Popular Music, Gender and Sexualities


  • Sheila Margaret Whiteley University of Salford




IASPM, popular music, pop, rock, mainstream, gender, sexualities, queer, popular music studies


This paper responds to Philip Tagg’s discussion of the state of popular music studies since the formation of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (Tagg, 2011) by foregrounding issues concerning the current position of popular music studies, gender and sexualities. It provides both a personal insight into teaching practice and publications, and explores the current position of women in the music industry.

Author Biography

Sheila Margaret Whiteley, University of Salford

Professor Emeritus School of Media, Music and Performance University of Salford Sheila Whiteley is Professor Emeritus at the University of Salford, Greater Manchester, United Kingdom, Visiting Professor at Southampton Solent University, and Research Fellow at the Bader International Study Centre, Queen’s University (Canada), Herstmonceux. As a feminist musicologist with strong research interests in issues of identity and subjectivity, she is known for her work on gender and sexuality as well as for longstanding interests in popular culture. She is author of The Space Between the Notes: Rock and the Counter Culture (Routledge, 1992); Women and Popular Music: Popular Music and Gender (Routledge, 2000); and Too Much Too Young: Popular Music, Age and Identity (Routledge, 2005), and editor of Sexing the Groove: Popular Music and Gender (Routledge, 1996) and Christmas, Ideology and Popular Culture (Edinburgh University Press, 2008). She co-edited (with Andy Bennett and Stan Hawkins) Music Space and Place: Popular Music and Cultural Identity (Ashgate: 2002) and (with Jennifer Rycenga) Queering the Popular Pitch (Routledge, 2006). Her most recent work includes ‘Which Freddie? Constructions of Masculinity in Freddie Mercury and Justin Hawkins’ (Freya Jarman-Ivens, Oh Boy! Masculinities and Popular Music, Routledge, 2007), ‘Trainspotting: The Gendered History of Britpop’ (Andy Bennett, Jon Stratton, Britpop and the English Music Tradition, Ashgate, 2010), ‘A Boy in the Bush: Childhood, Sexuality and The Smiths’ (Sean Campbell and Simon Coulter, Why Pamper Life’s Complexities? Essays on The Smiths, MUP 2010), and ‘Research strategies of the unruly feminine’ (Derek Scott, Popular Musicology Companion, Ashgate, 2009). She is currently editing the OUP Handbook of Music and Queerness with Fred Maus, the OUP Handbook of Music and Virtuality (with Shara Rambarran) and the ‘Countercultures and Popular Music’ edition of Volume! (Ashgate and Éditions Mélanie Séteun, Bordeaux).



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Whiteley, Sheila –

(1997) Sexing the Groove. Popular Music and Gender. London/ New York: Routledge.

(2000) Women and Popular Music. Sexuality, Identity and Subjectivity. London/New York: Routledge.

(2005) Too Much Too Young. Popular Music, Age and Identity. Abington, Oxford/New York: Routledge

(2009) “Who Are You? Research Strategies of the Unruly Feminine Scenes”.. Scott, Derek B. ed., The Ashgate Research Companion to Popular Musicology. Farnham/Burlington: Ashgate: 205-220.

(2011) “The Vision of Possibility: Popular Music, Women and Human Rights”. Ian Peddie ed., Popular Music and Human Rights: Volume 1: British and American Music. Farnham: Ashgate: 157-170

(2013) “Following In Mother’s Silent Footsteps: Revisiting the Construction of Femininities in 1960s Popular Music”. Bennett, Andy, Baker, Sarah and Taylor, Jodie eds., Redefining Mainstream Popular Music. London and New York: Routledge.

Whiteley, Sheila and Maus, Fred, Eds (forthcoming) The Oxford Handbook of Music and Queerness. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.

Whiteley, Sheila and Rycenga, Jennifer (2006) Queering the Popular Pitch. New York/ Abington, Oxford: Routledge.

Whiteley, Sheila and Rambarran, Shara eds., (forthcoming) The Oxford Handbook of Music and Virtuality

Whiteley, Sheila and Sklower, Jedediah eds., (2012) Counterculture(s) and Popular Music. Farnham: Ashgate

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Audio VIsual References

Joni Mitchell, “All I Want”, Blue, 1971, Reprise Records, MS2038, US.