Serrena Wortham English 101/Johnson Semiotics Essay 1 10/18/12 Country Stars Within Society There are a lot of movies with a main character stereo-typed as a cowboy that might have dark skin from working in the sun, is muscular, has rough hands, and a southern drawl. He might ride a horse, work really hard in the barn or on a tractor, sing or play a classic country song, and is gentleman to all woman. This is an image that comes in the mind of many people who think of cowboys, and there could be some out there like this description. Based upon movies with characters like this, has the truth been twisted to make all these stereo-types?
The media has created the idea of these male country stars being rugged and dangerous, giving a physical attraction or desire, and in addition being loyal and respectful to woman. These technically are not bad things, but they could be stereo-typical and judgmental. Male country stars are portrayed as masculine or rough in many magazine covers, ads, movies and TV shows. For example in a Wranglers Retro Jeans ad, Jason Aldean smirks at the camera wearing his worn out blue jeans frayed at the bottom, ragged on t-shirt, and classic cowboy hat at one of his concerts. This laid back look of his is not very unheard of by country males.
This ad shows Jason can have a full range of motion in the jeans, that they are durable enough to hold him all the way through his high energy concerts and other day activities. This implies that a male country star is hard on his jeans and needs them to be durable and reliable. Another example within this ad is the Wranglers logo. A rope spells out Wranglers on a leather patch with thick visible stitching. This shows that it will not move no matter what you put it through, such as the hard work of a cowboy. By looking at adds and pictures this is what you see but other examples can be hidden in lyrics of many country stars.
For example Justin Moore’s song “I Could Kick Your Ass”. “You got your million bucks, You got your flashy sports car, You got your trophy girls, Man you think you’re a star, You got your teeth bleached, You like to play the rich game, Yeah you think you’re a cowboy, The new Jesse James, I could kick your ass…” Justin Moore is claiming the person he is singing to is feminine and would loose in a fight against himself. He wants to show his rugged, harsh nature to his opponent to intimidate or fire him up to fight. This could be portrayed as “bad boy” behavior, which can be desirable.
The “barbaric” attitude and look of these country stars can also be seen as sexy. “COUNTRY’S HOTTEST GUYS! ” is one of first things seen on the April 2012 Country Special of People magazine cover, besides Blake Shelton’s enlarged perfected smirk. He is one of the nicer dressing country stars of today with his light colored button up shirt and vest, nicely controlled hair, but with the sexy unpolished look of his unshaven face and intimate eyes. As if this look doesn’t catch your eyes enough the text fitted close to his face, “Blake Shelton- His funniest (AND BEST) interview ever! , will catch your eyes. Not only are they selling his looks but his personality also. It shows that there is more to see inside. Even if you weren’t attracted by his looks you could be drawn in by the fact that he is funny. Desiring an attractive, intimate, and funny guy is enough to buy a magazine for many woman, but there are a few more factors that are shown in other advertisements. In the poster for Faith Hill and Tim McGraw’s new fragrances, Tim shows his protection and loyalty to his wife by his body language, while Faith shows her contentment.
His body is almost completely sheltering Faith from whatever could get her, his slight glare and straight mouth expression shows his seriousness and love towards the woman he is protecting. This look, the dark plainness of his shirt, and his classic cowboy hat shows his rough side while Faith’s smile and contentment with her husband shows how loved she feels by a man who is as loyal as he. They are both looking in the same direction off to the left, this symbolizes they share the same goals and feelings for each other. They are together and are sharing something mportant. All together this cowboy/country star is absolutely in love, loyal, and protective of his wife. After his recent marriage to Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton in his song “Honey Bee” has lyrics that form yet another example. “ You’ll be my soft and sweet, I’ll be your strong and steady, You’ll be my glass of wine, I’ll be your shot of whiskey, You’ll be my sunny day, I’ll be your shade tree,You’ll be my honeysuckle, I’ll be your honey bee…” In this song he demonstrates how perfectly things work together contrasting.
Miranda being his soft and sweet, just like Faith letting her husband protect her and love her. Blake being the strong and steady protecting and respecting his wife, just like Tim. Miranda being the glass of wine demonstrates a soft relaxation while Blake being a shot of whiskey can also demonstrate a harsh, rugged personality. As I have explained, cowboys having a blunt ruggedness, seen as physically attractive and their respectful, loyal personalities make up the stereo-types of country stars today.
Have people used this stereo-type of cowboys to make money or sell an idea? This is definitely how advertising operates. Creating a good idea in a movie or TV show, making it desirable and then making products and selling them based off of the stereo-type. For example when a little boy see’s a Star Wars movie and suddenly wants to be Luke Skywalker, he will beg his parents for a light-saber, and this is the goal to advertising, which had made country music as big as it is today.
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