(Via Time Out )
If the term “feminist music” conjures up images of the Lilith Fair—or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, the Spice Girls and their message of “girl power”—that’s great! Our goal here is to expand your worldview. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite feminist songs, including powerful tunes by Sleater-Kinney, Aretha Franklin and more. Our selection is a diverse mix of old and new songs, including notable hip-hop artists such as Nicki Minaj and the best punk bands like Le Tigre and The Slits. What these feminist songs all have in common is a decidedly pro-woman message, perfect for literally every occassion.
1.“Respect” by Aretha Franklin
Okay, yes, this was written by a man: Otis Redding penned the tune in 1965. But the Queen of Soul’s version is the definitive take on the song, in no small part because, by changing the gender roles, she subverts the original intent. But credit must also be given to the soul singer’s powerful performance; Franklin doesn’t just ask for her man’s respect, she flat-out demands it.
2. “Just a Girl” by No Doubt
Mischievous punk queen Gwen Stefani insists she didn’t write this tune as a feminist anthem (“I just wrote it because my dad wouldn’t let me drive at night!”) but intention doesn’t equal impact, you know? Her parodic takedown of misogynistic stereotypes casting women as frail, dependent and needy became an essential sonic centerpiece for all ’90s teen-girl bedrooms, and that opening riff is nothing short of iconic.
Despite frontwoman Kathleen Hanna’s objections to being pegged as the mouthpiece of riot grrrl, this Bikini Kill song is among the movement’s most enduring anthems. As an ode to female bonds, the tune was downright revolutionary for girls who may have otherwise felt alienated from their peers. Any young woman who’s found themselves in the throes of a girl crush—be it romantic or simply a deep platonic admiration—will recognize themselves in the lyrics: “I really like you / I really wanna be / Your best friend / Be mine, rebel girl.”
The song starts off quietly enough, with frontwoman Poly Styrene (who passed away in 2011) reciting the hoary proverb, “Some people think little girls should be seen and not heard,” in a bored monotone. But she follows it with a gloriously angry rallying cry: “But I think, oh bondage, up yours!” Sometimes the simplest message is the most effective.
With its dub-infused 1979 album, Cut, the Slits laid the groundwork for riot grrrl and other feminist punk to come. In this single, lead singer Ari Up makes efficacious use of incisive wit and irony to protest stereotypes of woman as passive, frail and submissive: “Typical girls you can always tell / typical girls don’t rebel.”
To view the full list compiled by Time Out, Click Here.