3 Songs From the Past to Empower Women

I am completely obsessed with music. It has taken over so much of my life that I work with radio at school. I’m also obsessed with self-love and the idea of woman empowerment. That’s why hearing a song that empowers women is very important to me. We all know the ones from today like “Who Run the World” and “Fight Song,” but I like to think of some of the songs of the past, too. This list is dedicated to three of my favorites.

  1. 1. "Bad Reputation" Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

    This song tells you right from the beginning how Joan Jett feels. She does not care at all about what people think about her because she likes herself. If that is not something to give anyone assurance or the need to prove themselves the same way, I don’t know what else will.

    The song isn’t just a song either. I would call it somewhat autobiographical. Having started her career in rock as a teenager, Jett always had to prove herself among men. She made her presence so well-known, that sometimes it is hard to remember she has a band with her.

    People have often questioned who she was and her sexuality, but Jett has always just said that people can think however they want about her, which helps emphasize the importance of this song.

    While it is not guaranteed that it will change who you are as a person, for a few minutes you will feel like you can conquer anything. Who knows, maybe you won’t give a damn about what people think about you either.

  2. 2. ”I Am Woman” Helen Reddy

    This song does not sound like it would be empowering. It’s a little bit folksy and there’s a vibe of delicacy to it, but Helen Reddy’s voice exudes the joy and pride she has in herself for being a woman. The first time I listened to it, I can honestly say that it made me more happy that I was who I was. It made me want to find my voice so that people could “hear me roar,” too.

    This song isn’t only good for cis-gendered women either. I think this song can help showcase confidence and pride that transgendered women may want to feel when they are comfortable in the skin they know they were meant to have. There is something so emotional about this song that it proves women are women. It proves women are strong.

    Reddy’s voice is beautiful and unassuming enough that it is able to get the message out, but still not come off too strong. I think that makes it perfect for any woman, even the ones who still want to hold back or are a little bit shy.

  3. 3. ”You Don’t Own Me” Lesley Gore

    Back in the 1960s, women were stuck in a traditional rut of being quiet and unassuming. They were seen as easy to control, but Lesley Gore was definitely not having that. Starting off soft and gentle, Gore’s voice grows louder and bolder with every single word. Once the chorus hits, it is all over. She means what she is saying.

    Women are not playthings and do not belong to anyone. If they want to do something, they have the right to do it. That was not often discussed back then. Even my grandmother had told me that “You Don’t Own Me” changed how a lot of women viewed themselves and their worth. I would say that makes this song all the more empowering.

    This song is haunting in all the right ways. Gore showed that it was okay to try new things and that women did not have to stick to the same routine that they had been used to. I recommend this song for every woman, especially those who have been controlled or manipulated by someone.