Why Don’t Straight Guys Ever Want To Listen To Adele (Or Any Women Performers)?

DFree / Shutterstock.com
DFree / Shutterstock.com

Why do straight guys rarely listen to female musicians while women and gay guys seem to listen to more of a mix between both male and female musicians?

I think straight guys are fine and all. I just don’t know any personally. Otherwise I would go and ask my question directly.

For some people, when they think of an exotic foreign place, they think of Thailand. But for me, that would be Home Depot. In other words, I really don’t encounter many straight men in my daily life anymore. I was related to a few once, but I disowned them by the time I turned 18. And when you find yourself living in certain really-gay pockets of already-pretty-gay metropolitan cities like Manhattan and San Francisco for a number of years, encounters with straight guys can become few and far between.

I did have three good straight guy friends in college, but two have since come out. So if you were to ask me right now to name my closest relationship to a straight male, my answer would unfold like a game of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.

If I ever did make another straight guy friend, however, I would probably treat him like a pet. When we ran into my other acquaintances, I would introduce him saying, “I want you to meet my straight guy friend, Robert.” And I would be so fixated on his lifestyle that I would constantly be asking him all these annoying questions about it—“What does domestic beer taste like? What does beef jerky taste like? What does a vagina taste like?”

Since I don’t have access to the demographic under scrutiny, I hope this is an interactive post. I’m going to explore the question myself—why do straight guys rarely listen to female musicians while it seems women and gay guys listen to more of a mix between male and female musicians?—then I hope to read interesting responses in the comments. Furthermore, I would be curious to know who are the rare few female musician exceptions that straight guys actually do occasionally listen to.

First, let’s look at some data. According to Spotify, based on a sample of 5-million American subscribers, the percentages for each genders’ favorite musicians and bands according the the artists’ gender—including both solo and group acts—are as follows (note that these numbers only counted the top 10 favorites for each subscriber and do not distinguish between gay and straight male subscribers so that part of my argument I am simply basing on anecdotal evidence):

Male Subscribers: 94.2% male (artists), 3.3% female, 2.5% mixed groups –Female Subscribers: 55% male, 30.8% female, 14.2% mixed groups

Some other points to consider include that, interestingly, female artists are not lagging as far behind when it comes to the sales of their records. In fact, some singers like Adele and Rihanna have done extremely well in recent years. However, behind the scenes, roles ranging from the creative realm (e.g. production studio engineers) to the business side (e.g. record label executives) are dominated by males much in the way as the Spotify preferences data.

I don’t understand this phenomenon. More than that, I don’t accept it. I think it’s weird. Unhealthy even. Do I need to start naming names?

Whitney Houston. Arguably the greatest singer ever to stand behind a microphone (even Adele ain’t got shit on Whitney). You mean to tell me the hairs on the back of straight guys’ necks do not stand up during the second and thirds verses of “I Will Always Love You”? If I prick them, do they not bleed? If I tickle them, do they not laugh?

Fiona Apple. Her smoky voice is deeper than that of the average man. When a straight guy gets friendzoned, does he not commiserate with Fiona while brooding to “Shadowboxer”?

Lil Kim. I don’t understand how a straight guy who likes rap can know every damn lyric to all of Lil Wayne’s random b-sides yet not have Lil Kim classics like the brassy “Big Momma Thang” or the anthemic “Lighters Up” on their iPods.

Based on my past observations, I could see a straight guy bopping his head to a song on the radio like “All Good” by De La Soul (an all-male rap trio) featuring Chaka Khan (a female singer), who just kills the chorus and bridge with her electrifying vocals.

Then the same straight guy would change the channel if “Through the Fire” performed by Chaka alone came on next…but turn up the volume if “Through the Wire,” (which samples Chaka’s original) by Kanye West was playing on the other station. It doesn’t make sense!

Granted, even though they share similar chorus melodies, Kanye’s “Through the Wire” has a very different overall sound from that of Chaka’s “Through the Fire”—the former is more uptempo, has a heavy bassline, and a lot more drums and miscellaneous percussion elements (a.k.a. hip hop).

But then the other day I was listening to “The Monster” by rapper Eminem featuring Rihanna, which is a popular tune that has amassed 142-million YouTube hits as of 4/21/14, and it got me thinking about this very issue. Because straight guys worship Eminem. However, when I started to pay closer attention to just the instrumentals of the song, I thought to myself, “This is basically a Ke$ha track.”

I’m honestly dumbfounded. Do straight guys just not know what they’re missing out on? And how good it feels to roll down your car windows while blasting “Since You Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson after a breakup? Or have straight guys just been repressed so hard by society that they’re afraid to indulge and dance like a slut in front of their bedroom mirrors to “I’m a Slave 4 U” by Britney Spears, like you they want to deep down inside? TC mark

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