Some students at Salem College are experts in country singer Martina McBride. Really — they’ve studied.
The small liberal arts school for women in Winston-Salem, N.C., recently offered a four-week course titled, “Happy Girl/Broken Wing: Martina McBride as Text.” Attendance was capped at 16, and the class was full.
“Many of her songs directly address issues that relate to women and young girls growing up in our culture,” said English professor Ron DePeter, who taught the class. The school also has offered courses on Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen.
Unlike Dylan and Springsteen, McBride doesn’t write her own songs, which makes her an unusual choice for academia. But DePeter said she addresses thorny topics and is a role model to young women.
“She brings a certain voice and persona to those songs,” DePeter said.
In her latest single, “God’s Will,” McBride sings about a little boy with braces on his legs who inspires others. Her first hit, “My Baby Loves Me,” expressed the joy of being accepted for one’s self. “Concrete Angel” dealt with child abuse, “Independence Day” with a woman who frees herself from an abusive husband and “A Broken Wing” with suicide.
McBride, 38, said she knew little about the course, but was flattered.
“It’s really cool. I never thought that would happen,” she told The Associated Press.