Zimbabwe Gender Bias

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Gender Bias in the Musical Cultures of Zimbabwe and America
For hundreds of years, cultures all across the globe have practiced gender discrimination. It is prevalent in every country, and both men and women have felt its sting. As Claire Jones writes, “It should be evident by now that few constructs of culture are free of gender bias” (127). One specific cultural concept containing gender bias is music, both traditional and modern. The mbira culture of the Shona in Zimbabwe and the musical culture of America are two different cultures facing the same problem of gender bias. Lamellaphones like the mbira have been linked with the cultural identity of Zimbabwe for hundreds of years. The Shona people utilize the mbira in celebrations and ceremonies
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American children are exposed to music at young ages; there is music in the television shows they watch, on the car rides they take, and at the places they go. Furthermore, gender bias begins at a young age; Americans make choices that perpetuate this bias in terms of consuming and producing music. Women are often stereotyped into “typical gender roles” that include the image of a pure and gentle mother figure, which is similar to the view of women in Zimbabwe. This basic stereotype affects how women are treated in the American musical …show more content…
Girls are often pushed towards what are “sweeter” and “prettier” instruments such as the flute or the violin. They are rarely encouraged to study instruments like trumpet or drums, both of which seem “manly” and “robust”, unfitting for a girl. Women, at one point, were even discouraged from playing instruments that might be seen as inappropriate. For example, the cello, which performers hold between their legs, was “indecorous” for women to play because they would play it in a “sexually suggestive” position. Along the same lines, gender bias affects what instruments boys choose; they are pushed towards “manly” instruments and away from “feminine” ones as to preserve their masculinity.
Furthermore, women are expected to be “gentle” in their music choice. Women are expected to consume “softer” music such as country and popular music, but not “harder” music such as rock or rap. Kirstie Southcott, a 22-year-old metal rock fan, says, “If you’re a girl and you like metal, it’s frowned upon. People think rock is more for the boys, and that girls should be into pop and dance,” (Sullivan 2014). This stereotype follows women into the performance aspect of the music industry; women performers are generally steered away from performing rock and rap and towards dance and pop

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