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Songs for the Empowerment of Women

I’ve grown up with a single mother, who is the strongest person I know. She played both the mom and dad role for me. While other “maternal figures” had that opportunity to influence me on the importance of being a woman, they either placed a vision of conservative housewife upon me, or were never in the picture. The women I chose to keep in my life inspire me everyday and remind me how important women are to the world. We are strong people who work hard and show that we are just the same, if not better, than men. Even the good men in my life really support and encourage the strength we carry. I consider myself a feminist.

Now, music plays a nice big role in my life and I create playlists based off of emotion, situations, and topics. I recently created a playlist of songs that I believe can empower the everyday actions of a woman. Regardless of how we should be feeling, according to a stereotype, there are songs that show off what should be the norm for the female race.

*If you are interested in checking out the playlist, it is on Apple Music under “Feminist Anthems” and you can find me by my username @aprilgonz7

Alone by Halsey:

From her Hopeless Fountain Kingdom album, Halsey has been making a mix of love songs, empowerment ballads, and all based from her own personal experiences. The topic of Alone is about a woman who feels this sense of loneliness around a ton of others. There was a past lover and the chorus points out how she’s better off without them. The music video gives a visual with Halsey’s past lover in the HFK series and how she can celebrate her happiness and independence.

In my thoughts, I see it as “although you feel alone in your own head, you can still put yourself on top”. There will always be someone to constantly check on you and want to be in your presence but all we can say is “as soon as you meet me, you’ll wish that you never did.”

Alphabet Boy by Melanie Martinez:

Melanie has good amount of songs revolving around this character called “Crybaby”. From the album of the same name, the story talks of a egotistical boy who pushes Crybaby to her last nerve, giving her the purpose to tell her story. Crybaby talks about how she can grow without the boy’s approval and his repetitive excuses to mention his so-called degree.

I know we’ve all had some guy in this world try to speak for us. I see this song as the perfect clapback to the guys out there who try to “mansplain” for women. Sure, I would love for a man to support me in case of an argument, but I don’t appreciate when I man speaks for me or explain how things should be. I’m an independent person, so why do I need a man to play this role? Fuck all your ABC’s, Alphabet Boy…

Applause by Lady Gaga:

Gaga wrote this song to thank her fans for always supporting her and the work she’s made. Her work has always been personal, out of the ordinary, and clearly, iconic. She can make people gasp in shock but also play the perfect role of an idol.

Applause can be played for anyone, really. I added this in the perspective of a woman who deserves the applause. We live to be successful and if that doesn’t get a round of applause, then I don’t what will.

Black Cat by Janet Jackson:

This is probably my favorite song off her Rhythm Nation album, and I am not afraid to say that. Janet, and her outstanding vocals, sings of the warnings of substance abuse and uses the reference of “nine lives” to compare.

I added this to the playlist because Janet is a feminist icon. She sang of many important topics for years and she has the respect she deserves. The norm of a woman singer is to simply sing about “love and parties”, but she went outside the norm and sang about a topic that is still concerning to this day. It’s a feminist anthem because Ms. Jackson made that song so people will talk.

Blow Your Mind (Mwah) by Dua Lipa:

I think we can all tell Dua Lipa is climbing her way up the charts via empowering songs with a lot of feel good party anthems. The song, from her self-titled album, talks about how she simply won’t change even if she is argued with or is disliked by anyone; all she can guarantee is that all our minds will be blown if nothing is messed up.

I know in my current living situation, I’m expected to have a reaction to what my distant family thinks of me. I know whatever a woman does that’s “so different” is looked at as “attention seeking” and “appalling”, but we’re not going to get so easily offended. Whatever we do to make ourselves happier and more successful, we’ll be the ones the haters are going to be talking about, and it’s usually because they are unhappy with themselves. Tragic.

Boy Band by Dollskin:

THIS BAND IS THE BEST I CANNOT HESITATE THAT ENOUGH

Alright so aside from myself pointing that I love Dollskin, the song Boy Band is about a boy band who really gets things handed to them: their songs are written for them, they don’t have real friends, and they get love and affection so easily. Dollskin is an all girl band that formed five years ago and base their songs on their own experiences. They worked with the School of Rock in Arizona and built their way to perform at Warped Tour, tour Europe, and tour with Tonight Alive. That was all this year by the way.

Ladies, we don’t usually get things handed to us, and when we do, it’s not what empowers us. I would appreciate a cute diamond necklace, but I’ll be very happy if that tampon tax gets lifted. No fake charm, we know what’s up.

Can’t Pin Me Down by Marina and the Diamonds:

She may call herself Marina now, but back then, she was Marina and the Diamonds. Marina wrote this song about being her true self. “Can’t Pin Me Down”, from the album Froot, is about how she anyone can portray her in any way, but she can never be proved of that. I find her “do you really want me to write a feminist anthem, I’m happy cooking dinner in the kitchen for my husband” line the best because I found this to be a feminist anthem.

Marina has always been open about wanting equal rights, and this song is the best to display. I clearly don’t want to be pinned down, and I’m not going to fulfill the expectations of others. We as women, shall not be pinned down, but if we are happy cooking dinner for our s.o’s, that is also valid.

Castle by Halsey:

I think from the lyrics “they wanna make me their queen and there’s an old man sitting on the throne that’s saying I should keep my pretty mouth shut”, we can understand why this song belongs in this category. The song talks about how Halsey is making her way to the top but there’s this male figure in the way of what she was meant for.

Back to the mansplaining topic, this song helps put that to shame. There’s a lot of things in this world that a woman cannot do, simply because a man will say so. It’s disrespectful and clearly not okay. If we’re being called to the stand, it’s for a reason. If a man gets in the way asking us to be nicer or talk less, then we’ll just push them aside. No use crying about it.

Competition by Little Mix:

From their Salute album, “Competition” is about the feminist group telling their s.o’s how constant competitive behavior can be incredibly tiring. When their boys do something, they cheer, but when they or someone else exceed, they fuel with jealously and the need to do better.

The girl group has been open about their feminism and won’t shy away from any topic regarding women and lgbtq rights. I have definitely dealt with men who have tried to compete with the things I’ve accomplished. Ambition can be one thing, but if things get out of hand and become a competition, then clearly the woman in the race is just too good.

Confident by Demi Lovato:

Demi wrote this song to declare her confidence. Social media and news sources were already shaming her for wearing clothes unfit for her expected place as a role model, since she had left Disney. She decided to do exactly the things she was told not to do and proved herself a role model with the things she was already doing. She had short and dark hair, she wasn’t slim like a Barbie doll, and she was okay with being open to the world.

The confidence Demi showed was a message to empower the fans she has out in the world. It’s really up to us to declare the confidence within us and no one can tell us how to be ourselves. If we’re confident in our own way, and it’s look down, we have broken a stereotype built around women.

The Cure by Little Mix:

Disclaimer: there’s going to be a handful of songs from the LM5 album and I am not sorry.

“The Cure” talks about how the ladies of the group found their medicine within themselves. People had tried to bring them down and as human beings, they’ve felt the pain and couldn’t find themselves. It’s okay to feel hurt, but it’s always an inspiration to get back up from the pain. They found more confidence than they already had.

This is an emotional ballad that made its way to the Feminist Anthems because it shows that if they can make it through hardships, then every other woman can. It’s never going to take a second or so, but it will come.

Daughter by Dollskin:

“Daughter” talks about the expectation of a mother and having all these pressures of being the daughter. The band comes together to say that the girl in the story will continue to breathe, even if she’s been broken more than once.

From their Manic Pixie Dream Girl album, “Daughter” speaks to me on such a personal level; not towards my own mother, but towards the expectations family have placed upon my mother and I. They expected her to raise me in a way and even spoke for her when giving me a life lecture. It clearly gave me some trauma, but it made me into the feminist I am today. Women should know they’re not just making their mothers proud, but they’re making everyone proud. Just keep being yourself. Keep on breathing.

Forget by Marina and the Diamonds:

“Forget” tells the tale of constantly being in regret but finally getting to the stage of moving on and forgetting. Marina clearly had to deal with some demons in her past, but she graced past it by creating this upbeat pop song with her incredible vocal range.

I have seen close friends regret some things in their live and I’ve seen some strangers talk of things they wish can change in the past. I say that we shouldn’t keep living in the past and move to change the future. Clearly, we are always going to be the future and things will change and make us happier. Sometimes we just have to forget about it.

God is a Woman by Ariana Grande:

Ariana made a song surrounding the topic of sex appeal and how instead of praising the man for the things he can do, praises herself and all women. It gave me a real Venus vibe when I listened to the song and watched the music video, especially since the goddess of love circulated around love, attraction, and this sexual appeal.

Women tend to shame and be shamed for the topic of sex. My opinion: definitely okay to talk about it and even get confident enough to sing about it. Ariana’s portrayal of that is iconic and incredibly empowering. We aren’t seen as gentle in the song, but godly. Everything is put in the hands of a woman and that’s how we should be seen. It’s all in us.

Hey Girl (ft. Florence Welch) by Lady Gaga:

Hey Girl is such a loving song talking about how two girls will be there for each other. I would like to say that these two artists were meant to sing this track. It is probably my favorite song off Joanne.

Aside from empowering women to strive for greatness, we should also help bring others up. Sure, we fight with others over some issue, but joining forces can create incredible futures for us. If any of us loses our way, we have each other.

How to be a Heartbreaker by Marina and the Diamonds:

This is one song I didn’t expect myself to add to the Feminist Anthems. From the iconic Electra Heart album, “How to be a Heartbreaker” portrays itself in a sort of rule book talking about how not to get your heart broken by anyone, but to be the one who does the heartbreaking.

At first, I used to hate the idea of the song, for it made me think I had to play the person I’m interested in, but that’s not the case. In order to not have your heart broken, you must be the one in control. Men and women share a role in relationships and as a woman, a relationship will work if you have a good handful of control.

IDGAF by Dua Lipa:

Another song from the self-titled album, Dua sings of a past lover who wants back in her life, but all she can say now is “I don’t give a fuck”.

We’ve all had someone, whether is be an ex or a past friend try to make amends, but since we as women know better, we can happily say we’re happier without them. Their sorry’s are late and invalid.

Joan of Arc by Little Mix:

Joan of Arc, we knew as a female soldier who led the French army to victory at eighteen years old. Queen of Hearts was a queen and although an enemy, she knew how to rule. Cleopatra was another queen who ruled and as a royal, buried and still talked about to this day. These strong women were referenced in the Little Mix song, talking about confidence within women.

Back to the confidence topic, all women shouldn’t be afraid to show off what they have. They deserve to feel this sexiness and feel confident to express themselves. Little Mix and myself encourage you to feel as powerful as Cleopatra did when she ruled Egypt, how Joan of Arc led a whole army, and how Queen of Hearts had control of Wonderland. And if we’re asked if we’re the feminist type? Say “hell yeah I am”!

Love a Girl Right by Little Mix:

Another song from the LM5 album, “Love a Girl Right” is about the girls empowering each other and warning the boy in the relationship to treat her right because no matter what, the girlfriend will have backup and she’ll grow stronger.

I love songs like this because it shows that there is support within female groups. The girls clearly live separate and different lives but they always come through for each other. I see myself as the girls. I care for every woman like they’re a mutual friend. We may not speak, but if someone tries to hurt you, I’ll come after them.

Money Power Glory by Lana Del Rey:

This song is why the picture of the playlist is Lana portraying God. “Money Power Glory” is about how Lana does not care about what her lover wants, or what anyone wants in fact. Lana wants the three: Money, power and glory. I mean, she already has it all, she deserved it.

Lana expressed herself so easily and does not care about what anyone thinks. She gains money regardless, has the power to say what she wants, and is glorified by all her fans. I look up the person she is, and I respect the music she produces and releases into the world. Women should hear this song and feel empowered to reach for the things they really want. If it’s money, power, and glory, then you do you.

The National Manthem by Little Mix:

This is what I sing to myself every morning and I get 50% more confident everyday. The short song basically calls women strong and demands men to be faithful to her, because she’s made of magic.

Although it’s short and sweet, this is a good song to listen to. The name pretty much explains itself.

New Rules by Dua Lipa:

I know everyone has had to repeat these rules to themselves every once in a while, but it’s a good things Dua Lipa made a song to remind us. It may be a song about getting over a guy, but it isn’t a heartbroken song. “New Rules” talks about picking yourself and others up after a breakup.

I think this song is good for women because we’re going to have obstacles, and we may not admit it sometimes, but men are in that set of obstacles. I like this song because we can pick ourselves up from those issues through practice and pushing him away. We got new rules.

Persephone by Dollskin:

This is my favorite song off of the girls’ Manic Pixie Dream Girl album. The song talks about taking back all their power and taking down the person aimed in the anti-love song.

Again, we have those assholes in life who try to hurt us, but women are pretty powerful. This song empowers women to stand tall and push those trying to attack us, below us. They are broken bloody messes and Hades will know their names.

Power by Little Mix:

A song I’ve banged my head to multiple times, Little Mix’ “Power” is simply about how they have the power. This was my favorite female empowerment song (until LM5 was released).

But it wasn’t the song that inspired me to add this to the list, but the music video that convinced me. At the last half of the video, the girls are shown walking down a street together, with a crowd of women, including each of the girls’ mothers. The represented female empowerment and I respected that. Empower yourselves. Empower your loved ones. Empower other women. That’s who has the power.

Rubi by Dollskin:

“Rubi” is a story about an imaginary friend with magical powers. She’s deemed a beauty but she is a dangerous force not to be reckoned with.

Rubi is another favorite off the second album, but it empowers me because I am clearly not a force to be reckoned with. All women should feel that way. No woman should have to feel unimportant, but dangerous. We may not bend metal or talk to trees, but at least we have strength within us.

Run the World (Girls) by Beyonce:

If anyone was waiting for this song, now’s the time to cheer. Beyonce deserved this cozy spot in the Feminist Anthems playlist. The song talks about how women work to make the world run properly. No man can function in the world without a woman, and that’s a fact.

I don’t even need to tell you why it’s an anthem, because what Beyonce states in her song is true. Women technically run the world. We go to school and get great jobs. We go to clubs and have a good time. And my favorite line: “strong enough to bare the children, and get back to business”.

Salute by Little Mix:

Salute is about gathering women to stand up and fight for their own rights.

I went as far as learning the song and the choreography. This song may have repetitive lyrics, but the point is to empower women. We are depicted and small, pretty and fragile, but in the end we can fight hard and win.

Scars to Your Beautiful by Alessia Cara:

I find it ironic how I work for Ulta Beauty and I added their current theme song to my Feminist Anthem playlist.

“Scars to Your Beautiful” is a song explaining how the norm should be broken and how everyone, man or woman or non-binary, are beautiful in their own way. There’s no need to change yourself; as long as you present yourself in the way you want to, then you are going to be depicted as strong and beautiful.

I see all women in this style: strong and beautiful. There were times where we had to change ourselves to satisfy an expectation, but times have changed and we are free to express ourselves they want. You are all beautiful.

Shut Up (You Miss Me) by Dollskin:

Yet another song from the incredible all girl band, this song is about, and I quote from lead singer Sydney Dolezal from the last Warped Tour: “this song is for someone you just really want to shut up.”

Yes, we’re missed, we can get annoyed by people we don’t like, and we have every strength in us to tell them to shut up and move on. I share this song to all women because we don’t need that annoying buzz in our heads no thanks to people who want to intrude in our lives.

Strip (ft. Sharaya J) by Little Mix:

Yet another song from the LM5 album (I’m still not sorry), “Strip” empowers women to push aside the drama spoke of them and feel confident with what they have: the skin color they own, the curves they carry, their sexuality and so much more.

Women are constantly told they’re pretty for being thin having “natural” looks. It’s either that or they’re shamed for being too tall, too wide, darker in skintone, and so on. This song is for all types of women. You should embrace who you are and what you have, regardless what anyone has to say.

This is What Makes Us Girls by Lana Del Rey:

The summary of the song from the Born to Die album is a bunch of girls putting their love and wants before all things. It ends with Lana being sent away from her closest friends.

I know the idea of the song defeats the idea of feminism because it’s about “love and crying over boys”, but that is not the case. I picked this song because the girls in this song are describe to put their love and wants before all things. These are all selfish things and it’s not a bad thing to do. Sometimes you have to be selfish to find your true wants and needs. And aside from that, it’s about a close relationship between girls; something that builds the empowerment of women. They were stronger together and that’s what makes us an army of women.

Unstoppable by Sia:

I could’ve picked more than one song by Sia, but this song spoke to me more. This song is about pushing yourself past your own personal demons and showing that you are clearly someone that cannot be stopped. No matter the issues you have going on your life, you will put some armor on and break through all these walls built against you.

This is another song that can be played to empower all genders, but it was suitable for the Feminist Anthem category. The song inspires us to push through everything and show everything and everyone that we cannot be stopped.

Wasabi by Little Mix:

Wasabi is a song to clapback haters and the media writing to bash the singers. It’s a classic clapback song that I didn’t expect to be my favorite off the LM5 album.

Wasabi is a song I would recommend to any woman. I know people who shun me and still talk about me behind closed doors (our floorboards are pretty thin), but they don’t realize that I’m happy and slowly progressing towards success while they’re not. People spill drama and spread rumors, but woman still grow to be beautiful and successful.

Woman Like Me (ft. Nicki Minaj) by Little Mix:

Everything about “Woman Like Me” and the music video is all feminism and I love it all. The song starts with Jesy explaining her independence as a woman, continues with Leigh-Anne explaining the person she is (coffee with two sugars and insecure but working with it). The chorus is played by Jade and Perrie explaining how they’ve made mistakes but they live their lives how they want and ends with the thought of a guy falling for a woman like them.

These girls, and the incredible rap verse by Minaj, expressed themselves and fit it all in the song. I don’t know what can convince me to take this song out of this Feminist Anthem playlist, because to me, this is feminism.

Woman’s World by Little Mix:

The playlist ends on a sad but inspirational note. The theme of “Woman’s World” is how women don’t have equal rights and we’re working towards it, but we’re still over here encouraging our youth and daughters that things will change and no woman will stop the work being put to get what we deserve.

The lyric “try living in a woman’s world” speaks to me and probably to speaks to all women, because it’s not easy being sexualized, to get paid less for our gender, to be shamed for something we’re “not supposed to do”, and another list that goes on for so long. No man will understand what it feels like to be a woman, but it doesn’t tear us down. In fact, we still get empowered to get the rights we deserve. One day, we’ll get everything we deserve and hopefully more.

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