Feminist Country Singer Cam On Supporting Other Female Artists & Not Playing By The Rules

Add country music singer Cam to the list of badass women who unapologetically bring with them their signature brand of feminism and female empowerment to the genre. The California-based artist is one of the latest country singers to add to the rich history of women who have risked backlash and criticism by branding themselves feminists and writing and singing about issues regarding women’s rights.

Cam takes to her social media to not only share about her music news and collaborations (which include work with Harry Styles and Sam Smith) but also to share her opinions on current issues that are getting a lot of attention, including the #MeToo movement in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein explosive sexual misconduct revelations. In an interview with Entertainment Tonight’s ‘Certified Country’ series, she says she wants to have more dialog around the need for feminism, despite some of her followers saying the opposite.

“For me, that is not angry, that’s not anything except saying I just want to empower women to feel like equals and I want to inspire men to treat us like equals. I still get people that comment, ‘I don’t need feminism, it didn’t do anything for me. I’m my own individual’,” she shared, while adding how there is an intersectional aspect to understanding why feminism is still very relevant today.

“Yes, there are a lot of things that we have and privileges that we’re enjoying right now, especially white women. It’s easy to think everything’s fine. For a lot of women, that’s not the case. Also, if you forget where you came from, that’s a really slippery slope to have it move backwards,” she said.

While she didn’t explicitly mention or allude to it, we have spoken about the current regressive agenda under President Trump where women’s rights and autonomy are under attack and being decided upon by almost entirely male legislators.

In the music industry, there are enough battles for women to fight when it comes to equal treatment, especially considering the industry is still largely run by male executives where it counts. A number of female artists speak out about the need to break out of the standards placed upon them in order to be successful, and Cam is certainly not about to play by the rules if it means giving away some of her and other women’s power.

She told ET there are people who think things must have changed in the industry because of all the high-profile, high-earning female artists who are dominating the charts. But she has a more nuanced perspective from the inside.

“People come up to me and they’re like, ‘Oh, aren’t you so happy about the renaissance that’s happening of women? There’s so many women artists. There’s so many female artists’. When you have one female artist in the top 50 on a chart, that is not a renaissance. When you have such a small number of program directors working in radio that are women, that tiny number, that’s not a renaissance. When you have the heads of labels not being women, that’s not a renaissance,” she explained.

It’s not just record labels that control almost an entire career of an artist, but also radio stations, and there has been a fair amount of sexism within that ecosystem that Cam says is still around today, despite the proliferation of platforms to access music on these days including digital streaming outlets.

“There’s a weird myth that’s one of the excuses: ‘Women don’t like listening to other women.’ That’s a thing that they say. Program directors, hopefully all of them are not there anymore, very recently they were told, ‘Don’t play two women next to each other in the playlist,’ and some of them, ‘Don’t play two in an hour.’ … People will say, ‘No, that’s not recent’ and then one of the gals sitting at one of the stations is like, ‘Nope, under so-and-so that was the rule’,” she said.

Thankfully with the digital disruption of the music industry, artists don’t need to rely on radio stations to break out or make it big, as a number of artists have proven over the past few years. Cam’s revelation also plays into the stereotypical “woman vs woman” narrative that is perpetuated by patriarchal tradition, and she ain’t afraid to speak against that in her support of her fellow female artists.

“What’s funny is that country music, traditionally, we have powerhouse female vocalists. We have super strong female writers. The ’90s and 2000s had all these incredible female artists, so it’s not like country music has always been behind. There’s some weird turn of events that has happened with where radios at right now,” she said.

In her latest hit ‘Diane’, which she says is a response to country icon Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’, Cam tells the story of infidelity but from a very different angle. Drawing from real life experiences she saw her friends go through, she says she wanted to give the women in her life the apology they never received from the people in their situation, but deserved.

Title character Diane is the “other” woman in this scenario who apologizes to the wife, and instead of carrying on the stereotypical slut-shaming, cat-fighting narrative that would be expected in a story line like this, Cam infuses some honesty and humility instead.

“It’s a wonderful narrative to have out there, too, to have these two women that didn’t choose to be in this situation. This was somebody lying at the center of it. What do you do when you’re put in that hard situation? Do you resort to slut shaming? Do you get competitive and adversarial? Or do you step up and have integrity and you tell the truth?…There’s so much shame involved in infidelity, even on the part of the wife that’s been cheated on. People don’t want to talk about it. For you to rise above that shame and then be able to tell your story, it’s an extra step that’s really hard for a lot of people,” she said.

As for using her social media as a platform for empowering messages, fans of hers will already be familiar with her insight on the Harvey Weinstein and the culture that allows powerful men to continue degrading and misogynistic behavior at the expense of women and their careers.

Oh, and she recently rocked a “feminist gangsta” t-shirt accompanied by a statement about her feminism, promoted an episode of the ‘Hoodrat to Headwrap podcast’ talking about her journey to understanding intersectional feminism and white privilege in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. day, and reminded her followers she is all about supporting the sisterhood in another post.

‘Diane’ is the new single from her forthcoming album, and having solidified her star power with her first album ‘Untamed’ from 2015, which was mostly funded thanks to a Kickstarter campaign, she doesn’t believe in playing by the pre-written industry rules for success.

“Having a hit like ‘Burning House,’ it gave me so much confidence and let me feel really free to go into this next album and really be me. because when you have such an outlier song like that and have it work in an organic, genuine way, it doesn’t make me feel like, ‘Oh, I better stay in the rules and the lane and whatever mainstream.’ No, I can just do me,” she said.

You can see the full lyric video for ‘Diane’ below, and get familiar with Cam’s brand of feminist country music.




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