“Ugly both inside and out.”
“You never get to the face because the body’s so good.”
And finally, “Such a nasty woman.”
Those are a few words and phrases President Trump has used to describe the women around him. Luckily, sexist comments don’t discourage most women in this political climate. Instead, most women have retaliated against such remarks and continue working to inspire each other. This can be seen from all parts of the world, from the simultaneous and powerful women’s marches to frequent media messages, from news, influencers and artists alike.
If you need a little reminding about what a woman is about, check out these six artists whose music empower women:
Singer, songwriter and activist, Halsey has strip past the “glam” and “glitter” music and into what she calls “music that points [listeners] in the direction of [how bad the world is],” according to an interview with radio station 104.3 My FM. In her recent song “Nightmare,” a woman’s perspective tells the story of harassment and gender expectations. She sings, “I got no one to smile for, I waited a while for a moment to say I don’t owe you a goddamn thing.” The song is very rockish, but the lyrics still highlight an important message: a woman’s mind can be a powerful weapon.
Lizzo’s popularity grew more when her song “Truth Hurts” was featured in the commercial for the Netflix Original “Someone Great.” The song expresses a woman’s confidence and recognition of her self worth. Lizzo’s music goes beyond that track through her new, power-kicking album “Cuz I Love You,” released in April. Critics such as Pitchfork have dubbed the album “a means to a greater end.” Tracks like “Like a Girl,” “Juice,” “Soulmate,” “Tempo” and more, accentuate this strife for women empowerment and body positivity. This is the kind of music we need to serve as a reminder that we should be comfortable in our own skin.
3. Queen Latifah
Some may know Queen Latifah as a soul singer or even as an actress, but back in the earlier stages of hip hop, she was a predominant rapper and became known as “Hip-hop’s First Lady.” Her song “U.N.I.T.Y.” resonates among women through its powerful, pro-woman statement and legacy as the introduction of feminism into the rap scene, according to Refinery29. Some of Latifah’s projects such as We Do It Together, work with the goal of producing films and TV to uplift women. This is especially important because of how much more needs to be done to stand up and fight for women’s rights.
4. Kelly Clarkson
In 2018, Kelly Clarkson released the ballad “I Don’t Think About You” with her eighth album ”Meaning of Life.” The track has themes about moving on, strength, and embracing past pain, but that’s not her only track that beacons women’s empowerment. The American Idol star emulates this message through her experiences in her songs: “Whole Lotta Woman,” “Invincible,” “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You),” and “Darkside.” Clarkson’s artistry goes beyond surface level strength and touches on strength in vulnerability, healing and forgiveness.
The Beyhive raved when Beyoncé produced her 2019 Netflix Original film “Homecoming” and the album that came with it. Fans saw the real Beyoncé and the hard work put into her successes. Over the years, Beyoncé has earned titles such as “Queen Bee,” “Influential Person,” or even “Most Powerful Woman in Entertainment” to list a few for her projects and creative artistry. Some of Beyoncé’s notable work in music include: “Independent Woman” (Destiny’s Child), “Irreplaceable,” “Single Ladies,” “Formation,” Run the World,” plus so much more. Beyoncé inspires us to be strong-willed and be our own independent women.
6. Fifth Harmony
Despite the girl group’s hiatus, the group’s work never faltered in empowering women across the globe. Fifth Harmony had diverse group members from various backgrounds from the start, which brought out a unique sound that appealed to their fanbase called “Harmonizers.” Songs like “Reflection,” “BO$$,” “Brave, Honest, Beautiful,” “That’s My Girl” and a song from their 2017 album “Sauced Up” emphasize loving yourself, femininity, and most importantly, girl power!
Judith Butler once said “gender is a kind of imitation.” One can assume in our male-dominated society, the imitation is of a men’s standards put in place to maintain a stagnant position for women. Gender can also be seen as a process or a performance which takes time to undo.
Together we can work to build our women up and one day reach the equality our women deserve.