Whether it’s an angsty ballad or an empowerment anthem, everyone needs a dose of feminist music in their life. These songs deal with the sexualization of women, female empowerment, sexual assault, and self-confidence, written by some of my favorite female rockstars.
“Boys Will Be Boys” by Stella Donnelly
“You invaded her magnificence
Put your hand over her mouth
….And they said boys will be boys
Deaf to the word, ‘no’”
Stella Donnelly is an alternative artist from Australia. She released the song “Boys Will Be Boys” on her EP “Thrush Metal” in 2017, and then again on her debut album “Beware of the Dogs.” This track explores the concept of victim-blaming when women are sexually assaulted. Donnelly begins the track by singing about a friend whose “magnificence” was “invaded” by a man. She goes on to describe all of the typical excuses people have on the tip of their tongue, such as “why was she…wearing a shirt that low,” and the infamous “boys will be boys.” However, Donnelly is not willing to let their actions slide. She ends the track with a bitter, triumphant “You broke all the bonds she gave ya; time to pay the f****** rent.”
“Blouse” by Clairo
“Why do I tell you how I feel
When you’re just looking down my blouse?”
“Blouse” is the fifth track from alternative artist Clairo’s 2021 album. In “Blouse,” Clairo discusses the sexualization she has encountered in her career. She proclaims “I guess humor could help me after all; it’s funny now, I’m just useless and a whore,” disguising her frustration by poking fun at herself. Clairo ends this verse by proclaiming “but I still get a co-sign from your favorite one–man show,” slyly emphasizing her success in spite of the person harassing her.
“Body of My Own” by Charli XCX
“I’m into myself,
Don’t need you…
I’ve got a body of my own”
This might be the catchiest song I’ve ever heard in my entire life. I am Charli XCX’s biggest fan, and I find it surprising that this track is on her 2014 album. While pop songs tend to drift in and out of style, I think this song will definitely stand the test of time. In “Body of My Own,” Charli explores the empowerment of women while omitting the male perspective. While the majority of modern media sexualizes women by intentionally portraying them in a way that men find attractive, it’s refreshing to see such an accurate depiction of female empowerment.
“Oh My Love” by FKA Twigs
“I wish you could see in you what I see in you,
What everyone sees in you,
Because that’s the golden stuff right there”
Fellow VOXer Hunter Buchheit recommended this to me, and I must include it. “Oh My Love” tells the story of unrequited love between twigs and the boy she adores. She declares her love for him while expressing her frustration as to why he is playing her. While it sounds like she’s begging for him, she confidently declares “I could be with anyone,” reinforcing her self worth outside of his existence. The outro features twigs’ friend, Abigail Sakari, reminding twigs of her youthfulness. The song as a whole expresses how romantic yearning and self-confidence can co-exist in a healthy balance, setting a standard for all girls who listen.
“Knifey” by Amyl and The Sniffers
“Out comes the night, out comes my knifey
This is how we get home nicely
Please, ‘cause you’ve been f****** with us”
Amy Taylor is the frontwoman of the Australian punk band Amyl and The Sniffers. This song is off of the band’s 2021 sophomore album, “Comfort To Me.” In “Knifey,” Taylor explores the extremes she, and other women, must go to be safe when they’re alone, such as carrying a knife for self-defense. She exhaustedly proclaims “Nothing more important to me than just living; I’d rather be alive, and well, and locked up in prison”, implying that she is willing to do anything to protect her life. In the last few verses the pronouns change from “I” to “we,” recognizing a universal experience among women. While the song is serious and threatening, I can’t help but feel a sense of empowerment. Hearing a badass punk woman proclaim “we’re f****** tough” is the perfect way to end a feminist anthem.