Australian female Country music artists
Australia's great women of country
Beccy Cole and Melinda Schneider perform the classic Dolly Parton song 9 to 5 from their album Great Women Of Country and the songs that made them.PT2M39S 620 349
There's an old joke about country music along these lines: what do you get when you play country music backwards? You get back your wife, dog and your truck.
Sure it's just a joke, but it neatly sums up the public view of country music: tales of everyday woe, written by men for men, with women in cameo roles at best, possessions at worst.
But are those stereotypes badly past their use-by dates?
Kasey Chambers has been a "beacon" for Australian country music. Photo: Nick Moir
Things haven't changed much in the home of country music, the United States, according to American superstar Kenny Chesney. In November Chesney told Billboard: "Over the last several years, it seems like anytime anybody sings about a woman, she's in cutoff jeans, drinking and on a tailgate – they objectify the hell out of them."
Australian country music though, has taken a different course in the past two decades according to some of its most prominent women. If anything, it's the most female friendly area of popular music in Australia.
At the ARIA Awards in November, the country music category (won for the 11th time by Kasey Chambers) was the only mixed category in which female nominees outnumbered men. The percentage of female nominees at the ARIAs was also lower than this month's Country Music Australia Awards ceremony (aka the 'Golden Guitars'), in Tamworth – 23 per cent v 31 per cent.
Beccy Cole wished she had come out as gay sooner, given the supportive reaction from country music fans.
Statistics tell only part of the story though. There are as many women in pop, for instance, but in pop they perform in music videos and live much more frequently in revealing outfits, or let's face it, their undies.
With the exception of the Sia – a genuine one-off for how she promotes her music – many Australian female pop artists' music is sold using blatant sex appeal. Think Iggy Azalea's Booty video with Jennifer Lopez and well, pretty well every music video Havana Brown makes. Even the comparatively wholesome Jessica Mauboy's latest single, Can I Get a Moment, begins with a heavily-made up Mauboy laughing off a request for her phone number as she sings " Too hot to touch, I'm burning up..."