Hello everyone! So today, March 8th 2019 happens to be ‘International Women’s Day’. This is a day where we celebrate all the achievements of women. Every year there is a different theme and this year it is #BalanceforBetter which calls for better representation in the workplace indicating that balance provides a better working environment. Below is a list of a few female anthems that I love for their ability to express womanhood unapologetically! “Here’s to strong Women! May we know them, may we be them, may we raise them”!!!
Maya Angelou – Phenomenal Woman
When I think of strong women in history, Maya Angelou
(April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014 ) is at the top of my list. I loved how confident she was and how she openly spoke out in public over the fact women deserved the same amount of respect and ownership as men. Many of her poems expressed her beliefs and in her poem “Phenomenal Woman” she expresses how much of a powerful woman she is and all the things that make her feel great. I feel the poem is an ode to women in general and a lesson for women to understand and accept the power and grace we have. The first stanza of the poem is based on her interaction with other women; “Pretty women wonder where my secret lies , where she addresses what makes her special due to the fact she may not be stereotypically “attractive”. In the second and third stanza Maya describes her effect on men; ” I walk into a room, just as cool as you please & to a man, the fellows stand or fall down on their knees”, again showing how a woman’s physical attributes are seen but with the other sex. In the fourth and final stanza, Maya summarises her qualities and lets the reader understand the reasons for why she doesn’t “bow her head” or quiet down, it is because she is proud of who she is and is not willing to hide that. Her final words summarise the whole poem;
“It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
The palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
R.I.P Maya Angelou!
A powerful poem with a powerful message by a powerful woman. Check out Maya’s powerful voice reciting this poem below:
Destiny’s Child – Independent Women – (2001)
When you think of female anthems, this song definitely fits! The song is released from their album ‘Survivor’, released in 2001 and was also the theme song for the film ‘Charlie’s Angels’. The ladies start the song off by stating “Try to control me boy, you get dismissed, pay my own car note and I pay my own bills, always 50/50 in relationships”. The girls sing about how independent they are and the fact they do not need to rely on anyone else especially men. The hook is a chant for fellow independent women “All the women, who are independent throw your hands up at me”, encouraging fellow women to celebrate their independence. The line “I depend on me” is repeated throughout the song and I believe that is a statement revealing how women can be self sufficient. Have a listen below!
Chaka Khan – I’m Every Woman – (1978)
“I’m every woman, it’s all in meeeeeeee”, you gotta sing this out loud and feel the joy from this song! This is the debut single from her debut album “Chaka”. This song feels like a celebration of womanhood . Whitney Houston also has a version of this song which is equally good as Whitney puts her own spin on the song while still paying homage to Chaka.
Alicia Keys – Superwoman – (2008)
In 2016, Alicia Keys decided to stop wearing makeup (or very rarely) and stated “I love my lip gloss, I love my blush, I love my eyeliner. It’s not about that. At the same time, I don’t want to feel beholden — to have to do it”. Since then, Alicia has stuck by her word which, in this day and age, with all the pressure to look a certain way is a wonderful demonstration of her power and strength. This song plays on the idea of how strong women are with all the tasks they have to do on a daily basis. Alicia sings “Still when I’m a mess, I still put on a vest with an ‘S’ on my chest”, meaning despite all the drama and hard work women do on a daily basis, she still gets up and gets on with it, alluring to the notion of being Superwoman My favourite part of the song is when Alicia sings “For all the mothers fighting for better days to come and all my woman, all my woman sitting here trying to come home before the sun & all my sisters coming together say “yes, I will,” and “yes, I can”. Overall, I love how Alicia dwells on the powers she has being a woman and I believe as women, we should do well to remember just how super we are.
Beyoncé – Run the World (Girls) – (2011)
This song was released from Beyoncé’s fourth studio album “4” as the lead single. Beyoncé actually has a history of releasing songs based on female empowerment and this song is no different. One of my favourite lines in this song is “My persuasion can build a nation” which reminds me of a bit of Maya Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman” poem. (mentioned above). The song contains a lot of African influence which is evident with the dance moves used in the video. Beyoncé’ regularly sings about female issues and inequality and is infamous for her “all female band”. Some other female-empowered songs she has released are: ‘If I were a Boy’ (2008), “Irreplaceable” (2006), “Ring Off” (2013),”Pretty Hurts” (2013), “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” (2008), “Sorry” (2016)
I could write all day about female empowerment songs. Empowerment songs don’t always have to be so modest or clean cut too. Part of equality is the idea men and women can be treated equally and women will be not be discriminated against due to the things they may say or do that do not fit with the “stereotype”. I will write a post soon about female rappers and their importance and influence in society and I will go more in depth. However, I just wanted to emphasise that feminism comes in all forms. I pray for a day women can state what they want or who they are, without the judgement of society and men. On that note, listen to City Girls – “Act Up” were women take the control back, do whatever the hell they want and “live their best lives” haha!