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While the more commercially successful rock music from the 1960’s to the 1980’s that can be hazily labeled ‘classic rock’ might seem like an older (and by proxy, less relevant) collection of music, it is still influential on many listeners today through popular classic rock radio stations and music tastes shared from one generation to the next. Unfortunately, listeners are often unknowingly absorbing things like harmful gender norms in their musical enjoyment. Through analyzing the content of classic rock music through the textual analysis of classic rock lyrics in attempting to find common themes related to gender roles within heterosexual relationships, I revealed these harmful norms that can now be questioned and changed. This textual analysis of lyrics found that the themes central to sexuality are who is passive versus active agents in the relationship based on gender, male sexuality as predatory and uncontrollable, and where control lies in a relationship in regard to its beginning and end. Ultimately, music is both an expression of culture and an influence on culture, with the classic rock composers instilling their thoughts and beliefs of relationships and gender that they experienced through socialization of their culture into their music that is then heard and internalized by listeners worldwide, influencing a continuation of those initial ideas and concepts (in this case, continuation of the themes found in the results that contribute to things like rape culture). Through the analysis of music, we can discern what cultural norms are being displayed to its members along with understanding the negative impacts that can be targeted for efforts to end things like rape culture and harmful gender norms.


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19 Jul 2022
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  • Event location
    • Nesbitt 3213

  • Event date
    • 2 November 2019

  • Date submitted

    19 July 2022