15 Feminist Anthems

In honor of Women’s History Month coming to a close, we present you with 15 Feminist Anthems sure to not only get you moving, but have reveling in the joy of being WOMAN.

Who Run the World (GIRLS) – Beyoncé

No “Feminist Anthem” list would be complete without Queen Bey and this song. Not only is this song the one that can get everyone on the dance floor (and don’t you even try to deny it), it’s a powerful message to women all over the world that without us the world would not only suck (come on fellas, let’s face the facts here), it would cease to exist.

“Boy I know you love it

How we're smart enough to make these millions

Strong enough to bear the children

Then get back to business

See, you better not play me.”

 

Just a Girl – No Doubt

Just a Girl is one of those songs that gets you angry (good angry, but nonetheless), primarily because it uses those three words that every girl hates to hear: just a girl. The phrase “just a girl” implies that a woman can’t do something simply because of their sex – and Gwen’s letting us know she's pissed. She speaks about the double standard that lies between the sexes and the idea that girls need to be protected and shielded from the big-bad world instead of given a chance to conquer it. Like Gwen, I’m sure we can all agree that the archaic idea that a girl can’t do something because they’re “just a girl” is a notion we need to eradicate.

“'Cause I'm just a girl, little ol' me

Well don't let me out of your sight

Oh, I'm just a girl, all pretty and petite

So don't let me have any rights

Oh, I've had it up to here!”

 

Q.U.E.E.N – Janelle Monae Feat. Erykah Badu 

This song needs no explanation - let the words do the talking because lyrically, this song says it all.

She who writes the movie owns the script and the sequel.

So why ain't the stealing of my rights made illegal?

They keep us underground working hard for the greedy,

But when it's time pay they turn around and call us needy.”

 

Bad Reputation – Joan Jett

Being a woman in rock’n’roll is not an easy thing - just ask Joan Jett. For years, she struggled to be taken seriously as a musician instead of just another girl trying to join “the boys club.” Joan was revolutionary for paving the way for women in rock to be taken seriously by proving girls can rock too, thanks in part to her awesome guitar skills and even better songwriting skills. Now at this time, being a woman in rock’n’roll usually left you with a “Bad Reputation,” but like Joan, any woman who finds herself being pushed towards a certain way of living who is then chastised for not conforming to it should shrug it off and just not give a damn. It’s your life, so live the one you want to.

“I don't give a damn 'bout my reputation

You're living in the past, it's a new generation

A girl can do what she wants to do and that's what I'm gonna do.”

 

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper

The epitome of girls just wanting to live their life on their own terms, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun celebrates the fact that women, just like men, don’t want to be cooped up at home cooking and cleaning. They want to travel. They want to explore. But most of all, they want to have fun!

“That's all they really want

Some fun

When the working day is done

Oh girls, they want to have fun.”

 

UnPretty – TLC

UnPretty is a song that deals with the issue of those who bully other people on their looks and the idea that that behavior stems from one’s own self-esteem issues. An instrospective piece, the song is one of the most important songs of the last 15 years that reminds women not to be so hard on themselves and especially others. Remember, girls compete with eachother, but women empower one another. 

“But if you can't look inside you

Find out who am I too

Be in the position to make me feel

So damn unpretty

I'll make you feel unpretty too.”

 

Stronger - Britney Spears

When Britney broke on to the scene in 1998 with “Hit Me Baby (One More Time)” she proclaimed, “My loneliness is killing me” with much of the same teenage angst as every 16 year-old, ever. So, it was great to see two years later that Britney was singing a much different, much happier tune. It's only proof that strength takes time and that the power of a woman's strength can overcome anything.

“But now I'm

Stronger, than yesterday

Now it's nothing but my way

My loneliness ain't killing me no more

I, I'm STRONGER.”

 

Man I Feel Like a Woman – Shania Twain

Shania more than gets it right in this fun country-crossover hit! While being a woman can have its tough moments, the song celebrates one undeniable fact about womanhood: it’s pretty damn fun.

Color my hair, do what I dare

Oh, oh, oh, I want to be free yeah, to feel the way I feel

Man! I feel like a woman!

 

Do It Like a Dude – Jessie J

Jessie J states it plain and simple: anything boys can do, girls can do too.

“I can do it like a brother

Do it like a dude

Grab my crotch, wear my hat low like you.”

 

Can’t Hold Us Down – Christina Aguilera (Feat. Lil Kim)

This is probably one of the most under recognized songs about feminism to come out in the last 15 years. A gem from Christina’s “Dirrty” days, the song calls out men fearful of strong women and questions double standards surrounding sex. We all know the double standards – what makes a girl a “slut,” makes a guy “the man.” Well, Christina, with a little help form Lil’ Kim, is not taking it and they’re here to let you know that nothing, not even long standing social mores, is going to hold them (or any woman) down.

“This is for my girls all around the world

Who've come across a man who don't respect your worth

Thinking all women should be seen, not heard

So what do we do girls?

Shout out loud!”

 

Flawless – Beyoncé

You didn’t think we’d just include ONE Beyoncé song now, did you? Many of Beyoncé’s songs celebrate the beauty of being a woman, but in 2011’s Flawless, Bey reminds us that it’s important that we realize that we are all sisters and that we must empower each other, thanks in part to a clip she uses from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie speech on Feminism. And even on my worst days, when I wake up craving a couple more hours of sleep and wishing I looked like Beyoncé does when she wakes up, I pop on this song and it never fails to make me feel good about myself.   

“Momma taught me good home training

My Daddy taught me how to love my haters

My sister taught me I should speak my mind

My man made me feel so God-damn fine

I’M FLAWLESS!”

 

Respect – Aretha Franklin

When you think of feminist anthems, what is the first song that comes to mind? Yeah, we thought so. The remix of an early Otis Redding tune, Respect has come to represent female empowerment since its release in 1967. By adding the now infamous line, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me,” Aretha helped the song embody the feminist movement of the 60’s and 70’s, while also reminding women of an aspect of life they are more than deserving of.

“I ain't gonna do you wrong while you're gone

Ain't gonna do you wrong (oo) 'cause I don't wanna (oo)

All I'm askin' (oo)

Is for a little respect when you come home (just a little bit).”

 

 

Can’t Pin Me Down – Marina & The Diamonds

Marina & The Diamonds is an act that has consistently put out music criticizing society and its faults since her debut album. On her latest album, Froot, Marina delivers what is probably her best album to date with her most scathing songs. Of this song, Marina has said that, “it’s about people trying to define who you are. It’s about women mainly. It’s about what people expect you to be or who they think you are, when actually they have no idea.” We all know how detrimental society’s expectations of women can be, so it’s great to have songwriters like Marina who celebrate women for what they truly are. We all know that we can never be pinned down, so let’s show em’.

“You might think I'm one thing,

But I am another

You can't call my bluff

Time to back off, m**********r.”

 

Goddess – Banks

We’ve all heard the saying, “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone.” What Banks touches on in this song is the under appreciation of the goddess that lies in every woman. Sometimes in relationship’s, your significant other doesn’t realize your worth until it’s far too late. Sometimes, they try to knock your shine and go from lover to hater. And that should never be something you stand for. So never forget collegiette’s – you’re all goddesses. Folllow Banks' advice and find someone who recognizes that the first time around.

“You put her down, you liked her hopeless

To walk around, feeling unnoticed

You shoulda crowned her, cause she's a goddess

You never got this.”

 

U.N.I.T.Y – Queen Latifah

Finally, we have the original Queen – Latifah that is. When U.N.I.T.Y came out in 1993, it became a hit primarily for its message and easy-to-vibe-to groove. The song shed light on many of the issues faced by women everyday, like cat-calling and domestic violence, while calling for all women to unite and stand together. The song also calls out hip-hop culture for its disrespectful ways of depicting women. The song went on to be Queen Latifah’s biggest hit and even earned her a Grammy! Awards aside, we’re giving this song the top spot for being one of the first pro-women songs in a genre many women still feel misrepresented in. Always listen to the Queen ladies and know your worth.

“This is my notice to the door, I'm not taking it no more

I'm not your personal whore, that's not what I'm here for

And nothing good gonna come to ya til you do right by me

Brother you wait and see.”