“Female,” a ballad about respecting women, has a chorus full of all the things a woman might be to Urban: “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.”
The lyrics have drawn mixed reactions from listeners. Critics worry the song is too broad—verging on pandery—about what is ultimately a serious (and dangerous) cultural issue:
Keith Urban's "Weinstein-inspired" ode to women "Female" is the "We Didn't Start the Fire" of absolutely atrocious takes. pic.twitter.com/CuCuP493wB— R. Eric Thomas (@oureric) November 8, 2017
tfw everyone is colluding to destroy u pic.twitter.com/HazNEUxq5b— J. Escobedo Shepherd (@jawnita) November 8, 2017
I have prepared a useful way to gender swap Keith Urban's "Female" Lyrics, should you desire. pic.twitter.com/YL67t2kk8A— Jessica Ellis (@baddestmamajama) November 8, 2017
Meanwhile, proponents of “Female” seem thankful a country music artist is finally participating in these cultural conversations in a timely manner:
In an interview with Billboard, Urban said his relationship with wife Nicole Kidman and their daughters motivated him to rush-record the song this Halloween.
“As a husband and a father of two young girls, it affects me in a lot of ways,” he said, taking a tack many writers have criticized throughout the Weinstein press firestorm. “As someone who knows a woman” still centers the male as the person whose feelings are important, as opposed to suggesting that women, separately, have feelings and boundaries it’s important to respect whether a man is associated with them or not.
Kidman just took home the Outstanding Lead Actress Emmy this year for her role as a character who survives domestic violence on Big Little Lies.