Who else will give a hard pass to Keith Urban’s new song ‘Female’?

51st CMA Awards Arrivals

My first encounter with Keith Urban’s new song, “Female,” was through some hilarious tweets. Apparently, Urban has been reading about the Harvey Weinstein saga and he decided to write a song especially for women and how strong and powerful we are. This was one tweet going around:

Yeah. Women to Keith Urban: thanks for trying, but we’ll pass. Here’s the actual song:

I could literally only get about 20 seconds into it before the slow-country-jazziness of it all made me want to vom. Don’t get me wrong: we absolutely need male allies. We need men to stand beside us. I’m not saying Keith Urban is a terrible person or a misogynist or anything. I’m just saying that for this song in particular, it’s a giant NOPE. I also dislike that the song is called “Female” because go here to read why men referring to women as “females” is problematic. Urban spoke to Billboard about the rationale behind the song:

“As a husband and a father of two young girls, it affects me in a lot of ways. And as a son — my mother is alive. It just speaks to all of the females in my life, particularly. For a guy who grew up with no sisters in a house of boys, it’s incredible how now I’m surrounded by girls. But not only in my house; I employ a huge amount of women in my team. The song just hit me for so many reasons.”

[From Billboard]

STOP CALLING US FEMALES. STOP MENTIONING YOUR DAUGHTERS OR YOUR MOTHER. JUST STOP. You can relate to us as fellow human beings, for the love of God.
Granted, Keith mentions women in his life who are not related to him by blood or marriage, so at least there’s that. He’s not just solely interested in the subject of male douchebaggery because it might affect someone in his family. Anyway, I’m giving all of this a hard pass.

51st CMA Awards Arrivals

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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49 Responses to “Who else will give a hard pass to Keith Urban’s new song ‘Female’?”

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  1. Wren33 says:

    I am sorry but I just can’t with any guy who highlights his hair. I know it is unfair of me, but I can never take anything he says or does seriously.

  2. jugil1 says:

    Sorry but I like this song & I love Keith Urban. No pass from me.

    • Jayna says:

      No pass from me. Rock on, Keith.

    • ElleC says:

      I wonder if he was trying to nod to Dolly Parton’s Eagle when she flies?

      She’s a lover, she’s a mother
      She’s a friend and she’s a wife
      And she’s a sparrow when she’s broken
      But she’s an eagle when she flies

      And not to single out Keith, or Dolly (who has my undying love), but I’d love to hear some songs celebrating women beyond the roles they perform for men and children? It’s always this same mother, daughter, sister, wife…

      Recommendations anyone?

      • jugil1 says:

        @ ElleC, good point.

      • Jayna says:

        Well, I always felt this song, one of my favorites of all time, was beautiful and the concept behind it was interesting regarding women’s place in society. I never tire of the vocals by the amazing Oleta Adams and Roland.

        Roland Orzabal of Tears for Fears on writing Woman in Chains. “I was reading some feminist literature at the time and I discovered that there are societies in the world still in existence today that are non-patriarchal. They don’t have the man at the top and the women at the bottom. They’re matricentric — they have the woman at the center and these societies are a lot less violent, a lot less greedy and there’s generally less animosity… but the song is also about how men traditionally play down the feminine side of their characters and how both men and women suffer for it…. I think men in a patriarchal society are sold down the river a bit — okay, maybe we’re told that we’re in control but there are also a hell of a lot of things that we miss out on, which women are allowed to be”.

        Woman in Chains – 1989 performance

      • ElleC says:

        Wow! Great recommendation, Jayna

      • Megan says:

        Try Josh Ritter’s “Girl in the War”. It’s about a dad and his daughter (hinted) but he refers to her military service rather than his parentage to her. https://g.co/kgs/wA2FZC

    • babykitten says:

      I haven’t heard the song yet, but I like Keith Urban in general. I wonder if this is more a hard pass on country music.

      So here’s a guy upset about Weinstein, and creating something in support of women. “We absolutely need male allies” – Indeed. Good luck keeping them when this is the response. Mockery of his hair, accusations of not paying his taxes, and dismissal of his art as not doing enough for Puerto Rico, seems a little off.

  3. DEValiantly Varnished says:

    Dear Nicole,

    Come get your man.

  4. holly hobby says:

    The lyrics are a big giant WTF. Sister shoulder? They aren’t even complete sentences!?!?!

    No thanks.

  5. OSTONE says:

    The lyrics made me giggle. That’s the only opinion I have.

  6. littlemissnaughty says:

    Keith, honeybun, we want equality for all genders and races. We want equal pay and healthcare. We want respect. I mean, sure, support is never wrong but these are tough times. Would you go to a refugee camp and serenade them to show support? Would you go to Puerto Rico and sing for them? No. You would bring food and THEN you might carefully ask if you should get out the guitar. Those are extreme examples but I can’t come up with softer ones right now.

  7. QueenB says:

    Is he going to pay taxes on that or not? Doesnt seem to be too important for him.

    Without snark: Keith, if you want to help women paying a fair amout of taxes is a pretty good start, that money will help.

  8. Ankhel says:

    Don’t be too harsh with him. His knowledge of human society is quite impressive for a leprechaun.

  9. maggie says:

    I think it’s beautiful. Sorry.

    • jugil1 says:

      @ maggie, Don’t be sorry. I said the same up thread. I like the song & I like Keith. No shame here.

    • Fleur says:

      I think the song’s beautiful. I love the lyrics. From a poetry perspective, pretty sure he used female because it’s a more rhythmically suited to the soft phrases in the rest of the lyrics /the pace of the song. “woman” ends with a hard consonant. The -ale ending is softer than -oman.

  10. Samantha says:

    Ummm this song was fine. The lyrics were fine. When did female become a bad word? This article rubbed me in such a wrong way.

    • Jayna says:

      I’m right there with you.

    • Leslie says:

      It bothers me greatly that we, as women, let some men who use “female” in a negative way dictate whether we can use the word to describe ourselves. “Female” is not a bad word in and of itself. Yes, there are times when it is used in a negative way by certain people, but you could do that with any word, that doesn’t mean we should cancel all words. We, as women, shouldn’t let some men dictate what words we use, especially those words used to describe ourselves.

      I will say, though, that it bothers me from a grammatical standpoint when people use “female” and “man” or “woman” and “male” in the same sentence when comparing the two sexes. It should either be “female” and “male” or “woman” and “man”.

    • ElleC says:

      I feel like I’m the constant crusader on this, but there’s a couple reasons why some people are creeped out by using “females” to refer to women.

      Female can refer to the biological sex of any animal, while woman refers specifically to humans, and it’s inclusive of women who weren’t born biologically female. The term, although appropriate in scientific discourse where specificity about biological sex might matter, also implies a level of clinical distance, like we’re not just talking about people here.

      Now, this probably wouldn’t be a big deal, but there’s a tendency of some people to use this distancing language, consciously or unconsciously, when they’re putting women down or making sexist generalizations. You hear that enough times, and it becomes a red flag.

      That’s not even touching on the long, gross history of women being pathologized or treated as less than human in medicine and the social sciences. It’s also notable that men usually aren’t described as “males” outside of a scientific context. You add that all together… it’s icky or at best, as sign of ignorance in the speaker?

      An aside, I’m not sure why some people get so defensive when somebody says “hey that language makes me uncomfortable, did you realize you’re sending off creepy vibes?” I want to make people comfortable when I’m talking to them and being sensitive doesn’t take much effort, even if I don’t find the language offensive.

      • ElleC says:

        TLDR: It’s kind of like using “homo sapiens” to refer to people. Technically accurate, and appropriate in certain contexts, but it makes the speaker sound like a robot, alien or sociopath if they’re using it casually. Then add centuries of sexism to the mix!

      • Fleur says:

        I appreciate your perspective. My own opinion, I think he chose it because of the rhythm of the word, which is something one has to consider in song writing. It’s the same reason people use certain names or words in songs, like “eileen” in a song–rhymes with “everything,” so of course the song’s come on, Eileen. Anyway, back to female…say it aloud, and then say the word woman. Female’s a soft sounding phrase, and it suits metrically when paired with the rest of the lyrics /the pace of the song. “woman” ends with a hard consonant. That -ale ending is softer than a hard wo-man.

        Just sayin it’s probably a rhythm and meter choice more than a political statement.

  11. Millenial says:

    Aw, I have a soft spot for Keith. He seems like a gentle soul, despite the former drug addiction. “Somebody Like You” was my jam in high school (which I just looked up and was FIFTEEN years ago, oh my).

    But this song is not his best, that’s for sure. But, I’ll give him a brownie point for being a country artist and doing this. The bar is so low for them, sadly.

  12. megan says:

    The song didn’t bother me at all – I think he did a great job performing it last night at the CMA’s.

    Now, the tattoo reaching up his neck is very gross to me – along with the mullet flatironed hair. Please stop with the creepy tattoos and the giant Tom Cruise boots.

  13. meeem says:

    People are offended by being called female these days? Seriously? I’m liberal, but dear lord, half the things coming out of the left these days are ridiculous and counterproductive.

    • Maui says:

      Um, women ARE FEMALE. its just a fact. He may have wierd hair or become too hollywood looking but jeesh. Its a song about everything women/FEMALES represent to him. If a woman wrote a song like this about guys/men/MALES…. in the day and age…. nobody would blink.

      • ElleC says:

        Hey Maui, I get where you’re coming from and I’ve tried to explain upthread why some people have a problem with it – hope that’s helpful!

        @meeem Whether you agree or not, it does give some people a creepy vibe, and I think for understandable reasons. I’d rather people tell me if my language makes them uncomfortable, same way I’d rather people tell me if I have spinach in my teeth. It might not have been bothering me, but little things can make a big impact on other people’s impressions of you.

    • I Choose Me says:

      Not the word itself. But the context in which it is often used. Misogynists and men of the Hotep variety in particular, love to use that word in a negative fashion. As if we’re other and not actually part of the human species.

  14. Bless his heart. He meant well.

  15. Bonbon says:

    I don’t know man, it’s perfectly reasonable to me that a dude should mention the women in his life as part of the reason he relates to the struggles of women. The fact is, here’s someone who’s lending solidarity in his own way, stop picking it apart. Not my kind of music either, but hey, well done for being supportive, Keith.

  16. Beezy says:

    I normally would shy away from something like this but.. the first time I heard it was last night when he performed it live. I thought it was pretty sweet. Also thought it was nice to hear some compassion from a man. He aight in my book.

  17. Joannie says:

    Not a big fan but I think the song is beautiful.

  18. I Choose Me says:

    Eh, the song’s alright. He means well. I can’t with his styling but I whenever I caught snippets of him as a judge on X factor? or Idol or whatever, he seemed thoughtful and sweet.