How has music empowered women? Looking at music from 1960s to present-day we can see how various music artists encapsulate themes like independence, female solidarity, sexuality and being bold. These feminist anthems inspire and can make you feel proud towards your femininity.
You don’t own me
The original ‘You don’t own me’ by Lesley Gore released in 1963 has a huge focus on female independence. The message of control over herself and choices are perpetually relevant especially in today’s political climate. The breadth of this song can be seen as it was covered again in 2015 by SAYGRACE ft. G-Easy. For example, this song begins in minor then switches to major creating a sense of being uplifted. The lyrics steer away from the objectification of women through examples like “I’m not just one of your many toys” and “don’t put me on display”. ‘You don’t own me’ empowers by refusing to be owned.
Punk rock single ‘Rebel girl’ was released by Bikini Kill in 1993 giving attention to female solidarity and desire. Lead singer Kathleen Hanna describes partly being inspired by feminist artist Juliana Luecking. She helped her navigate being a feminist artist. She also explores a lesbian/ bisexual perspective. Therefore, embracing female sexuality shown in an interview how she admired older girls and wanted “to be them, or be like them, or make out with them”.
Female sexuality is praised in the modern and controversial single by Megan the Stallion and Cardi-B ‘WAP’. This song empowers through it’s unwavering confidence towards female pleasure. This is still stigmatized in today’s society.
Of course, the talented Beyoncé, who many describe as a Goddess, has performed many empowering songs. One of her more emotionally vulnerable songs, ‘If I were a boy’ written by Toby Gad and BC Jean. It displays a story about suffering from men’s behaviour and the unfair double standard in a relationship. In this song she imagines her actions as a man would have no personal consequence. This is because “the guys” would “stick up for me”. In the outro, the key difference in perspective is acknowledged because “you’re just a boy/ you don’t understand”. He has taken her for granted and “someday, you’ll wish you were a better man”. Crowd pleasing, simple yet strong single ‘Run the World (Girls)’ is a great example for female empowerment as the message gives females strength and confidence.
Feet don’t fail me now
The process of being bold and proud towards your identity is conveyed in Joy Crooks 2021 ‘Feet don’t fail me now’. This song looks to encourage other to speak out while acknowledging the fear around being proud. The music video shows the singer wearing a white sari on a motorbike surrounded by laughing men. This illustrates a powerful, empowering message about challenging norms and being bold.
Do you have any personal empowering anthems?