She Creates, She Controls, She Commands Respect:

Feminist Readings of Women as Deities in Classic and Modern Rock


  • Brooklyn Murphy Department of Music, University of Alberta



Popular music studies, Social and Gender Roles, Feminist Critique, Religion and mythology, Temporality and spatiality


This essay examines how women have been represented in Western rock music through their role as deities. In particular, it aims to understand how these portrayals can reflect the evolution of feminist thought and theory in the Western world. A comparative analysis of Rhiannon by Fleetwood Mac and Lazaretto by Jack White aims to demonstrate how these depictions connect with and respond to Western feminist thought from the second wave of feminism in the 1970s to the fourth wave of feminism in the 2010s. Along with musical characteristics, the analysis of these portrayals focuses on spatial and temporal factors regarding the relation of the deity to the narrator while incorporating discussions of systemic issues that have impacted women in both the music industry and general Western society.