Fourth grade was a significant era for me. That year, I moved to a new home and attended a new school where I did not know anyone. During this time period, iPods, cellphones, and “pop” music became popular in my school. I had my very first cellphone: the black Verizon Chocolate. I thought it was the coolest gadget ever especially with the spinning wheel thing in the middle. I also became interest in “pop” music and began to research and download many songs that came to my interest. Unfortunately for me, this time period was when being popular had some value, so I wasn’t able to find music true to my own taste. This led to me “liking” certain kinds of “pop” songs, such as those in “KIDZ BOP”, which I actually bought to become familiar to the “cool” songs because these songs obviously made you cool.
That was probably one of the worst decisions I made in my life. 35 bucks for about twenty songs, only two of which I actually enjoyed. That was definitely not worth the buy although the commercial said it was on sale. I did not really think about the relationship between gender and music during this time of “pop” music because music videos weren’t really popular at this time and both boys and girls seemed to enjoy “pop”. However, as years progressed, I started to notice the relationship between gender and music, starting from middle school.
In these years, music videos started to become increasingly popular through YouTube. My favorite song in 7th grade was “Love Story” by Taylor Swift, who was one of the well-known artists during this time. I thought the song was beautiful and catchy. This song was 100% feminine through the lyrics as she says “Romeo take me somewhere we can be alone. I’ll be waiting; all that’s left to do is run. You’ll be the prince and I’ll be the princess. It’s a love story, baby, just say, ‘Yes’”. In addition, the music video portrays Taylor Swift as a young woman in a white gown singing about her “Romeo” and yearning to stay by his side. Although I realized the song was feminine, I did not let it influence my taste in music. However, because the song was feminine and every male seemed to be into rock and rap, I was reluctant to reveal to my friends and others about my favorite song, “Love Story” and tell them that some other “cool” song was actually my favorite.
Now that I have matured, I could care less about what others think about my taste in music. I enjoy classical, alternative rock, classical rock, rap, pop music, Korean pop, and many other genres regardless of the gender category they may be placed in. Right now, I would say that my favorite song is IU’s and HIGH4’s “Not Spring, Love, or Cherry Blossoms”, which would probably be categorized as feminine, for the main chorus is sang by IU, who is loved by many Koreans for her charming and attractive features and her voice was a gift from the heavens. In the music video, for example, she sings while staring at the stars and trying to calmly catch cherry blossoms falling from the sky. I relate femininity with tranquility and beauty, which this music video portrays. I would like to note that this music video is the exact opposite of the female category we explored in class. The popular music videos we watched included women wearing tight and revealing clothes and them dancing explicitly.
Musical preference should not be considered through outside influences. My music taste was at first influenced by others because I wanted to fit in. I wanted to listen to the same music as everyone else listened to. Now that I think about it, they probably were all influenced the same way. I wanted to be seen as “cool”, but that wasn’t necessarily making me happy. I was not being me. As you can see from my experience, society plays a strong influence to the popularity of music. We all want to be part of the norm, but musical preference should be decided personally. Gender categorization is one factor that leads to the hive-mind of society and affects the views of many things, such as music.