There's a script for women in commercial country music that doesn't necessarily coincide with more mainstream stereotypes and assumptions about women. If you've ever heard Carrie Underwood's ubiquitous 2007 single, "Before He Cheats" (lyrics), you'll recognize the tropes.
Of course there are exceptions, but the ideal country woman is often blond (and white), feisty, world-wise, and hot. She is deeply possessive of her man, and aims to squelch competitors for his affection. She gives the appearance of working-class roots even if she didn't grow up working class, and she's equally comfortable talking about guns (Miranda Lambert's "Gunpowder and Lead"), Jesus (Underwood's "Jesus Take the Wheel"), and heterosexual romantic relationships (Dixie Chicks' "Cowboy Take Me Away").
One of the newer variations on these themes is the girl group Pistol Annies (Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe, and Angaleena Presley). Check out the first single of their August LP, Hell on Heels (lyrics):
Full disclosure: I love Loretta Lynn. I have dressed like her for Halloween. I have sat glued to Sissy Spacek's performance as her in Coal Miner's Daughter. I have been known to sing "You Ain't Woman Enough" at various karaoke bars in the greater Portland area. I am a fan. But! Even if I weren't a fan of her music, her awesome biopic and her sassy Grand Ole Opry getups, I'd be a fan of her feminism. Did you know she wrote a hit (and censored) song about birth control?
My Bitch Tapes mix this week is a celebration of the punkest women out there: the women of country music. While other genres largely excluded female musicians, women country singers back in the day were a dime a dozen (thank god!) Not even poverty, abusive husbands and managers, substance abuse issues, or a male-run music industry could keep these ladies away from the mic. It was hard to whittle my list down to eight of my favorite songs, but here it is.