Year of Graduation
Pop music as a mainstream medium is often more enjoyed than critically studied. Former studies and literatures point out a major issue that many American female pop music artists face. These artists are often confined in a box that reduces their full human-being attributes to a narrowed view, where their identity is portrayed in a diminishing and inaccurate way. Despite this narrowed narrative of what a woman should be, this box has become a norm that many female artists must adhere to in order to achieve mainstream success. This paper responds to this phenomenon by analyzing Christina Aguilera’s music, spanning from 1999 to 2018, to understand the cultural narratives of her music in response to the findings in literature. This paper argues that Aguilera’s music explores multi-dimensional aspects of life and womanhood, challenging the limited portrayal of women in the mainstream music industry. With a focus on lyrics, this paper identifies five themes and examines the cultural relevance of these themes in her music, including (1) romance and love, (2) introspection of vulnerability, (3) gratitude for support, (4) empowerment, and (5) sexual liberation. These themes are culturally relevant in a way that they challenge and reach beyond the dominant narrative of womanhood, by offering a view that captures women’s multi-dimensional identities and experiences.
Wong, Chin Wai (Rosie), "Women in American Pop Music: Christina Aguilera’s impact on cultural narratives" (2022). Undergraduate Honors Theses, Hollins University. 53.