DEAN BRODY – PULLING FOR NON-STEREOTYPICAL GIRL

by Lori M.

For those of you who aren’t aware, Dean Brody is a country music artist. I’ve seen him in concert a couple of times, the most recent being this last month here at the Aitken Center (Fredericton, NB). You’re probably wondering what in the world this has to do with gender, sport and leisure. Well, his song “Canadian Girls” touches on all three of these topics. In this song, he drives at the idea that women from Canada are different – they’re not the stereotypical girls you might find in the rest of the world, and he sees this as a good thing. Obviously this is a big generalization and not every girl in Canada would find what he talks about in the song applicable to them, but I’d like to take a few minutes to break down what he’s saying, and even further, the messages that the music video for the song promote (I’ve provided the link below).

The first lyrics you hear are “she grew up watching hockey with her daddy on Saturday night, he taught her how to tie her skates, her brothers taught her how to fight”. One of the main things that Brody advocates for through this song, is the promotion of women’s hockey. During his concert, the last song he played was Canadian Girls, and he came out wearing a Hayley Wickenheiser Team Canada Jersey. He does this frequently at his shows, and can also be seen wearing it in the music video for the song. He has sung the National Anthem at women’s hockey events like the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship, and states “in our house, it doesn’t matter if it’s the men’s or women’s team, they’re both as equally as big of a deal to watch those games” (Lipscombe, 2013). He says that he drew much of his inspiration for this song from his wife and his daughter. His wife played hockey growing up, and Brody said he plans to buy a pair of skates for his daughter in the near future (Lipscombe, 2013).

In the video for Canadian Girls, although we do see a girl playing hockey, this isn’t the only positive message being sent. Throughout the duration of the video, the idea is that females can do and be whatever they want – they don’t need to fit into the frame that society sometimes tries to put them in. We see a girl snowboarding, fishing, and even a women in the military, paired with the lyric “she’d give her life for the red and white”. A wide range of careers women have chosen are displayed though real life examples in this video, including: an entrepreneur, mechanic, yoga instructor, recycling technician, engineer, chef, mom, various types of artists, photographer, part time athlete, acrobat, and a machinist. Some of these we might not see as all that “abnormal”, but some definitely challenge society to see women in a different light.

So what does all this mean? From my perspective as a women who sometimes likes to go against the grain, this song (as cheesy as it may sound) is an encouragement to me and definitely one of my favorites. It reached number one on the CMT top 20 countdown (Lipscombe, 2013), so I’d say there are a few other women out there who appreciate it too. We’ve talked about women’s oppression and some of the challenges that we can be faced a lot in our class, and there is just something about these messages of encouragement being put out there to the public though a song from a male artist – I think it’s pretty significant.

 dean brody

References

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvuHQkwMRmo&feature=kp

Lipscombe, K. (2013, 03 31). O canada!: Dean brody . Retrieved from http://www.hockeycanada.ca/en-ca/news/country-musician-dean-brody-to-kick-off-womens-worlds

 

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8 responses

  1. Great post Lori! I bet a significant number of women in Canada (country music lovers or not) have that song on their playlists. It is refreshing to see an artist like Dean Brody portray women in a positive light. There are some many artists today that totally degrade women and funny enough, you see these women dancing to those songs on the dance floor. Men dance (or try to) to these songs as well but for the point of this post, I am focusing on women.

    I cannot think of any off the top of my head but I am sure there are a few other songs that following the same positive message as Brody’s. It makes me think that more artists would follow his lead giving the positive media attention that comes from songs similar to this. However, for the degrading artists that have women dancing, purchasing their music, and watching it on YouTube, why would they change? If we as a society stopped purchasing garbage music, these artists would start humming a different tune pretty quick.

    Just my $.02. Thanks again Lori.

  2. I would have to agree with Jason and Lori. I very much think that it depends on the type of music as well. There are a majority of country songs that speak very highly of women, such is the case in Lonestar’s Mr. Mom. The song attests to how hard it is to be a mother and raise kids. The song starts out with what the father thinks will be a vacation after he loses his job but meets the harsh reality that raising 3 kids is more than he can handle.

    On the other side of the coin, you have rap music and pop music that simply objectifies women and has them almost naked on screen and today’s kids think thats “good” music. Today’s hit songs or most viewed on YouTube are the ones where the singers (Women pop singers) or the dancers are wearing essentially nothing. We should definitely reconsider what songs we listen to as well as the message it gives. It’s good to see that country music is definitely becoming more and more popular.

  3. I am a huge fan of Dean Brody and this blog post. I also attended the concert at the Aitken Centre and thoroughly enjoy it!
    I definitely think that this song makes a statement. I believe the statement is especially powerful since it is coming from a popular artist who is male. This shows that there are men in the public eye and who are influential who value women and want to promote equality. This is a comforting thought, and I see this as a step in the right direction. I also enjoy that Brody proudly wears Hayley Wickenheiser’s hockey jersey without thinking that this jersey is lesser because it belongs to a woman.
    I particularly enjoy the song and Brody’s view of Canadian women because I find I can relate to some of his lyrics like “she grew up watching hockey” and “she can wear high heels or flannel.” This makes me feel proud of my country and comfortable in my womanhood. Go Dean Brody!

  4. Great post Lori!
    This is also one of my favorite songs as it describes women who don’t necessarily fit the stereotypes society has placed on women. I can personally relate to the lyrics, as I also like to go against the grain when it comes to stereotypes. The women portrayed in the video are in a mix of occupations, ranging from mechanics to yoga instructors, and everything in between. This represents all types of women and sends a message that doesn’t confine women into certain “stereotypical” occupations. I agree with you when you say that this song represents a significant message, to both women and men. It is important to get the message across to women in our society who are bombarded with the pop and rap music that typically oppress women. So often today, women believe the images and words most pop and rap music represents. I also think that men apply these messages. If you were to go to a bar on a Friday night, it is evident that both men and women follow the messages portrayed in pop and rap music.
    This song is saying something different, and I find that with lot of country music, artists are making an effort to portray women in a better way. Music has a lot of power and it is crucial to changing the perspectives of people in society.

    -Hannah

  5. I’m impressed with Dean Brody the artist, who took time to write lyrics that deals with gender, sport, and leisure. He appears to applaud Canadian girls for having the courage to be themselves; to make different choices; and to not conform to societies expectations. We have talked about oppression in class and how women are expected to make certain choices. They have always had pressure from family and community. It’s refreshing to see more Canadian women make non-traditional choices. The artist gave generously to women and sport by using media; watching hockey with his daughter (leisure); wearing clothing that portrayed women’s’ hockey team uniform. As I think of females such as Amelia Earhart, who over the years challenged the rules. Too often we see females showing skin, dressing provocatively etc. to promote sales of cars, furniture and other items as well as promoting themselves as athletes. Lori, you have found in this song the strengths that encourage females to find their way.

    – Ashley O.

  6. Lori such a great post. I’m not a big country music fan and hadn’t hear this song up till now it is a great example as to the direction that society should be going in. women are often subjected to the gender stereotypical role laid out by society, not only in the workplace but at home and in sports as well, it’s great that this song touches on all of these areas. The direction that the some and video are going will help with some of the constants placed on women in our society and hopefully provide more opportunities for women to get involved. It will also hopefully change the perception of women being delicate, gentile and unable to do many activities and jobs in society. I am glad that you brought this song to my attention its good to know we are continuing to make progress in this area in our society.

    Julie. M

  7. Great Post Lori!

    The lyrics in the song are great! It paints women in such a positive light! Telling them that they can do and be whatever they want, and that they do not need to stick to the stereotypical gender norms. Most of the music on the top 100 these days have lyrics that are very derogatory towards women, it is great to see a song that uplifts women.
    This song is such a step in the right direction. Young girls listening to music with this type of message, I believe will change so much in our society. It gives these young girls the feeling of empowerment and motivates them to follow their dreams. I completely agree that in the video when you see the women fishing, or snowboarding this really speaks loudly to young girls. It tells them that doing “manly” activities is completely acceptable. These are the messages that young children should be receiving from the media, not messages about getting drunk in a club.

    Emily McKim

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