They say music is powerful. It’s been blamed for massacres, for kids having sex, for changing moods, and for inspiring ideas. I’m inclined to agree—a few days ago I was driving around in a horrible mood and when I certain song came on I let out a deep breath. It felt like the first time I had exhaled in days. The power of music, am I right? Anyway, it led me to think about “feminist” songs. Not man hating, or ‘You Oughta Know’ songs, but songs that make me go … “Dang that woman is tough.”
Here are my top five feminist songs, in no particular order:
Aretha Franklin, “Respect”: This song needs no explanation. I don’t care if you like Motown or not, Aretha kills it in this song, so you better show her some r-e-s-p-e-c-t!
Nancy Sinatra, “These Boots Are Made for Walkin”: Nancy Sinatra had an awful voice. She had limited range and got this record because of her Dad … but all of that aside she was not only tough and strong in these lyrics, she was fashionable, too.
Madonna, “Human Nature”- Naturally Madonna made the list. She did, after all, start the whole “women can be strong and sexy” stance. Let’s be honest: Human Nature is hot and racy and politically incorrect.
Tupac “Keep Your Head Up” - Oh yeah, Tupac is THE MAN in this song.
And since we all came from a woman
Got our name from a woman and our game from a woman
I wonder why we take from our women
Why we rape our women, do we hate our women?
I think it’s time to kill for our women
Time to heal our women, be real to our women
And if we don’t we’ll have a race of babies
That will hate the ladies, that make the babies
And since a man can’t make one
He has no right to tell a woman when and where to create one
And Exhibit B:
And when he tells you you ain’t nothing don’t believe him
And if he can’t learn to love you you should leave him
Cause sista you don’t need him
I mean come on, that song is an anthem for being good to a woman and to a woman’s strength. It doesn’t get more pro-woman than that, my friends.
Dolly Parton, “Just Because I’m a Woman” – I’ve just realized I haven’t written enough about Dolly Parton and my love (obsession) for Dolly. She is perfect to me. I mean, she turned down Elvis! … Well, turned down the opportunity for him to sing her song because he wanted his name above hers. But hey! Nope, sorry, Dolly doesn’t play that game … her song her name. She is so B.A.
In “Just Because I’m a Woman” she sings “Now I know that I’m no angel / If that’s what you thought you’d found / I was just the victim of / A man that let me down / Yes, I’ve made my mistakes / But listen and understand / My mistakes are no worse than yours / Just because I’m a woman.” She owns her mistakes, puts the man in his place and looks good doing it.
Those are my top five feminist songs, with honorable mention to Leslie Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me,” Patti Smith’s “Rock and Roll N*****,” and Metric’s “Glass Ceiling.” Leave yours in the comments.