Song 1: Christina Aguilera, Fighter
When to listen to it: When you’ve had enough and you’re locating your sense of personal power.
What it will do for you: This song is great for getting some perspective. All women go through experiences in life (usually caused by patriarchy let’s face it), which they have to learn to rise above. In this song Christina thanks someone who betrayed in her life, because the experience has now turned her into a completely badass warrior woman who takes literally no shit whatsoever.
Listening to this song helped me to accept some of the difficult experiences of oppression I have faced with men in my life and to be grateful for them, because yes, now I am a fighter! If I ever have flashbacks about said oppressions and injustices, I just listen to this and my world is restored to it’s rightful order.
Song 2: Hole, Plump
When to listen to it: When you are fed up of stereotypes about what women should do and be like.
What it will do you for you: In my opinion, no-one does blistering rage quite like Courtney Love did in her band Hole in the 1990’s. Listening to Hole’s most famous album ‘Live Through This’ may feel like physical assault, but that’s kind of the point and it’s worth it. When I want my female anger to be validated, and fast, I always play Hole.
This song is particularly pleasing because it rattles the cages of conventional ideas of womanhood, (‘I don’t do the dishes, I throw them in the crib’), and is overall a blatant attack on patriarchy (‘your milk’s in my mouth, it makes me sick’). If you feel like sticking your fingers up to everything women have to put up, you need to play this. Loud.
Song 3: Nina Simone, Feeling Good
When to listen to it: When you want to feel good, or you feel damn good already.
What it will do for you: It’s almost a revolution in itself to be a woman and to feel good. This is a great track to stick on when you are starting over in life, and feel (or want to feel) reborn. I remember playing this after moving house and leaving a difficult friendship behind.
The song is about freedom and freedom as a woman, especially a woman navigating multiple oppressions, can be hard to come by. Women have to find their own sense of freedom in life and nurture this. Nina’s beautiful, uplifting voice can help you to do it.
Song 4: Lauryn Hill, Doo Wop That Thing
When to listen to it: When you need to remember your self-worth.
What it will do for you: This song is mainly about women getting used by men for sex, but it has some great confidence boosting advice and support which can translate over to many different kinds of relationship experiences. It’s all about respecting yourself, self-care and self-love. Remember; ‘Respect is the minimum’.
Song 5: Pharrell Williams, Lost Queen
When to listen to it: When you need to believe men can be feminists.
What it will do for you: I feel like this song is really about a man acknowledging a woman’s divinity, as well as her need to rely on her own experience and sense of the world. It’s not often we hear men encouraging this. In fact the whole album ‘Girl’ is dedicated to women and has many feminist overtones.
Pharrell doesn’t necessarily have a great track record with feminist songs (I’m thinking of ‘Blurred Lines’ in particular), however this song goes some way at least towards making compensatory steps.
Song 6: Neneh Cherry, Buffalo Stance
When to listen to it: When you need some mixed race feminism!
What it will do for you: Neneh’s not turned on by traditional ideas of masculinity. She doesn’t want a man who has a stereotypically manly image and lots of money. She wants a man who is in touch with his feelings and sensitivity, and is able to treat her with tenderness. She can also see through womanisers and men who use women to prop themselves up. This song is ultimately about superficiality and looking past appearances. Neneh acknowledges that for both men and women, ‘looking good is a state of mind’.
If you want some 80’s music and a song that helps you to clarify what to look for as a dating feminist, this could be the tune for you.
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