We Spleen: Women as “Tomatoes” in Country Music

Kitty_Wells_Queen_of_Country_Music_awardLast week in an interview for Country Aircheck Weekly, radio consultant Keith Hill, described as “the world’s leading authority on music scheduling,” offered up this spleen-worthy tidbit about the role of women in country music radio:

If you want to make ratings in country radio, take females out. The reason is … women like male artists. I’m basing that not only on music tests from over the years, but more than 300 client radio stations. … Trust me, I play great female records and we’ve got some right now, they’re just not the lettuce in our salad. The lettuce is Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton, Keith Urban and artists like that. The tomatoes of our salad are the females.

Hill’s comments, which are now not-so-affectionately referred to as #SaladGate on Twitter, have incited an outpouring of criticism from country music artists, fans and music experts alike. What music writers and artists can agree on is this: country music does not do enough to support women.

Country music artist Miranda Lambert—reigning title holder of both the Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association’s Female Vocalist of the Year awards—took a powerful stand against Hill in an outraged Facebook post saying, “This is the biggest bunch of BULLSHIT. I am gonna do everything in my power to support and promote female singer/songwriters in country music. Always.”

In the spirit of Lambert’s message of support, here is a refresher list of 10 badass and controversial feminist country hits by women who run country music—from the first woman to have a breakout country hit, Kitty Wells, to Gold-certified Maddie & Tae.


Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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Kat Kucera is a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill studying Women’s and Gender Studies and Comparative Literature. She is currently a Ms. editorial intern based in Los Angeles.