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A big topic recently has been women empowerment in music and media. A few names are always mentioned: Lady Gaga, Lizzo, Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus…but I feel like there are more underground or indie artists that need to be included as well. Florence + The Machine, Lana Del Rey, and MARINA (formerly Marina and the Diamonds) are a few that I especially enjoy; though they’re still pretty big names, I feel like no one is talking about them. Especially MARINA. I discovered her in high school; I loved her unique, peppy style and incredible voice that can cover so many octaves! Once I was hooked by the music, I started to pay attention to the lyrics, and they are not only inspiring to woman, but just people. MARINA gets that life is complicated and we’re all just doing the best we can; she hits on real life issues, and they come out in her songs.

Hard work can get you what you want

In “Are You Satisfied,” MARINA first of all asks if we’re okay with an average life, but she also encourages us that if we work diligently, we can accomplish our goals. She tells us that we are the only ones responsible for making something of ourselves, and the pace we make it happen is up to us. If we’re not willing to put the work in, that’s fine, but we’ll have to be okay with not living out the best we can be.

Live authentically, don’t become a machine

“Oh No!” has to be one of my favorite songs from MARINA. The repeated point is that she knows exactly what she wants and who she wants to be. But more than just that, she is cognizant of the other factors that get in the way from her being ‘exactly who she wants to be.’ She is aware that media/television, material possession, and her own self-fulfilled prophecy have a tendency to get in the way and challenge the way we not only view the world around us, but ourselves as well. 

Vulnerability doesn’t make us weak

In “Power and Control,” MARINA recognizes we all kind of suck at love, and it can warped into some strange power struggle between men and women (sidebar: love should never be a power trip). But at the end of day, we can be pretty vulnerable, and that is NOT weakness. Especially when dealing with fragile things such as human emotions. 

Women need to decide for themselves 

“Sex Yeah” is ICONIC. MARINA spells out how the oversexualization of girls causes them to act out and question how they “should be.” Historically, different sources (some good, some bad) tell girls how they need to act. With this in mind, they need to really consider who they are meant to be according to themselves. Essentially, she says that women need to fight for what they believe, not what society tells them they need to be. 

Youth isn’t always pretty

MARINA recognizes the issue of wanting to feel pretty and validated but not always having things go as planned in “Teen Idle.” Sometimes, the desire to be pretty can lead to some damaging and very ugly effects such as narcissism, eating disorders and depression. We all like to pretend we have it together, but no one really does. (And that’s okay! Always remember to reach out to someone if you’re struggling.)

Be your own boss

“Hypocrates” talks about how MARINA’s significant other is telling her what she should be doing while he does the opposite thing. There is an apparent double standard and MARINA is over it. She says how her boyfriend only wants to own her, and that’s the kind of love he gives her. She is smart enough to know a “love” based on ownership is not love at all, and women need to be wary of people/relationships like this. 

Don’t be afraid!

In “Fear and Loathing,” MARINA talks about how she is concerned about the way people view her or think of her, and she’s tired of living that way. She wants to live her own life and not live in fear of being judged by everyone. 

A healthy relationship is about support

I love “Superstar” because though it’s about her relationship, MARINA says how she and her significant other have worked so hard and come so far to be together. They support each other when they’re weak and help each other out. Fun reminder: to be an empowered woman doesn’t mean you can’t have a man. A man can be one of the people in your group who empowers you, and that is good! Feminism is for everyone, and isn’t a vow to single life. The most important thing is having a partner who supports and empowers you, which MARINA happily has.

Sometimes you can’t fix it all 

In “Enjoy Your Life,” MARINA talks about savoring the here and now. Focusing on the future takes away from the present moment, the past is over, so enjoy right now. And right now may be difficult, and there will always be issues you can’t solve, but you need to make the best of what you do have. Stressing about every little thing won’t make it better, so do what you can and try to enjoy the rest. 

Be true to yourself

In “True,” MARINA talks about how the best person you can be is yourself. People will always try to tell you what’s best for you, but really you need to be in control of yourself and only you can make decisions about your destiny and future. 

Our life choices are different and that’s okay

Similar to before, “Life is Strange” talks about how no one really knows what we’re doing. We’re all trying to figure it out and following different paths. Though our paths may be different, we shouldn’t judge each other’s paths because we’re taking the one that works best for us. It may not work for somebody else, but that doesn’t make it wrong. 

These are just a few of the messages I’ve gotten from her songs that I especially enjoy; but I’m sure there are many more if you check out some other songs. Overall, I think MARINA just gets that life is hard, and we’re all doing our best. Someone’s way may look strange, but she just wants us to work hard to do what’s best for ourselves and not judge others doing the same in a different way. And isn’t that what feminism is all about?


HXCO, Lyss

Alyssa Dicker

Millersville '20

Alyssa will be graduating in May 2020 with her bachelors in Communications-Public Relations. She also is double minoring in English-Journalism and Marketing. Drawing inspiration from her relationship since 2014, Alyssa's favorite topics to write about are relationships and relationship advice. After school, she is getting married in October to her fiance Brandon, an ICU nurse at UPMC Pinnacle. Professionally, she hopes to work somewhere where she can be an advocate for children. 
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