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Why it’s Okay to be “Too Emotional”: Lessons from Olivia Rodrigo

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

If you know me, you know I love Olivia Rodrigo. Like most people, I became a fan of her in the past year with “drivers license” and I’ve been listening to her ever since. One of the things I respect most about her songwriting is her ability to write her emotions into music, and that’s exactly what she did with her debut album. The 11-song project is a compilation of heartbreak, anger, jealousy, and teenage angst, denoting a period in her life that fit the title “SOUR.” 

She’s obviously not the first to do this, and she credits her inspiration to Taylor Swift, Lorde, Hayley Williams, and other women in the industry before her. What all these artists share is not only their talent for creating music, but the same criticism for writing “too much” of something. Like writing too many breakup songs, too many sad songs, or being too “angry” in their lyrics. The truth is, they simply write about their experiences and the things that they feel, and that forms the basis of their songs and the themes of their albums.

My question is, why do we only criticize female artists for writing about their feelings and not men? The reason I liked “SOUR” so much is because I felt like I could relate to Olivia, even as someone who hasn’t experienced a breakup or a major heartbreak. At the time the album dropped, it felt validating to know that there was another 18 year old with the same insecurities and growing pains I had. It’s the same connection I had to Taylor Swift’s “folklore” and Lorde’s “Melodrama.” It’s just meaningful to feel like your emotions are put into words and into a song.

I don’t think most women are “too” emotional, we’re just conditioned to think that we are. Olivia Rodrigo proved that it’s possible to write an album with not one happy song, and still chart at number one. So, write music about whatever you want, and listen to as many or as few sad songs as you need. At the end of the day, there’s no shame in being honest about how you feel.

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Sumayah Mohamed

U Mass Amherst '25

Sumayah is a freshman communication disorders major.