Who run the world? 21 feminist bangers to get you through quarantine
Looking for a little feminist inspiration to get your through the final stretch of quarantine? We’ve got just the thing. Head to Spotify for our first-ever playlist of feminist anthems that you can dance or boss up to. Like any good mix tape, it’s a healthy mix of classics and deep cuts, but they’ve all got one thing in common—they’re intersectional, empowering, certified bangers.
So grab some headphones or blast it for all to hear, and tune in for a little girl-power-fest while we tell you a little about each track and the badass woman behind it. Enjoy, Feministas.
1. “Womxn” by Låpsley
Upbeat, atmospheric, and just the right intro to the next hour and eleven minutes of pure feminist inspo. It touches on those tender years when we transition into womanhood and start to own our power—"and there’s a girl in the mirror and a womxn on my shoulder / back in a minute and she’s five years older.” Close your eyes and sing along as the tempo builds: “I look, I breathe, I feel like a womxn. Ooooh.”
2. “Mother’s Daughter” by Miley Cyrus
Miley likes to make a statement, and this track delivers in a uniquely feminist way. Just check the chorus: “don’t fuck with my freedom / I came up to get me some / I’m nasty, I’m evil / must be something in the water / or that I’m my mother’s daughter.” It’s a tribute to her mom, Tish Cyrus, but also to badass women everywhere. Oh, and the music video is new age meets punk vibes, unapologetically feminine, and features a diverse cast of activists on the rise. “So back up, back up, back up boyyyy.”
3. “S.L.U.T.” by Bea Miller
Goodbye slut-shaming, and hello S.L.U.T. Bea Miller reaches peak feminist with lyrics that are a nonstop celebration of unapologetic women and reclaims what has become a decidedly derogatory term with a new, empowered acronym: “sweet little unforgettable thing.” Here. For. It.
4. “Like a Girl” by Lizzo
No one does feminism quite like Lizzo. Almost any of her songs could have made this list. But this one starts with the lyric, "woke up feelin’ like I just might run for president,” so we didn’t have much of a choice. As always, she brings the joy, proves once again that empowered women empower women with shout outs to other lady bosses like Lauryn Hill and Serena Williams, and makes you want to belt out the lyrics right along with her: “do your thing, run the whole damn world.”
5. “Confident” by Demi Lovato
“What’s wrong with being confident?” Not a damn thing, Demi. This singer has spent her whole life in the public eye and has understandably stumbled along the way. But using her voice to own her flaws and destigmatize things like mental illness, body dysmorphia, and substance abuse has made her a real role model for anyone battling their own demons and hoping to channel them into something positive. This song is all about owning your success when it finally comes, and that feels pretty damn feminist to us.
6. “Most Girls” by Hailee Steinfeld
This juicy track revels in the diversity of women—some girls feel best in their tiny dresses / some girls, nothin’ but sweatpants, lookin’ like a princess) and drives home that every experience is valid and other girls are not our competition. It’s uplifting, full of tropical dancy vibes, and just about as feminist as mainstream house songs get. Steinfeld calls it “empowerment pop” and that is a genre we are can get behind.
7. “Resilient” (ft. Aitana) by Katy Perry [Tiesto Remix]
Katy Perry has made a habit of bringing the girl power with her sing-along feminist hits over the years (Dark Horse, Roar, and Firework are just a few) and this new one does not disappoint. We included the remixed version because it’s a little more upbeat and features Spanish singer Aitana, who’s hit “Lo malo” has become a feminist anthem in its own right. Double the tempo, double the feminism.
8. “GIRLS” by CHANMINA
Say hello to Chanmina, your new favorite South Korean/Japanese rapper. Throw on this feminist anthem when you’re feeling grateful for your girl gang and sing the chorus in English together: “all my girls, let it go, you are so f*ckin’ beautiful.” Her collab w/ K-pop artist Taeyeon called #GirlsSpkOut rules too.
9. “The Greatest” (ft. Kendrick Lamar) by Sia
Women know a thing or two about stamina, so Sia’s lyrics hit home: “don’t give up, I won’t give up… I’m free to be the greatest, I’m alive.” Yes, this one features a Kendrick Lamar, but he did win a Pulitzer Prize and if we’re going to have a token man in the mix, he might as well be qualified ;)
10. “Sissy that Walk” by RuPaul
This one’s made for the catwalk, so turn it up, strut a little and bow down to the queen because RuPaul really can do it all. A champion of the LGBTQIA+ community, the king of drag, and apparently a kickass singer too. “If I fly or if I fall, at least I can say I gave it all” feels like the perfect celebration of her bravery and success.
11. “I’m Every Woman” by Chaka Khan
Disco queen Chaka Khan came out with this feminist classic in 1978, and it’s been a banger and an inspiration ever since. “Anything you want done, baby, I do it naturally.” Need we say more?
12. “Man’s World” by MARINA
She’s been praised for her vulnerability and honesty around topics like mental illness and misogyny, as well as her empowering LGBTQIA+ anthems, and this new track continues in that thoughtful, feminist vein. With lyrics like “don’t estimate the making of life” and a chorus that goes as follows, this one covers sexism and climate change in a way that feels both unapologetic and fun to listen to: “Mother Nature’s dying / nobody's keeping score / I don't wanna live in a man's world anymore.”
13. "Swan Song” by Dua Lipa
This was written for the movie Alita: Battle Angel and it’s got big motion picture girl boss energy. Put this on when you need a little extra push to speak up for yourself and let Dua Lipa inspire you: “I won’t stay quiet, I won’t quiet, because staying silent’s the same as dying.”
14. “Whole Lotta Woman” by Kelly Clarkson
A bona fide body positive celebration of loud and proud southern women, with country vibes and a bunch of bass to back it up. Just try to sit still when the beat drops and Kelly belts “I’m a whole lotta woman… I’m a strong badass chick with classic confidence.” We dare you.
15. “Hijabi” by Mona Haydar
Killer beat, killing-est message. According to the artist, “it’s about tearing down the invisible structures that oppress women in ways most of us don’t even realize. Hijab, pregnancy—none of it holds me back.” Which is clear as hell in the video and super empowering.
16. “Respect” by Aretha Franklin
Number 5 on The Rolling Stone’s list of The Greatest Songs of All Time, and number one in our hearts. It’s no coincidence that this song gained popularity with Aretha, one of the most legendary musicians and vocalists of all time AND, in her free time, a serious advocate and activist for civil rights, women’s rights, and Indigenous Peoples’ struggles in the U.S. and worldwide.
17. “Pussy is God” by King Princess
Finally, the queer feminist anthem we’ve been waiting for. This song quite literally puts the pussy on a pedestal, but in a good way… Seriously though, how often do we get to hear that word in such a positive context, with nothing but sincere praise by a woman who’s comfortable with her sexuality? It’s nice. This one’s going on repeat.
18. “Free Woman” by Lady Gaga
Gaga has plenty of feminist hits, but this is one helluva dancy reminder that independence is something to celebrate. “I'm not nothing without a steady hand / I'm not nothing unless I know I can / I'm still something if I don't got a man / I'm a free woman.” Sing it in your shower ‘til you can sing it on the dance floor.
19. “9 to 5” by Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton is having a comeback moment right now and, honestly, praise be. This little number came out in 1980 and continues slay the working woman’s anthem game. In it, she literally pours herself “a cup of ambition,” so pour yourself something and listen to Dolly do her thing.
20. “Dancing On My Own” by Robyn
It’s ten years old at this point, but you wouldn’t know it. This Swedish pop star is the queen of gay disco and in this track, pairs sad lyrics with an upbeat, synthy sound—and invites us all to dance our problems away, even if we’re all by ourselves while we do it. It’s been a popular song for the pandemic and quarantine, and we like it as a reminder of our strength, even in heartbreak.
21. “Run the World (Girls)” by Beyoncé
“Who run this mother?” Last but not least, the GOAT of feminist anthems by the GOAT of feminist pop, hip hop and R&B. “Boy, you know you love it / How we're smart enough to make these millions / Strong enough to bear the children / Then get back to business.” I mean, come on. No one slays the boss game like Queen B. Happy listening :)
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