9 Lyrics You Didn't Realize Were Super Feminist The First Time Around
Sometimes when the patriarchy is doing what it does best (getting you down), the best thing to do is listen to some feminist songs to soothe the burning fire of rage welling up inside. They'll give you the strength to fight again the next day, because nothing will help you work for equality quite like lyrics such as "How many rules am I to break before you understand that your double-standards don't mean sh*t to me?" from Salt-N-Pepa's "None of Your Business."
And the best way to get the strength to tell that one constantly mansplaining barista that you don't need his comments is by repeating this mantra to yourself: "I want to say a little something that's long overdue, the disrespect to women has got to be through," from the Beastie Boys' "Sure Shot." It might seem like an odd choice, but sometimes the best feminist jams are the ones that sneak up on you. You might've been too busy grooving to the nine songs below the first time around to realize that their lyrics contained poignant feminist messages, but you'll definitely appreciate them now.
1. "How many rules am I to break before you understand that your double-standards don't mean sh*t to me?" — "None of Your Business" by Salt-N-Pepa
When you first listen to "None of Your Business," it's pretty blatantly about not being judged for sexuality, but originally, I didn't realize the importance of the song's feminist message. I was too busy bouncing my head to understand that the "none of your business" wasn't directed just at the paparazzi and media, but actually at the entire system.
2. "I'm a bitch, I'm a lover, I'm a child, I'm a mother, I'm a sinner I'm a saint. I do not feel ashamed" — "Bitch" by Meredith Brooks
In "Bitch," singer Meredith Brooks is sharing exactly who she is, with full honesty and confidence. She's not ashamed of being a woman in all its complicated forms.
3. "I want to say a little something that's long overdue, the disprespect to women has got to be through. To all the mothers and sisters and the wives and friends I want to offer my love and respect to the end" — "Sure Shot" by The Beastie Boys
Feminism in a hip song song? Never! But happily, the Beastie Boys had this to say in their 1994 song "Sure Shot."
4. "You don't own me" — "You Don't Own Me" by Lesley Gore
At first, Lesley Gore's song "You Don't Own Me" sounds like too much of a plea with a lover to be a feminist anthem. But then the argument hits you over the head: she's saying that no man has control over any woman. Preach, Lesley.
5."I ain't gonna do you wrong, while you're gone, ain't gonna do you wrong, cause I don't wanna" — "Respect" by Aretha Franklin
"Respect" by Otis Redding, and later performed by Aretha Franklin, wasn't meant to be a feminist anthem, as it was performed by a man about the concept of mutual respect. But because Franklin's cover comes from a female speaker requesting equality, it's turned into a feminist jam. The song becomes about self-respect and women being treated equally in a very feminist way.
6. "Oh but daddy don't you worry none cause mama's got the pill" — "The Pill" by Loretta Lynn
Loretta Lynn is talking about birth control in this song, guys. That totally went over my head the first time around.
7. "Let them say what they want, we won't hear it" — "I Know Places" by Taylor Swift
Though the song "I Know Places" by Taylor Swift is about a secret relationship, it also refers to a woman making her own decisions. Swift doesn't care about what anyone thinks, and she is in charge of her own destiny. This is a feminist lyric because the power and control are in Swift's hands, not the record label's, and least of all not any man's.
8. "But everybody told me to be smart. 'Look at your career,' they said, 'Lauryn baby use your head.' But instead I chose to use my heart." — "Zion" by Lauryn Hill
This lyric refers to people who tried to tell Hill that having a baby would ruin her career and that she should've sought a different course of action like adoption or abortion. But the singer reminds you that she was in control and chose to do what she wanted — have her son, whom the song is dedicated to. Asserting that ownership of your body belongs to you and you alone is as feminist as it gets.
9. "Better off that way I'm better off alone anyway" — "Don't Tell Me" by Avril Lavigne
Disguised as a breakup ballad, the Lavigne song "Don't Tell Me" has very feminist undertones. The singer doesn't need a man to be happy, OK?
Feminism can be found in the most unexpected places. There's nothing that can get your feminist vigor activated to fight the good fight like a rallying anthem from one of the singers above.