Loretta Lynn's Lyrics: Songwriting for Women and the Working Class

  • Jewel Carrie Parker

Abstract

This article argues that country music singer, Loretta Lynn, performed songs reflective of women’s issues throughout the second wave feminist movement. However, Lynn did not identify as a feminist; she believed mainstream feminism ignored working-class issues. Her beliefs, conveyed in her lyrics, reflected her working-class experiences during her childhood, marriage to husband, Doolittle Lynn, and musical career. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Lynn sang songs supportive of women who lived in poverty, endured abusive spousal relationships, and observed the significance of traditional working-class gender roles. Though Lynn did not always agree with feminist thought, her songs reflected pro-feminist perspectives, including demanding men’s respect for women and women’s access to birth control. Her ability to write songs about working-class women’s lives increased her female fanbase and ultimately contributed to her success as a country music star. This article analyzes Lynn’s lyrical messages and contributes to the scholarship of country music history by providing a detailed account of how music affected working-class women. This work also describes what working-class women thought of the feminist movement.

Published
2018-09-26
Section
Articles