Sunday, January 01, 2012

2011: The Non-Year of the Year of Women in Music

Much has been made of women's achievements in comedy this year. Funny women have written best-selling books and have worked both in front of and behind the camera on popular TV shows and in movies. Many commentaries on this also add that it shouldn't be a big deal that women, who are majority of the world's population, are succeeding in any particular endeavor, but the fact remains that it is still seen as a trend and a novelty.

But the real news is not only that women dominated the world of popular music in 2011 but that their collective achievement doesn't warrant commentary. Taylor Swift was Billboard's women of the year for her phenominal sales, and they didn't name a corresponding man of the year. Adele had the year's top-selling album and is poised to clean up at the Grammys. Katy Perry broke one of Michael Jackson's sales records. Britney Spears was newsworthy only for her ticket and single sales. Nicki Minaj was one of the biggest break-out artists of the year. Not a single male solo artist or band made Entertainment Weekly's reader poll for favorite musician of the year. And none of this has been the subject of trend stories; most people acccept this as unworthy of comment.

It's true that accepted roles for women in popular music are still limited, but it is a sign of genuine progress when the success of so many women to the exclusion of the success of men is no big deal.

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