The Role of Bob Dylan in Empowering Women

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Artists and Their Role in Society

Artists play a crucial role in the society as they create awareness among the community members about some of the main occurrences take place within them. By doing so, the artists give the people insight on how to solve some of the problems that might be affecting them. Bob Dylan is one of the renowned American artists who has played an integral role in campaigning for the upholding of the societal members' rights but also advocating for the need of equality between men and women. As it will be demonstrated through this paper, Dylan has been using his music career as a platform for encouraging the community members to empower women and enhance their liberation.

Dylan's Campaign for Women's Liberation

Dylan has used music as a platform for calling for the liberation of women. For quite a long time, women had been treated as inferior beings in the society by being denied equal opportunities in critical sectors of the society - for instance, in workplaces, and in educational institutions - unlike their male counterparts. In fact, it was always assumed that females are supposed to play the subordinate roles in the society, hence, the reason why their duties were largely seen to be taking care of the family. Nevertheless, the emergence of feminist movements led to an intense campaign calling for the equal treatment of the community members irrespective of their gender. O'Dair suggests that women have always been taking advantage of their powers to execute their subordinate roles as an avenue of initiating change all over the society (O'Dair 82). For instance, through the song Don't Think Twice, It's All Right, Dylan gives an illustration of a girl that he had given his heart to, but she wanted his soul (Dylan). Dylan notes that 'I once loved a woman... but she wanted my soul' (stanza 3, verses six and seven). These verses imply that the lady was not only interested in loving Dylan but also in playing a key role in enhancing his progress, hence, the reason why she wanted his soul. Therefore, it would be rational to point out that Dylan was convinced that empowering women would result in significant progress within the society. Hence, women should also be assigned some of the best jobs - and not only the subordinate ones - to enable them play a significant role in the advancement of the community.

Creating Awareness for Women's Empowerment

Additionally, Dylan has used his music career as an avenue for creating awareness among the societal members on the need to empower women. During his Theme Time Radio Hour show, he once asked the listeners to check out Rosetta Tharpe's video clips on YouTube as a technique of promoting her music (Brooks and Wad 171). Within a relatively short period, the number of the hits garnered by Tharpe's videos significantly rose from around two thousand to more than twenty thousand (Brooks and Wad 171). Brooks and Wad are of the opinion that, the community members might have believed that Dylan was the best artist, hence, he should be playing a significant role in nurturing upcoming singers. However, by referring them to Tharpe's films, he was suggesting that he drew a lot of inspiration from her (Brooks and Wad 171). Dylan's action can, hence, be termed as a strategy of illustrating to the societal members that women need to get empowered for them to achieve their aspirations with ease. Through the song Blowin' In The Wind, he questions the people about the number of times an individual should carry out a respective action before they appreciate his/her efforts (Dalyn). For example, he poses the question 'how many roads must a man walk down before you call him a man?' - Stanza one lines one and two. By posing such a rhetoric question, Dylan's main objective might have been to ask the community members to ask themselves how long the women were going to be denied the opportunity to progress despite their efforts in building the society.


To sum it all, the role of the artists in the community cannot be underestimated as they not only entertain the society members but also make them aware of the major issues affecting them. As demonstrated above, musicians can use their songs as a platform of advocating for critical changes within their locality. For instance, Dylan has used his songs to call for the liberation of women. He points out that women have the potential to execute some of the critical roles in the society - such as being the heads of corporations - hence, they should not be limited to the subordinate duties only. Additionally, he argues that females should be given equal opportunities in the society with their male colleagues. Therefore, their efforts should always be appreciated as a way of encouraging them to perform better in future. The rhetoric questions he poses in the song Blowin' In The Wind are geared towards provoking the members of the public to reason why it takes them too long to appreciate what a woman has done as if she does not have equal potential to perform in the same manner a man would have done.

Works Cited

Brooks, Daphne., & Wald, Gayle. “Women Do Dylan: The Aesthetics and Politics of Dylan Covers.” Highway 61 Revisited, edited by Sheehy Colleen J. and Swiss Thomas, University of Minnesota Press, 2009, pp.  169-185.

Dylan, Bob. “Blowin’ In The Wind.” Genius Media group Inc., 2018, Accessed 8 Mar. 2018.

Dylan, Bob. “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right.” Genius Media group Inc., 2018, Accessed 8 Mar. 2018.

O’Dair, Barbara. “Bob Dylan and Gender Politics.” The Cambridge Companion to Bob Dylan, edited by Dettmar Kevin J.H., Cambridge University Press, 2009, pp. 80-86.

October 05, 2023

Literature Music


Literary Genres Musicians

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Poetry Bob Dylan

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Expertise Bob Dylan
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