“In Caribbean popular music, there is no shortage of songs whose representations of gender, from a North American liberal or left perspective, would seem controversial.” (Manuel, 1995) This statement gives insight into the fact that the Caribbean, as a cultural space, is adept at introducing gender issues to the content of musical expressions. It is not only from the perspective of North America that such content would be viewed as controversial, as many analyses have been done based on such an assumption within the Caribbean itself. However, Caribbean popular music is arguably prominent outside the region and has contributed to the formation of several social realities as to how gender roles are appropriated and construed.
Fundamentally, there is a certain depth to popular music within the region, where the constructions of gendered ideals, communication, politics and relationships embedded in lyrical content are concerned. An analysis of such concepts can reveal the nature of gender socialization and the role of patriarchy, as well as the binary approach undertaken by agents within the Caribbean society. According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) in Canada, a gender analysis is a set of methods employed to understand the relationships between men and women, making visible their roles in the space...
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...theory. It says that media messages are directly injected into the mind of the audience, in this case the listeners. Both theories suggest that it leads to retention of the patriarchal principles and practices of marginalizing men intentionally and women by default, who fall outside the ‘norm’. Conversely, it can be argued that the song itself, within the dancehall space, only mirrors the societal values, rather than reinforce them.
In conclusion, Caribbean popular music is a means by which patriarchal values and traditions are retained, transferred and reinforced. Women, as much men, perpetuate the stereotypical constructions of masculinity and femininity, as well the cultural representation. The music industry, specifically relating to dancehall, mirrors the rest of society in the sense that the application of masculine values and techniques is way forward.
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