Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis (Master's)

Department or Program

Master of Arts in Liberal Studies

First Advisor

Aden Evens

Second Advisor

William Cheng

Third Advisor

Klaus Milich


From Madonna to Britney Spears to Beyoncé, women have dominated and defined pop music for decades. Pop music is a vital part of American culture; it is both shaped by and capable of shaping the broader sociopolitical landscape. Thus, women in pop can utilize the deep relationship between music and culture to convey a stance on the role of women in American society. However, queer women in pop music are somewhat scarce, even in 2024 when acceptance of queerness is relatively high. As such, the queer women and queer themes that are present in pop necessitate nuanced analysis to understand the various positionings of queer women in American culture. In order to address these positions, this paper will analyze several musicians, their artistry, and their lyrics to look for political messaging and influences. The analysis has found that these positionings are diverse in their relationships with gender, queerness, and political thought. They are also shaped by a myriad of sociopolitical contexts that have been subject to rapid change as the United States has evolved its thinking on queerness. In a period where right-wing attacks against the queer community are increasingly frequent and dangerous, the political standpoints and goals of the community are at a crucial crossroads. The strategy decisions and positions taken now will influence the environment that future generations of queer people will have to face. The entire queer community has a part to play in these decisions. Queer women in pop music can have enormous influence and can thus be powerful drivers of regression, stagnation, or revolution.