CMT Turns Country’s Year of the Woman Into a Year of Sexism
Back in June, NPR’s Ann Powers declared 2013 to be the Year of the Woman, pointing to the runaway success of Miranda Lambert and Kacey Musgraves, among others. Yet last night, CMT apparently forgot female country artists walked the earth, bestowing its annual “Artists of the Year” accolades on six men: Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Hunter Hayes, Tim McGraw and the duo Florida Georgia Line.
How fitting, then, that the powerhouse cable network had faux-chauvinist Ron Burgundy and his Anchorman news team introduce each recipient in pre-taped segments. To his credit, mucho macho comedian Ron White, who hosted the proceedings while drinking hard booze and smoking a cigar, tackled the perplexing estrogen deficiency head-on, wondering aloud why the network “couldn’t get one woman,” and comparing the backstage sausage fest to a Jimmy Dean factory.
In assessing the qualifications of the sextet of honorees, FGL’s selection was much-deserved. But Aldean and Bryan both received the same award in 2012, thus making their inclusion in this year’s crop redundant. And while McGraw’s career bona fides are unassailable, his most recent album, Two Lanes of Freedom, was largely embarrassing. For his part, Hayes can sing and plays a mean guitar. But he’s Nashville’s equivalent of all three Jonas Brothers squashed into one; that he pals around with Jason Mraz and chose to perform a mashup of his own “I Want Crazy” and Train’s “Soul Sister” (Train is basically the NIckelback of ACR) last night should basically disqualify him from being mentioned as a country musician.
But even if all six gentlemen were immensely qualified, there’s simply no excuse for not recognizing the yearlong achievements of Musgraves, at the very least, if not Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood and Lambert too. In 2012, when Lambert and Underwood were honored, CMT handed out seven trophies; it’s not like there’s a cap on how many artists the network can fete. Musgraves’ major-label debut, Same Trailer, Different Park,is a shoo-in to make a multitude of year’s-best lists, regardless of genre, and represents the rare mainstream Nashville release that achieves commercial success while simultaneously beckoning hipster critics to bow down. She did more to legitimize CMT-friendly fare than any artist in recent memory. That she was not among those honored last night is nothing short of a sexist travesty, and the network should be ashamed of the oversight.