The Dixie Chicks Drop the Geographical Reference, Retain the Sexist One

Mark J. Terrill

The country band formerly known as the Dixie Chicks say they want to “meet this moment,” so they’ve changed their name, reports Rolling Stone.


The Dixie Chicks have officially dropped the “Dixie” from their name. The iconic country-pop trio of Natalie Maines, Emily Strayer, and Martie Maguire are now simply called “The Chicks,” changing their website URL and their Instagram handle to the new name on Thursday.

On their website, the trio only offered this statement: “We want to meet this moment.” In a press statement, they added, “A sincere and heartfelt thank you goes out to ‘The Chicks’ of [New Zealand] for their gracious gesture in allowing us to share their name. We are honored to co-exist together in the world with these exceptionally talented sisters. Chicks Rock!”

The Dixie Chicks started out as a five-piece bluegrass band comprised mostly of sisters. They stripped down the sound and the number of players, and added singer Natalie Maines to go for country stardom. They achieved that, then used it to power their Bush Derangement Syndrome over the Iraq war.

Reactions to the name change:

The term “Dixie” was in use long before the Civil War to describe the region of the United States that is south of the Mason-Dixon line. That line runs parallel to the border between Pennsylvania and Maryland. The Mason-Dixon line was first surveyed between 1763 and 1767 and was generally understood as the dividing line between the northern and southern states at the time. The Mason-Dixon line was geographical. “Dixie” has fallen out of fashion to describe the southern and former Confederacy states in recent decades, but it is still used by the Winn-Dixie grocery store chain and Dixie Cups, both of which are now on the clock.


As many all over the internet are already pointing out, some find the term “chick” offensive and even sexist. So The Chicks, as they will now be called (for the time being, anyway), have dropped the geography but retained a term considered by some to be demeaning to women.

PJM’s Stephen Green recently quipped that The (formerly Dixie) Chicks should change their name to The Karens*. I ran across them a couple of times at bluegrass festivals long before they were famous. They were always talented and had the “it” factor. But they also tended to be difficult for event promoters and fledgling young radio producers who just wanted some sound bites for the weekly bluegrass show.

The Chicks should just go ahead and trademark The Karens for their next inevitable name change.

*The Karens in my own life are nothing like “Karen,” as it has come to be used to describe insufferable, overentitled, middle-aged white women who always seek to speak with the manager over usually trivial offenses and non-offenses. I blame someone not named “Karen” for coming up with this widely used shorthand, which will be deemed offensive and unusable before long. Some actual Karen out there will see to that, or Slate will publish an article calling for the re-evaluation of “Karens” and their contributions to positive societal change. 


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