opry’s bouffant brunette has more class in the chintzy tassels and sequins that dangle from her bosom than the string of bleached blondes — Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift — that have followed in her footsteps.

Female country singers of today have somehow managed to make songs about female empowerment, independence and sexuality feel trashy and contrived. Like Underwood’s “Cowboy Casanova,” “Last Name” and “Before He Cheats,” or Lambert’s “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” “Time To Get a Gun” and “Kerosene.”

Perhaps these musicians are the hillbilly byproduct of third wave feminism — a movement that feels watered down and less poignant and political than the social movements before it.

Much like the suffragettes whose Victorian mothers fought sexual oppression before them, and much like the hippy feminists whose housewife mothers fought before them to find identity and a life outside the home — female country musicians could learn a thing or two from Loretta Lynn.

Lynn was born Loretta Webb, a coal miners daughter in Kentucky. She was the second of eight children who somehow survived the Great Depression and married at age 14. She was a mother of four by the time she moved to Custer, Wash., and was discovered on a televised talent contest in Tacoma. Unlike her predecessor and idol Patsy Cline and the Nashville sweethearts that crooned before her, Loretta Lynn embodied all that it meant to be a woman.

She endured the hardships of country living, she reared children, squabbled with mistresses and sang about the drudgery of changing diapers, wiping noses and pushing off groping, drunken husbands. In doing so, she rather eloquently battled gender oppression in a musical genre that values patriarchy above all the rest.

Sure, Loretta Lynn sang about hussies in her 1966 hit “You Ain’t Woman Enough,” and she sang about punching two-timers in her 1968 hit single “Fist City.” But she also sang about sexual double standards in her song “Rated X,” and about contraception in the song “The Pill” when the subject was still taboo.

Loretta Lynn proves that there is a certain grace, wisdom — a true grit — that comes from experience. And while women’s collective experience has changed in the years since Loretta Lynn topped the charts, oppression and misogyny are still ripe in today’s society. Maybe the bumbling blondes of country music today should take note. Words mean nothing if said without conviction. 

Loretta Lynn • Sat, Oct. 27, at 7:30 pm • Northern Quest Resort and Casino • Sold out • northernquest.com • 242-7000

Tags:

  • Pin It

Latest in Music

  • Play On
  • Play On

    Years after they were crafted, vintage and antique instruments still have their place in Spokane
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • The Wild Bunch
  • The Wild Bunch

    Brooklyn's Guerilla Toss comes to the West Coast for the first time
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • Feminist First
  • Feminist First

    Through her music, Dolly Parton has always shown women how to stay strong
    • Sep 15, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun
Kongos, the Joy Formidable

Kongos, the Joy Formidable @ Knitting Factory

Tue., Sept. 27, 8:30 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Jordy Byrd

  • Halloween City
  • Halloween City

    Marijuana-inspired costumes for stoners
    • Oct 22, 2015
  • Farm to Pipe
  • Farm to Pipe

    Locals Canna House opens in Spokane Valley
    • Oct 1, 2015
  • Social High
  • Social High

    A Spokane company launches a new cannabis-focused social media platform
    • Sep 24, 2015
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Feminist First

    Through her music, Dolly Parton has always shown women how to stay strong
    • Sep 15, 2016
  • Art of the Deal

    Local indie labels offer artists another marketing option, but not everyone is convinced they're necessary
    • Sep 1, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
Music & Film

COUNTRY


Readers also liked…

  • No Stopping Him
  • No Stopping Him

    Graham Nash has written songs that moved a generation, and he's still creating
    • Jul 8, 2015
  • Don't Call it a Comeback
  • Don't Call it a Comeback

    Cathedral Pearls, poised with a new record, are ready to take this seriously again
    • Aug 5, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation