Most Empowering Songs for Women of the Decade

by Grace Lynch 3 months ago in list

'Cause 2019 is drawing to a close pretty quick.

As my sister has already started mentioning Christmas I've began to realise that the decade has slowly began to draw to a close and so it's time to discuss the most empowering songs for women across the whole decade. It was too hard to just choose ten songs so this will be a longer list than I'm used to. All of the songs on this list will be perfect for your girl power Spotify playlist. I will link my own girl power playlist that includes all these songs and more at the bottom of the article so feel free to listen.

The song that really put Dua Lipa on the map, it acts as a list of rules for breaking up with your ex. Don't pick up the phone, don't let him in and don't be his friend. The song is a very clear account of a relationship that wasn't full of love and the message that it's okay to try again as long as you don't keep making the same mistakes over and over again. A song that pretty much every woman can relate to and I'm sure no one will disagree that this song is an anthem.

Favourite Lyric: Don't be his friend, you know you're gonna wake up in his bed in the morning and if you're under him, you ain't getting over him.

This song is this list's first of many bad bitch anthems and so it's only fitting that it should come from Rihanna. The beat, the lyrics, the swearing. All of this accumulates to make a song that makes us feel invincible for five minutes before we retreat into our boring and normal lives. Bad bitch Rihanna is out there living her best life and for the five minutes of this song, you can too.

Favourite Lyric: Don't act like you forgot, I call the shots.

Janelle Monae might be the love of my life, she just doesn't know it yet. Her song "Pynk" is a rather interesting song and very obvious reference to female anatomy. Monae is unashamed to go there with her lyrics and honestly once the guitar hits this song it goes from weird to sounding almost like an early 00's song. Regardless this is certainly a song to stick on your girl power playlist, in the words of Monae 'let the vagina have a monologue'.

Favourite Lyric: Getting lost in the dark is my favourite part.

A song that is undoubtedly about placing women in positions of power. These are lyrics you can blast at top volume in your car on your way to work for the man. Full of references to misogynistic things that many men have said to women before, 'Power' flips this on its head and makes sure that everyone knows that these women are in control. The only reason this song isn't higher on the list is because I find the feature (like many of the features that their label sticks on them) to be unnecessary. There was no need for a man on this track, these four women can hold their own thank you very much.

Favourite Lyric: You should know, I'm the one who's in control.

For any member of the LBGTQ+ community this song and music video have become iconic. Kiyoko's willingness to use female pronouns in her songs and female love interests in her music videos is a breath of fresh air in this industry where most things remain heteronormative. "Girls Like Girls" is a story of two young women falling in love which is something that we get so rarely. Kiyoko is a gay woman of colour who don't get represented enough and so it's great to see her out there representing them.

Favourite Lyric: Don't tell me what I feel, I'm real and I don't feel like boys'

King Princess has a unique sound and "Pussy is God" is no exception. Her voice is silky and the lyrical content is aimed at the LGBTQ+ community that she's a part of. Like Kiyoko, King Princess is unafraid of using female pronouns and is proof that the music industry is becoming more accepting of this kind of music. Add this to your playlist and you'll be singing is non-stop by day one.

Favourite Lyric: I've never been good at this nice shit.

This list could never happen without the Queen herself, Beyonce. Did she invent feminism? No, but has she introduced many young girls to the concept? Hell Yes! "Formation" might not be aimed at my white ass but never the less this song is super important for women of colour and women in general. Your girl power playlist playlist would be incomplete without this song.

Favourite Lyric: Earned all this money but they never take the country out me.

A rather underrated song I find especially considering the two superstars who are singing it. Christina Aguilera has been a powerhouse since the late nineties and Demi Lovato has one of the biggest voices in the industry at the moment and yet this song didn't really receive the recognition that it deserved. A song that confronts the way that women are treated in society head on it doesn't shy away from lyrics that refer to rape culture. This song tackles these issues head on and both Aguilera and Lovato deliver some stunning and powerful vocals.

Favourite Lyric: You do not owe them, your body and your soul.

For anyone who's ever felt that they're not enough, that their body doesn't look the way it should or the way society thinks it should look, listen to this song. Jessie J preaches that we should love our bodies and our own skin, that we are Queens regardless of what other people say. This song empowers us all, tells us to fuck what everyone else thinks and just embrace who we are and what we look like. No feminist playlist is complete without this song, trust me.

Favourite Lyric: Stop trying to change who you are.

If you had asked me five years ago if I would ever put a Kesha song on a list of empowering songs for women I would laugh in your face. Turns out I'm ignorant because damn Kesha can sing and damn she's been through some shit. "Woman" was released just after Kesha accused her producer Dr. Luke of sexual assault and managed to escape his clutches. Now she can create the music she's always wanted to make and if that's not empowering then I don't know what is.

Favourite Lyric: I'm a motherfucking woman, baby.

Possibly the least known artist on this list, as I personally haven't listened to any more of her music apart from this song (shame on me), "Sit Still, Look Pretty" takes the old idea of women relying on their man and looking pretty for them and twists it into a modern retelling of what women actually represent. For all the women who refuse to rely on a man, who want to work for themselves and who want to rule the world, this song is for you.

Favourite Lyric: Oh I don't know what you've been told but this girl right here's gonna rule the world.

Demi Lovato's second placing on this list and another woman who's been through a lot. Regardless of her personal issues she does continue to be role model for women and her song "Confident" is evidence of this. A song that questions what's wrong with being confident as women who are confident are often framed as bossy, too-forward or pushy. Lovato is out there proving that confidence is sexy and that all women should be confident in themselves.

Favourite Lyric: It's time for me to take it, I'm the boss right now.

Using some rather historical examples Little Mix stan themselves in the song "Joan of Arc." A song about putting yourself first and only loving a man if it's your choice, not because you need too. Little Mix are teaching young women that there's nothing wrong with confidence, nothing wrong with dressing sexy and nothing wrong with prioritising yourself. Also did I mention that this song is bop, so dance away.

Favourite Lyric: I don't need a man, If I'm loving you it's cause I can.

Lizzo is someone I have only recently took notice of but holy shit I love her, like I already have tickets to see her. "Good as Hell" is a song of friendship, a song that tells women that it's okay to walk away from a relationship that doesn't work for you. Lizzo also makes women embrace the way they look, a plus sized women herself, and that it's okay to look good as hell regardless of who it's for.

Favourite Lyric: If he don't love you anymore, then walk that fine ass out the door.

Demi Lovato is slowly taking over this list and I didn't even notice. "Sober" was a surprise release and trust me when I say that I cried. A very true and raw recount of what it's like to slip up with alcohol. It's easy to forget that Lovato's had issues because she's such a bright and bubbly person but for someone to be this open and real in a song is truly inspirational. We can only hope that she overcomes her demons one day.

Favourite Lyric: I promise I'll get help, it wasn't my intention, I'm sorry to myself.

Beyonce is the world's biggest superstar, and she knows it. Imagine being so full of confidence that you can put the lyric 'bow down bitches' in a song and the world loves you for it. Beyonce has learned that she is perfection and has embraced it and wants everyone else to embrace it too. She also used Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's speech on feminism as an interlude to the song and honestly it fits so well and teaches women not to change for anyone.

Favourite Lyric: Respect that, bow down bitches

I love everything about this song. Explicitly about sex, Grande has finally outgrown her bubblegum pop phase and moved into her sexy R&B phase. The music video used biblical images turned on their head to showcase feminism and also shows Grande breaking the glass ceiling. You will be singing this song non-stop once you know all the lyrics, I'm speaking from experience. God is a woman, and her name is Ariana Grande.

Favourite Lyric: When you try to come for me I keep on flourishing.

Our bisexual queen actually released a song about what it's like to be bisexual and we're all living for it. A little bit of rock, a little bit of funk and a little bit of R&B infused with some serious Prince vibes makes for a tune that you won't be able to get out of your head, and you won't want to. Monae teaches us to embrace our sexuality because it's a completely natural thing, we can't help the way we feel.

Favourite Lyric: Mess me up but yeah no one does it better.

Little Mix's third entry on this list proving that they are the greatest girl group to have ever existed. Also, finally a feature that is worthy of Little Mix, because honestly they get all these features and none of them live up to the hype but Sharaya J is worthy. "Strip" serves as a reminder to love our skin without all the add on, but doesn't shame women for using make-up either. Embrace your body, embrace your skin, do what you what's best for you and be confident in yourself.

Favourite Lyric: Legit the whole song but - Money won't buy you what confidence will.

Lizzo is a Queen! If you've seen the Netflix Film Something Great you'll be familiar with this song, and what a song it is. Another bad bitch anthem that reminds women to put themselves first and asks the age old question 'why are men great 'til they gotta be great'? Trust me the second you add this song to your girl power playlist you won't be sorry.

Favourite Lyric: I just took a DNA test turns out I'm 100% that bitch.'

This playlist features every song on the list plus older songs by artists like Destiny's Child and the Spice Girls. There's over three hours of songs on there and no doubt I will continue to add on there over the years.

Grace Lynch
Grace Lynch
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Grace Lynch

A film and media student with a love of travel and all things Disney.

See all posts by Grace Lynch