*DISCLAIMER* Songs are really up to the listener to determine what their meanings are, these are just my views on what I take these songs to mean.
- “Not Your Way”–MisterWives. I love this song because singer Mandy Lee is flat out saying we’ve come far in women’s rights, but not far enough. She’s pointing out that it’s our own lives–”this is my own life” and our own bodies–”this is my body”, we’re growing up in and women are “over being told to be undressed to look our best”. Just with this song, I think she inspires women to grow up to be whoever they want to be and not just what society tells them to be–”not growing up to be the trophy wife”. Her line “So don’t parade us ’round, round we go, in your twisted world and I’m saying no, no, no” is what everyone needs to hear! People need to hear that women and supporters are not ok with being treated derogatorily. Another thing I love about Mandy is that she is in a band with three other guys and they’re just all friends, proving that there doesn’t have to be a romantic/sexual strain when a girl is in a group of guys. Anyway, I think Mandy as the lead singer of a popular indie band is doing a great job not growing up to be the trophy wife, she’s got much more important things to do.
- “Gemini Feed”–Banks. I think we all know most songs are about love and relationships, so it is hard to stay away from that topic, but Banks, in this song, not only sings about a bad relationship, she explains why it was bad and how it changed her. She’s not a girl who is going to let someone ignore her or put her down again, as seen by the lyrics: “And to think you would get me to the altar
Like I follow you around like a dog that needs water
But admit it that you wanted me smaller
If you would have let me grow
You could have kept my love”
- “Confident”–Demi Lovato.
Demi Lovato has a great message in this song, it’s inspiring to women who are usually called B****** or bossy for being confident in themselves.
“I used to hold my freak back
Now I’m letting go
I make my own choice
B****, I run this show”
Here, she says there’s nothing wrong with being confident or with being in charge, having women as well as men in charge is equality. Really, as she asks, “What’s wrong with being confident?”
- “Scheiße”–Lady Gaga.
Now I’m going to be honest, half of this song is in German so I’m not sure what it says but hopefully it doesn’t completely contradict what she says in English. This song, for what I take it, is a story about a woman taking a guy out on a date, saying “If you’re a strong female, you don’t need permission” to put up with the “Scheiße” of the tradition of the guy asking a girl out first. She also sings about how “Love is objectified by what men say is right”, meaning that women many times don’t get a say in how love or their relationships should be or what it means to themselves. “Blonde high-heeled feminist enlisting femmes for this, express your woman-kind, fight for your right” is a tricky line, but I think it might mean that even “girly-girls” have a right to say what they want in their love lives.
The best part about this song, I think, is that Bey incorporates Nigerian author, Chimamanda Adichie’s words about what feminism is:
“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
Feminist: a person who believes in the social, political
And economic equality of the sexes”
This song is also so great because of the line “I woke up like this, flawless” and “tell em’ say, ‘I look so good tonight'”. Queen Bey is putting power back to the words of women in saying it’s great to know you look good without having to get confirmation from others. However there is an eerie ending, as the boys’ band wins over the girls’ band, showing that girls, no matter how hard they try, many times don’t get recognized for their efforts.
Stay “tuned” for another blog post about some more great songs for empowering women!