Criticizing Keith Urban’s “Female” is Only Contributing to the Problem He’s Trying to Address

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As a woman and a country music aficionado, I feel like it’s the perfect time to address the criticism Keith Urban is getting for his new single, “Female.” The song is only a few days old and it already feels like I’ve heard and read it all.

First, it’s 2017. If you would have told me that 15 years ago we would still be having conversations about respecting women and treating women and humans and not objects I would have laughed at you. Now, imagine how women older than me feel. How is this even still a narrative?

The problem isn’t that Urban is singing a song about this, the problem is that it took this long for it to happen. On top of the fact that it shouldn’t even be necessary, but clearly it is.


In 2013 I went to a Beyonce concert with my best friend. As she sang, “Who Run The World (Girls),” I remember looking at my friend and saying, “it’s going to be really entertaining to watch Hillary Clinton announce she’s running for president to this song in 2016.”

When Urban sings, “When you hear a song that they play saying you run the world/ Do you believe it?/ Will you live to see it?,” he’s singing to me. I believe it and I don’t know that we’ll live to see it. Why? Because it’s 2017 and a new sexual assault or harassment suit comes out against a new powerful male about every 45 minutes.

Maybe instead of unleashing criticism on the one guy using his platform to say he supports and values women, we should direct criticism to the creeps who don’t?

As a female, and Lord help us if this becomes a hashtag campaign on social media, I feel like a man has to be the one to say these things. I’ve been watching women fight for me my whole life and it’s not really working.

Is “Female” a perfect song? No. No way, but is the sentiment there? Yes. Is Urban just about the only man in Nashville who could sing this? Yes.

During a recent episode of his show, Stephen Colbert took his criticism to the extreme by lampooning the chorus of the song. Admittedly, I don’t relate to some of the words mentioned, like– broken halo or fortune teller and I’ve never described another woman that way, but I don’t feel victimized by it.

Colbert decided to rewrite the chorus. In this case, criticizing the song and humiliating the songwriters on national TV doesn’t feel like a message in support of women. This is a good example of a time when maybe it’d be easier to just not say anything versus totally making fun of it.

If this isn’t an A+ effort from Urban maybe it’ll at least inspire other men to use their platform to create one? Or, maybe, nothing is ever really going to change and we’re all going to hate everything forever and be offended by everything.

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