August 01, 2021
20 feminist songs to empower you this summer
Happy Monday, Feministas. We’ve got a new playlist all ready to share with you, full of feminist pop ballads and bangers that will inspire the very best in you this summer. March to it, dance to it, call your Senator and demand change to it--whatever feminist action these tracks may inspire, we are here for.
And guess who else is here for it? Superstars like Olivia Rodrigo, Dua Lipa, and Billie Eilish. Always-there-for-you feminist stand-bys like Beyoncé, Fifth Harmony, and Lizzo, honey. Plus, our very own fresh finds like MILCK, Sofi Tukker, and Emily King. All here for you in the form of empowering feminist melodies.
So let’s all start the week off right--with a heavy dose of girl power--and enjoy the sweet, poppy sounds of the patriarchy getting smashed, the glass ceiling being broken, and powerful women celebrating one another, one tune at a time.
1. Quiet by MILCK
2. Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys
Does it get more empowering than this? The one and only Alicia Keys, vocal powerhouse and R&B icon, gifted us this feminist anthem back in 2012 and it’s been a favorite ever since. Plus, if it made First Lady Michelle Obama’s short list of empowering songs for women, then we think it deserves a place on little-old-ours as well ;)
3. Freedom (ft. Kendrick Lamar) by Beyoncé
Speaking of icons… yes, Queen B was on our last playlist (twice) and yes, she’ll probably be on our next playlist, but the woman is a veritable fount of inspiring, intersectional feminist bops and ballads--all of which are instant classics upon release and continue to move us on the daily.
This particular track is a powerful call to action for activists and allies who support the Black Lives Matter movement, with lyrics like, “I'm a wall, come and march on the regular” and “'Cause I need freedom, too / I break chains all by myself”--an important reminder to stand up and fight for what we believe in: equality for all.
4. you should see me in a crown by Billie Eilish
When exactly did trappy industrial electropop become mainstream? It’s hard to care when it’s Billie Eilish bringing the beats. If you were anywhere near wifi during lockdown, you probably witnessed Billie’s blonde bombshell transformation, when she discarded her signature green and black wig for something a little more classic… and practically broke the internet. Critics and fans alike made their (unsolicited) opinions known and the 19-year-old took it all in stride.
She’s an important example for young women that it’s okay to change your mind, your hair, your style--whatever--and that while the world may think you owe them something, you don’t. In an interview with Billboard, she said she never expected to write a song that was “almost empowering” after writing so many sad tunes, but here we are. (And we are not mad about it.)
5. it’s not u it’s me by Bea Miller, 6LACK
This song playfully turns the phrase “it’s not you, it’s me” on its head, and makes it all about needing some space and being okay without a partner: “I’m the only one I need, cause I’m leaving you for me.” Don’t know who needs to hear this, but whoever you are: YOU. ARE. ENOUGH. And this track lets you sing that truth at the top of your lungs. It’s bouncy, uplifting… it’s the only song we need.
6. Feeling Good by Sofi Tukker
7. BO$$ by Fifth Harmony
We like to think of BO$$ as this decade’s Independent Woman (by Destiny’s Child). It’s by the badass all-girl group Fifth Harmony and it’s all about financial independence, getting the respect you deserve, and the female role models who set that shining example. Among those role models? A couple of our all time feminist faves: Michelle Obama and none other than Oprah, baby.
8. GIRLS GIRLS by Icona Pop
This one’s a cheery, boppin’ feminist anthem to put on with the girl gang. It’s simple, yes, but it’s no less empowering than the rest. After all, what’s more important than babes supporting babes? In good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, in the boardroom and, in this case, on the dance floor :)
9. Kill Em With Kindness by Selena Gomez
“The world can be a nasty place, see, we don’t have to fall from grace, put down the weapons you fight with, and kill ‘em with kindness.” In the midst of our fight for equality, we can lose ourselves in the feminist rhetoric or the “us vs. them” mentality. In arguments or clashes of opinion, it’s important to remember there’s a person on the other end. In this feminist track (which really is a banger BTW) Selena reminds us to embrace our traditionally female super powers from time to time--that empathy and kindness can go a long way.
10. Pin-Up Daddy (Brian Robert Jones Remix) by Rett Madison
This gender-bendy bop is such a fun one, and has an important message at its core. Rett Madison takes us through her childhood--going to pageants and feeling out of place, putting on a men’s suit for the very first time, and then embracing her traditionally girly and tomboy sides. And the chorus echoes that self-accepting, gender-fluid sentiment: “no matter what side of the bed I wake up on today, I still rise, I’m alive, I am everything. Don’t give a f*ck what the world thinks they’re looking it. I’m a pin-up daddy, twirlin’ in my heels with my hair slicked back.” Hell yes. More anthems like this.
11. Feel The Way I Want by Caroline Rose
Speaking of self-love and confidence in your own skin, how about these lyrics? “I’m so in love with myself, it’s romantic… I’m gonna feel the way I want to.” Caroline Rose brings a little edge to this pop song, as she rebels against the way women are made to feel in the day-to-day: not good enough. If you’re ever feeling that way, turn this on, let your hair down, and turn it around, loves, because this song was made for you.
12. Can't Hold Me by Emily King
If you’ve ever heard Emily King, you know her voice is magic, and in this case, the lyrics are too. She lets us in on a relationship that’s not living up to her standards, and invites us to sing along as she declares once and for all, “you can’t hold me now, only I can do that… now I don’t have to look no more, I’m the one that I’ve been waiting for.” Because sometimes you are all you need.
13. I’m Coming Out by Diana Ross
Icon alert! Say hello to Diana Ross, who recorded this gem in 1979. It was written as a kind of coded anthem for the LGBTQ+ community, and has remained an important part of the culture ever since. But it works for us here at The Feminista too, since we’re always encouraging our circles to come out as “feminists”--to really own the title and fight with us. “We want the world to know, you’ve got to let it show!”
14. Juice by Lizzo
This one’s our forever self-love song. It’s the sweet we’re sipping all summer, every summer. It’s Juice, and it’s just one of many incredible Lizzo jams with unapologetic body positivity and female empowerment at its juicy core. This track brings some bright, bouncy ‘80s vibes and wants very much to be danced or driven to, so turn it up and share the love with your ladies, because according to Lizzo, “if [you’re] shining, everybody gonna shine.”
15. SUPERBLOOM by MisterWives
If that last wasn’t bright enough for you, how about another anthem that sounds like absolute sunshine? SUPERBLOOM’s all about going through something tough and getting through it because, you know, you’re a “resilient little thing, just like mama made you” and “no one needs to save you.” It’s summer and it’s time to bloom, baby.
16. Make That Money Girl by Zara Larsson
Zara Larsson is a Swedish pop star who started out as a teenager in the music industry, but has always made a point to empower other female artists, and refuses to get involved in any of the usual celebrity gossip & trash talk. So let’s all tune in, tap into the confidence boost inherent in this song, and then do what Zara says already: “get up on the throne, queen.”
17. Boys Will Be Boys by Dua Lipa
You won’t miss the message of this amazing feminist song by Dua Lipa, who’s taking shots at toxic masculinity one lyric at a time. Play it in solidarity with and support of your fellow ladies. And then play it for the men and boys in your life. As she so succinctly puts it: “if you’re offended by this song, you’re clearly doing something wrong.”
18. Scars To Your Beautiful by Alessia Cara
Alessia Cara is one of those artists who is wise beyond her years and isn’t afraid to call herself a feminist. This ballad in particular is all about self-esteem, body positivity, and mental health--letting young girls know that they don’t need to change who they are or what they look like--it’s society that needs to change. And we are ready to change it.
19. The Rose Song by Olivia Rodrigo
I’m sure you’ve all heard “Driver’s License” by now--2021 truly is Olivia Rodrigo’s year, thanks to the success of that hit and her album Sour. But her latest song is a beautiful piano track called The Rose Song, which debuted on Disney’s TV series based on High School Musical about a month ago, is written from the perspective of a rose--always called beautiful, but never fully seen--and invites young people everywhere to know their worth and find the beauty within. Plus, her voice, as usual, is *chef’s kiss*
20. Worth It by Danielle
Oh, and speaking of knowing your worth. Have you heard of Danielle Bradbery yet? Because this song is the definition of last-but-not-least. We’re ending our playlist on a high note with this feminist lovely, which will tug at your heart strings and remind you you deserve nothing but the best in love, friendship, work, and life. So learn the words and belt it along with her. And then go ahead and start the playlist over again :)
Thanks for listening, Feministas. See you next week for more of The F Word, our weekly newsletter and blog on all things feminist, from activism to fashion and beyond. Want it delivered? Scroll down, sign up, and we’ll send it straight to your inbox.