Most celebrities like to make a fashion statement on the red carpet. Jennifer Nettles made a different type of statement on the CMA Awards red carpet. She walked out wearing what looked lie a white dress with an extravagant pink train. The back of the dress said 'equal pay' and the train had a drawing of a woman's head with the female symbol as her body. She then dramatically removed her train and showed photographers the inside of the train which read "PLAY OUR F*@#!N RecoRds PLEASE & THANK YOU." The look was designed by Christian Siriano.
Nettles likely wore the garment in response to reports that surfaced in 2018 confirming that there is a gender bias against female country artists. Dr. Jada Watson of the University of Ottawa conducted a study titled “Gender Representation on Country Format Radio: A Study of Published Reports from 2000-2018." The study stated that between the years 2002 and 2018 women were being paid significantly less than men. It's no surprise that Dolly Parton is the only female artist to make the top 10 highest paid country artist, and her career spanned over 40 years.
The study also revealed that stations played songs sung by females less frequently. Females were 11.3% behind the year’s most-played songs. The ratio of men to women overall on the radio was found to be a disappointing 9.7 to 1. The bias continued to present itself when the nominations for CMA's top award were all men despite Kacey Musgraves winning Album of the Year. “It doesn’t make me very happy because we’ve got some very talented women out there who are working their butts off,” Reba McEntire told the Tennessean. “I’m missing my girlfriends on this list.” The CMAs attempted to rectify this by having three female hosts: Carrie Underwood, Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire. The three opened the show with a medley of songs by female country artists.
Jennifer Nettles was excited for people to see her look on the red carpet. “People do want to hear women’s stories,” she told the Tennessean. “It’s a fallacy to say that they’re going to turn the channel.” Fans responded as positively to the outfit as Nettles expected. [Amanda Letterman tweeted,] (https://twitter.com/amandaletterman/status/1194800927561146370) "I love this. Women never get enough rep on the radio in country music or rock. #CMAawards @JenniferNettles is amazing." @thequeencarrieu said, "@JenniferNettles just won the red carpet. I SAID THANK YOU MAAM"