The singer was inspired to produce and release this song immediately, especially in wake of revelations in Hollywood involving serial creep Harvey Weinstein. Urban was inspired by those speaking out against Weinstein— particularly the females. Urban is married to Academy Award-winning actress and fellow Aussie Nicole Kidman, who has worked closely with Weinstein in the past.
What inspired him to grab onto the song? Him being surrounded by strong women in both his personal and professional life:
“As a husband and a father of two young girls, it affects me in a lot of ways,” Urban told Billboard earlier. “And as a son — my mother is alive. It just speaks to all of the females in my life, particularly. For a guy who grew up with no sisters in a house of boys, it’s incredible how now I’m surrounded by girls. But not only in my house; I employ a huge amount of women in my team. The song just hit me for so many reasons.”
“When I heard this song, I felt very strong about the spirit in the song,” Urban told Fox News on the red carpet at the 51st Country Music Associated Awards.
“I’m in the middle of making my record but when I heard that song, I just pushed everything to the side,” he told us.
“I said, ‘I really want to record this song right now.”
Take a listen to the song for yourself:
Urban touches upon the various, multifaceted roles women take. As the lyrics note:
“Sister, shoulder, daughter, lover
Healer, broken halo, mother
Nature, fire, suit of armor
Soul survivor, holy water
Secret keeper, fortune teller
Virgin Mary, scarlet letter
technicolor, river wild
Baby girl, woman child/Female.”
I see nothing wrong with this, but many critics assert he’s mansplaining about sexual harassment, is transphobic assigning women with the female gender, and inserting Biblical references.
The Verge thought it was weird for Urban, a practicing Catholic, to reference Adam and Eve in his song “Female”:
When somebody laughs and implies that she asked for it
Just cause she was wearing a skirt
Now is that how it works?
When somebody talks about how it was Adam first
Does that make you second best?
Or did he save the best for last?
There are no annotations on this verse yet, either. I’m not sure what’s stopping people from wading in here. Maybe it’s Keith’s choice to put sexual assault on the same plane as vaguely rude readings of Bible stories? Maybe it’s the insertion of creationism into a song that is otherwise not really about disproved science?
A man who respects women believes they are made in the image of God, but how dare they be told they differ in biology yet play an important role in complementing men? Blasphemous!
One Twitter user suggested Urban keep his mouth shut on women because not all women are females. Huh?
However, the song was generally well-received:
Of all the musical genres out there, country music is the most transcendent and uplifting out there — even with the bro-country and pop-country that has emerged in recent years. Country music hasn’t become tainted like rap or pop has, so many so-called cultural critics who seek to restructure politics are eager to taint good music too. Leave country music alone!
Urban should be applauded for writing a song about true female empowerment. Strong women are usually supported by strong men. Men must be equally uplifted and should be acknowledged when they condemn piggish behavior by other individuals belonging to the same gender.
I, for one, will play “Female” on a regular basis and hope you do too.