Iconic Feminist Anthems
5.“Build A Bitch” – Bella Poarch
This 2021 dark-pop number by U.S. navy veteran-turned-Tiktok star Bella Poarch may have a lighthearted sing-song cadence but it’s contrasted by much darker lyrical annotations, satirizing the concept of a ‘build a bear workshop.’ Poarch speaks out against the unrealistic standards that society has set for women, and shows absolute, unwavering disapproval towards them. She calls out the savior complex often exhibited by men while dealing with women and also shuns the concept of perfection, asking women to embrace their flaws and not to finetune or custom-build their original selves to cater to the skin-deep fantasies of a few entitled men.This was no doubt an wonderful feminist song.
Need someone who falls apart
So he can play Prince Charming
If that’s the kind of girl he wants
Then he forgot
This ain’t build a bitch
You don’t get to pick and choose
4. “Flawless” – Beyoncé
There’s something about Beyoncé and grayscale videos, when it comes to making chart-breaking feminist anthems. This trap-influenced pop record by Beyoncé is highlighted by a fierce monologue by Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi’s TedxEuston conference speech, “We Should All Be Feminists,” which again, points out society’s unrealistic expectations of women, while exposing its double standards when it comes to treating males V/S females.
This 2013 track is equal parts fiery and outspoken, combining recurring sped-up, chipmunk style vocals with Beyonce’s much fitting angry growling and headbanging, as she continually chants the word “flawless” in the chorus – honoring female existence. The track also got a subsequent remix with a spitfire verse from rapper Nicki Minaj to further amp up the badass factor of the track.
We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller
We say to girls -“You can have ambition, but not too much
You should aim to be successful, but not too successful
Otherwise you will threaten the man”
Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage
I am expected to make my life choices, always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important
Now marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support
But why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage
And we don’t teach boys the same?
We raise girls to see each other as competitors, not for jobs or for accomplishments
Which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men
We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings, in the way that boys are
3. “Most Girls” – Hailee Steinfeld
“You’re not like most girls.” Exactly how many times have we heard or even personally experienced this line being told and were expected to take it as a compliment? On this exact thought arc, this 2017 electro-pop track by Hailee Steinfeld offers a fresh and much-needed narrative on the ‘most girls’ cliché that has been a frequently wielded “power move” by the opposite sex, to assert their pseudo-condescending dominance and passive-aggressively bring down other women.
You know some days you feel so good in your own skin
But it’s okay if you wanna change the body that you came in
‘Cause you look greatest when you feel like a damn queen
We’re all just playing a game in a way, tryna win at life
2.“Salute” – Little Mix
The top two songs on this list are undeniably ones that have the highest nostalgia factor for me personally, and I believe for a lot of the people who’ve read thus far. “Salute” was released back in 2014; and as a wide-eyed, pop music-admiring eighth grader, I still remember how the track instantly piqued my attention after I heard it play at a school fest and essentially kicked off my obsession with Little Mix’s music. This song explored a different dimension of feminist anthems
Sisters, we are everywhere
Warriors, your country needs you
If you’re ready, ladies, better keep steady, ready, aim, shoot
Don’t need ammunition, on a mission
Now we hit you with the truth
Representing all the women, salute, salute
1.“Run The World (Girls)” – Beyoncé
For our #1 pick of this rundown, we have the OG feminist anthem of praise that surprised the entire web in 2011. . Growing up in a convent, all-girls school environment, this electropop/R&B track was a staple at each yearly dance rivalry and turned into the principal Beyoncé Knowles melody I heard and fixated on.
“Run The World” was, is and shall always remain one of the most legendary feminist anthems for generations to come. Sampled from Major Lazer’s “Pon De Floor,” both the the track and its music video encompass a fiery military-influenced beat, the now-iconic ‘shoulder jerking’ choreography (which we recently saw revived in K-Pop group ITZY’s viral “Wannabe” dance routine) and elements that celebrate traditional African culture. It screams two things: iconic and empowering.
I work my nine to five, better cut my check
This goes out to all the women getting it in, you on your grind
To all the men that respect what I do, please accept my shine
Boy, you know you love it
How we smart enough to make these millions
Strong enough to bear the children (children)
Then get back to business.