From all of us here at Live365, happy International Women's Day! Today we salute the power of feminism and the prosperity of women everywhere. And what better way to celebrate than with some girl power bangers?
There are so many artists and songs that touch on womens' freedom, but the 20 below are our current favorites. Some of the topics they cover include female rage, sexual liberation, independent mindsets, and the power of female friendship. All of them are perfect to blast loud and proud every March 8.
Get ready to dance and sing along to the 20 feminist anthems below. You may rediscover some old favorites, or find your new favorite tune in the batch!
1. "God is a woman" - Ariana Grande
“God is a woman” is the second single from Ariana Grande’s fourth studio album, Sweetener. The main intention of this track is to refer to the pleasures of sex and, consequently, encourage the message of female sexual liberation and domination. But when this song was received by the public, women were also empowered by the song's title and how it relishes in female glory. Paired with this song's music video – which sees Ariana in various deity-like looks – it's a recipe for divine female inspiration. We'll never stop praying to this sultry banger.
2. "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" - Cyndi Lauper
Could we even publish this list without including this classic Cyndi Lauper tune? "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" may be the posterchild of girl power and pleasure. Fun fact: it was originally written by a dude (Robert Hazard) and was supposed to be about how a man views his girlfriends. But when Lauper got her hands on it, she rewrote several of the lyrics, gender-swapping things into her perspective. She did so because of her displeasure about how the feminist wave of the 60s and 70s had died down in the 80s. Hazard was pissed about it, and even sent her a cease and desist order so she'd stop saying she wrote part of the song in interviews. (Which, um, she kind of did?) But we're happy Lauper spilled her guts into this piece of art, and now "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" is considered one of the greatest songs of the 80s.
3. "W.I.T.C.H" - Devon Cole
A clever and sweet pop celebration that will leave you spellbound! "W.I.T.C.H." by newcomer Devon Cole stands for "Woman In Total Control of Herself." Witchcraft has often been linked to feminine energy, and in this song, Cole praises the villainous kitty queens with tricks up their sleeves. "Come out and play, it's fun in the dark / Tell me why you so scared of a woman in charge?" she sings in the bridge. Grab your coven buddies and dance in a circle to this one!
4. "Run the World (Girls)" - Beyoncé
A booming march that cries out the damn truth: girls run the world. In this track – recorded by none other than Grammy queen Beyoncé – African, electronic, and dance elements are mixed together to create a beat full of ultimate feminine power. If this can't persuade you women can build a nation, we don't know what will. Also, it brings tears to our eyes that Beyoncé performed “Run the World (Girls)” as a surprise for Oprah Winfrey’s Farewell Spectacular.
5. "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!" - Shania Twain
A country pop standard that highlights the best parts of being a woman. We think "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!" is Shania Twain's best song to date. We're also obsessed with the fact she did a gender role reversal of Robert Palmer's “Addicted to Love” video for this song's visual. Not only is "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!" a girl power track, but a party anthem. Those opening 7 notes are enough to make both women AND men swivel their hips. "Let's go, girls!"
6. "Rebel Girl" - Bikini Kill
We can't make a playlist of feminist tunes without throwing in some pure Riot grrrl. "Rebel Girl" by Bikini Kill is thought to be inspired by feminist artist Juliana Luecking, whose work greatly influenced the formation of the Riot grrrl movement. Listening to this rockin' track on full blast will make you feel like the queen of the neighborhood.
7. "U.N.I.T.Y." - Queen Latifah
We can't tell you how pumped up we get every time we hear Queen Latifah yell, "Who you callin' a b---h?" in this song's opening. "U.N.I.T.Y." is a Grammy Award-winning piece from the 90s era rap goddess that is a rallying cry for women – especially Black women – during the age of macho gangster rap. This song really hits hard if you or someone you love has experienced cat-calling, domestic violence, or any kind of disrespect from a nasty man. We love modern hip-hop, but Queen Latifah does make a solid point that the sexist language could be toned down.
8. "Venom" - Little Simz
Little Simz has been on the rise in recent years, and "Venom" shows us why. Spitting bars at hyper speed, Simz talks about feminist mental health. This song went viral on TikTok due to one particular section, which definitely feels like the core of the song: "They will never wanna admit I'm the best here / From the mere fact that I've got ovaries / It’s a woman’s world, so to speak. / P---y, you sour. / Never givin' credit where it’s due ‘cause you don’t like p---y in power." We also love how Simz doesn't need a flashy music video in order for this song's message to hit hard.
9. "She Wolf" - Shakira
This 2009 jam will bring out your wild side. "She Wolf" by Colombian artist Shakira encourages women to unleash their sexual ambition when things feel too "domesticated" at home. "She Wolf" was a big hit during its time due to its unique sound and progressive message. With a beat influenced by early discotech and some horn flavoring, you'll howl along with Shakira whenever this song comes out of your closet.
10. "P---y Is God" - King Princess
A song that not only worships female love, but queer love. Written alongside Amandla Stenberg (King Princess' romantic partner), "P---y Is God" connotes a feminine lover with religious imagery. It's not the first time King Princess has connected religion and female sexuality/queer love. They've also talked about it in the songs "1950" and "Holy." Featuring a snazzy sample from “Oochie Wally” by Nas and Braveheart, you'll be dancing every time you hear that heavenly beat drop in the chorus.
11. "Hot Topic" - Le Tigre
"Hot Topic" pays homage to the dozens of artists, musicians writers, activists and thinkers that have inspired Riot grrrl band Le Tigre. Many of the names mentioned have produced feminist work, and are queer. Some of the famous people listed in the song include Yoko Ono, Billie Jean King, Angela Davis, Gertrude Stein, Nina Simone, Ann Peebles, Aretha Franklin, and Joan Jett. A perfect song to celebrate trailblazing women on International Women's Day!
12. "Bad Girls" - M.I.A.
The message of this M.I.A. bop is pretty clear: "Live fast, die young, bad girls do it well." M.I.A. calls upon all women to stand up to the systems that aim to oppress women. The “Suki, suki” in the first verse is very telling about the track, as it means “drive, drive” in Arabic. In the music video for "Bad Girls," Saudi Arabian women are driving despite the fact that in 2010, when this song dropped, it was illegal for them to do so. (The law was finally revoked in 2018.) So M.I.A.’s saying “suki, suki”: encouraging them to escape the forces that bind them.
13. "WAP" - Cardi B feat. Megan Thee Stallion
To some, "WAP" is controversial. But to those who know better, "WAP" is a bold, proud, and even hilarious jam about the pleasures of embracing your feminine sexuality. Ladies are "certified freaks," too! And we shouldn't have to hide it: especially after years upon years upon YEARS of men rapping about their junk and sexual appetites in rap. Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion spit some of the juiciest bars of their careers in this track. It's more delicious than macaroni in a pot.
14. "Girl on Fire" - Alicia Keys
This heated ballad is a theme song for the brave women who dare to go beyond the patriarchy's limits. Fire represents hope, destruction, rebirth, and resurrection...even hell. So Alicia Keys is singing that a "girl on fire" is a lady who is creating ruinous – but necessary – change. On creating this title track and the entire album Girl on Fire, Alicia Keys wrote on her website, "Before making this record, in some ways I felt like a lion locked in a cage...I felt like a girl misunderstood that no one really knew, I felt like it was time to stop making excuses for any part of my life that I wanted to change. Once I made that choice I became a Girl on Fire, the lion broke free!!"
15. "Independent Women - Part 1" - Destiny's Child
A jubilant ode to all self-sufficient women. "Independent Woman Part 1" was originally released as part of the soundtrack to Charlie’s Angels (Queen Bey's father sent it to the movie's production company without permission), but was later included on Destiny’s Child’s third album, Survivor due to its popularity. It's the group's biggest hit, as it spent 11 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 after its release. Similar to "Run the World (Girls)," the verses on this track explain that Yoncé and Co. don't need men to buy them stuff, because they don't need to rely on men. In fact, things should be 50/50 in relationships.
16. "I'm Every Woman" - Chaka Khan
This beautiful Chaka Khan track celebrates the empathy and connectedness all women share. At first, Khan didn't feel qualified to sing the gorgeous tune. But after she took the leap, "I'm Every Woman" became one of the biggest hits of the 70s. Whiteny Houston would eventually cover the track for the movie The Bodyguard. Although she wasn't the first Houston involved with the song; her mother, Cissy Houston, sang backup on the original. Whitney returned the favor by having both her mother and Chaka cameo in the music video for her 1993 cover, along with Valerie Simpson (one-half of Ashford and Simpson, the songwriting married couple behind the original song) and then-rising girl group TLC. It really shows how women have the power to lift each other up!
17. "Can't Hold Us Down" - Christina Aguilera & Lil' Kim
An awesome early 2000s feminist anthem from the minds of Christina Aguilera and Lil' Kim! This one is similar to Queen Latifah's "U.N.I.T.Y." in message, but original in its tone and inspiration. In 2018, Aguilera revealed to People Magazine the opening lyrics in "Can't Hold Us Down" were a response to Eminem’s obscene verse targeted at her in "The Real Slim Shady." He was upset over an MTV interview Aguilera gave where she voiced disapproval of his violent lyrics about then-wife Kimberly Scott. Aguilera fought back with this song – all wrapped up in feminism and empowerment – that turned into one of her biggest hits.
18. "Wonder Woman" - LION BABE
"Watch out!" This crunchy R&B tune will bring out your inner Diana Prince. Released in 2015 by American R&B/Neo Soul/Electronic NYC duo LION BABE, this track was also created with the help of producing legend Pharrell Williams. This song encourages ladies to keep moving forward despite the roadblocks from the patriarchy. We've all got the power, and "Wonder Woman" will help unleash your inner super hero.
19. "Q.U.E.E.N." - Janelle Monáe
Funky, free, and unapologetically feminist. This song is the reason why Janelle Monáe is one of the biggest entertainers in the world right now. Those honest bars in the epilogue rap say it all: "She who writes the movie owns the script and the sequel / So why ain't the stealing of my rights made illegal?" If you love this Janelle Monáe banger, we also recommend checking out their Dirty Computer girl anthem, "Pynk."
20. "Wannabe" - Spice Girls
While the verses of "Wannabe" are about the requirements a potential mate must pass in order to get with each of the Spice Girls, the chorus reveals the truth about this iconic 90s track: it's actually a tune about the power of female camaraderie. Do you know what we want, what we really, really want? Female friendship that never ends.
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