Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Michelle Brattain - Committee Chair

Second Advisor

Clifford M. Kuhn - Committee Member

Third Advisor

Glenn T. Eskew - Committee Member


During the 1980s, women in country music enjoyed unprecedented success in record sales, television, film, and on pop and country charts. For female performers, many of their achievements were due to their abilities to mold their images to mirror American norms and values, namely increasing political conservatism, the backlashes against feminism and the civil rights movement, celebrations of working and middle class life, and the rise of the South. This dissertation divides the 1980s into three distinct periods and then discusses the changing uses of gender, race, class, and region in female country music and links each to larger historical themes. It concludes that political and social conservatism influenced women’s country performances and personas. In this way, female country music is a social text that can be used to examine 1980s America.

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