Stereotypes of Music Genres are Harmful

Music has always been a huge part of our society and our identities. It’s everywhere, and most of us are very particular about what kind we want to listen to. It’s also been the case that different genres produce diverse reactions. We identify parts of our personalities based on what we listen to, which in turn makes us insinuate things about other people based on their personal music preferences. Some of the basic stereotypes that come to mind are: that people who listen to rap music are troublemakers that like to do drugs, people who listen to country music are dumb and drink a lot of beer, and people who listen to classical music are boring and usually very smart. 

The question I want to ask here is: do these stereotypes actually hold any truth? Many people actually think so, believing that music preferences can affect a person’s identity. While I think that music is a huge part of a person’s life and can definitely influence someone’s personality in some aspects, I don’t necessarily believe that these stereotypes are always true.

These stereotypes usually lead to two phenomena – only certain people who fit into the description of the appropriate audience can have conversations about music, and those who don’t are excluded.

Listeners of different backgrounds will have different interpretations of music that ultimately enrich discussions surrounding a genre. Lyrical music generally includes some form of a message – ranging from discussions about mental health, a past relationship, or struggling to handle fame – that originates from the artist’s own experiences. 

When stereotypes prevent people from listening to different types of music and bringing their own perspectives into the messages of the artists, the conversations surrounding the genre become diluted to include only the voices of those with similar views and experiences, morphing the genre into something exclusive. 

With all of this being said, I think it’s important to encourage everyone to try new genres and artists. Whenever you see a new playlist suggestion on Spotify, click it! Regardless of what your opinions are of that genre, you may be pleasantly surprised! When someone is listening to a new genre of music that is different from what they normally listen to, don’t ridicule them. Instead, ask what they like about the genre and consider checking it out for yourself. Dissolving the generalizations surrounding music is not easy, but correcting our individual actions is a great start. 

Music is an irreplaceable aspect of many people’s lives. By not recognizing the harmful stereotypes that come along with liking certain genres, music loses its potential as a force of influence in our society.


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