By Jonathon Van Maren
Despite the steep decline of country music over the past two decades—best summed up in Alan Jackson and George Strait’s duet “Who Killed Country Music”—the industry has been perhaps the last bastion of cultural conservatism in American’s entertainment industrial complex. Most of what passes for country music these days constitutes cliched stereotypes strung together with a good deal of summer boozing, sex, and smoking pot, but performers (a better word, in most cases, than “artists”) generally stay away from endorsing the various woke trends that are sure to alienate many of their consumers.
There have certainly been aberrations, of course. Carrie Underwood made a public show of leaving the church she attended because it held to a biblical view of marriage, which was apparently unconscionable to the fourth season winner of “American Idol.” Rolling Stone published a column last August titled “Why Country Music Was (Finally) Ready to Come Out,” on the rise of a handful of LGBT-identified singers hitting the circuit. There have been a number of gleeful analyses since on how the most traditional—and one of the most American—of music genres is slowly going as gay as the cowboys in Brokeback Mountain. As the industry churns out the sorts of songs that young people want to hear just as the young embrace the LGBT movement, this was inevitable.
Those new LGBT performers are embracing the role of social enforcers. Recently, Brittany Aldean, wife of country star Jason Aldean, posted a before-and-after makeup video to her 2.2 million Instagram followers with the caption: “I’d really like to thank my parents for not changing my gender when I went through my tomboy phase. I love this girly life.” Her husband commented underneath with a laughing emoji: “Lmao! Im glad they didn’t too, cause you and I wouldn’t have worked out.” As the inevitable backlash flowed in, Brittany wrote: “Advocating for the genital mutilation of children under the disguise of love and calling it ‘gender affirming care’ is one of the worst evils … Love is protecting your child until they are mature enough as an adult to make their own life decisions.”