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Historically, country music has always been problematic in its unequal representation of male and female artists.

But this week, one confession from a country music radio station left country music fans and artists everywhere reeling.


It all started when Variety writer, Chris Willman, shared how he had been driving his car, his radio tuned into a country music station, when he heard one song by a female country singer end, followed immediately by another one.

In a post, Willman wrote about the whole internet fiasco that developed after his tweet, Willman clarified that he meant it as a joke. What he meant to suggest was that hearing two separate female artists back-to-back with no interruption was as unique and unusual a phenomenon as discovering a unicorn.

Some replied to Willman's tweet, aware he intended his words as a joke. But they also used the space to point out there was a larger conversation that needed to be had about the representation of female country singers.

The true tipping point that opened the whole can of worms, and got the conversation going, however, was a response to Willman's tweet.

@98fmKCQ / Twitter

The tweet has since been deleted from Twitter, and a public statement from the radio station has since taken its place. They claim in the statement to follow no such rule, and to be totally supportive of their represented female artists.

Though the station claims to not observe this formula, country music artists and fans seem to believe otherwise, as they continue to share copies of the tweet across social media platforms.

It also caught the attention of many big-name artists, including Grammy Award-winner, Kacey Musgraves.

@KaceyMusgraves / Twitter


@KaceyMusgraves / Twitter

Fellow top female country artist, Kelsea Ballerini, continued the conversation, this time over on Instagram.

@kelseaballerini / Instagram

In the caption of her Instagram post, Ballerini wrote:

"I say this having been one of the few women who have been really embraced by country radio and having watched some of the bigger networks (and some of my friends that are pd's and high up) make real changes in their programming to make it look more balanced. I am grateful. BUT. there is still inequality in airplay for women. And tweets like this prove it."
"And it's my job to say it out loud and post about it, because of the girls moving to Nashville ( or wherever) that are ready to outrun and outwork and outplay everyone. They deserve to know that they have the same shot as the guys moving here to do the same. Country music- We have to fix this. For us and for them."

Ballerini's post drew the attention of several country music artists, nearly all female, as well as countless country music fans who wish for better, more equal representation.

@kelseaballerini / Instagram


@kelseaballerini / Instagram


@kelseaballerini / Instagram


@kelseaballerini / Instagram


@kelseaballerini / Instagram


@kelseaballerini / Instagram


@kelseaballerini / Instagram


@kelseaballerini / Instagram


@kelseaballerini / Instagram


@kelseaballerini / Instagram


@kelseaballerini / Instagram


@kelseaballerini / Instagram

The conversation has gone on long enough, and female country artists and fans are ready for some serious change.

Thankfully, much of the conversation surrounding this issue is resoundingly supportive, and real change can occur in a positive landscape.

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