Songs About Feminism

Every human experience is full of challenges, but there is a specific journey that women must take. Among the obstacles, strong females shouldn’t forget that they have reason to celebrate simply by nature of being themselves.

Fortunately, there’s plenty of music that serves as a reminder! Read on for the best feminist songs ever.

1. “Respect” By Aretha Franklin

Song Year: 1967

Though the lyrics claim Franklin is “asking” for respect, what she actually does is demand it. This Motown classic is brash and unapologetic, with background singers supporting the message of the main vocals. We dare you to sing along with this one and walk away without feeling empowered and ready to take on the day.

2. “Girls Run the World” By Beyonce

Song Year: 2011

It’s easy to see how this powerful R&B hit became a feminist anthem. Heavy rhythms, African-style chants, and a video full of strong women all contribute to a feeling that perhaps they aren’t the weaker sex after all. Beyonce has always been a leader for female empowerment, and this tune only serves to reinforce her status.

3. “I Am Woman” By Helen Reddy

Song Year: 1972

This ‘70s ballad incorporates some colorful guitar licks, brass underscoring, and a full chorus of background vocals. The peace-and-love era was conducive to women finding themselves and realizing their potential, and Reddy brings this to the forefront in “I Am Woman.” This song inspires courage and fortitude as we face life’s obstacles.

4. “Dumb Blonde” By Dolly Parton

Song Year: 1967

Beloved singer-songwriter Parton is famous for her Southern sass. In “Dumb Blonde,” she raises a metaphorical middle finger to everyone who judges her on her looks alone. This was long before she saw success as an ‘80s crossover artist and was a humble country singer fighting her way to the top.

5. “Man! I Feel Like a Woman” By Shania Twain

Song Year: 1997

There’s all kinds of wordplay and cheeky fun in Twain’s playful hit. Clothing styles, dancing, and plenty of misbehavior challenge traditional gender roles.  “Feel Like a Woman” dominated the airwaves in the late ‘90s and has remained a party and karaoke favorite.

6. “Shake It Off” By Taylor Swift

Song Year: 2014

This iconic pop tune somehow manages to be both silly and serious. The music video portrays a lot of goofing around, with Swift herself as clueless and clumsy. But that fits her message, which says that even when the world is judging you, it doesn’t matter what they say as long as you’re happy with yourself.

7. “I Will Survive” By Gloria Gaynor

Song Year: 1978

You’d be hard-pressed to find a woman who can’t sing along to this hit song. “I Will Survive” won a Grammy for Best Disco Recording the year it came out and hasn’t let up in popularity since. The message of escaping a bad relationship and finding your footing endures across genres and generations.

8. “About Damn Time” By Lizzo

Song Year: 2022

Funky and modern, Lizzo brings encouragement to ladies of any size with her brand of uplifting music. “About Damn Time” points to her growth as a person and artist, daring anyone to try to push her down. True strength comes from within, and no one knows this better than Lizzo.

9. “Highwomen” By The Highwomen

Song Year: 2019

This is the title track off the debut album of a new female supergroup. The gathering who call themselves The Highwomen consists of Brandi Carlile, Natalie Hemby, Maren Morris, Amanda Shires, and Yola. The singers and songwriters all point to feminine leadership throughout history and how we can follow in their footsteps to make a difference.

10. “Stronger” By Britney Spears

Song Year: 2000

Many are tempted to dismiss Spears’ musical catalog due to its bubblegum pop sound, implying that the overproduced aesthetic doesn’t hold lyrical value. In “Stronger” she reminds us that she’s worth listening to. A message of continual growth resonates with any woman who’s working to improve herself a little more each day.

11. “How Far I’ll Go” By Auli’i Cravalho

Song Year: 2016

Disney’s Moana introduced a new kind of princess to fans. She’s bold, curious, and willing to take on a challenge. Her theme song from the 2016 film became an anthem for females of all ages as they identified with Moana’s spirit and sense of adventure.

12. “You Oughta Know” By Alanis Morissette

Song Year: 1995

The ‘90s were a killer time for strong women, as well as angry ones. Morissette became the poster child for this brand of ex-girlfriend frustration with her angsty pop-rock. “You Oughta Know” is perhaps the best example, giving a figurative middle finger to a guy who moved on but isn’t going to be able to find anyone better than her.

13. “I’m Every Woman” By Chaka Khan

Song Year: 1978

Another disco classic, Khan’s groovy hit draws together women of all demographics, explaining that we are all one formidable female entity. Whitney Houston covered this energetic tune in 1992 for her movie The Bodyguard.

14. “Fight Song” By Rachel Platten

Song Year: 2015

Sometimes it’s tempting to give in or give up, but we are better if we push back, striving toward what we believe. Platten’s lush voice layers over a symphonic track with texture from piano chords and a heavy rhythm, inspiring countless women to stand strong and take back their lives.

15. “You Should See Me in a Crown” By Billie Eilish

Song Year: 2019

Subtle and eerie, Eilish’s industrial electropop doesn’t seem to be a feminist song at first listen, but the lyrics carry a specific message. The idea of royalty laces through the verses and chorus as the narrator admonishes her object of affection that she’s much more powerful than they bargained for.

16. “Not Ready To Make Nice” By The Chicks

Song Year: 2006

After public criticism of then-president George W. Bush in 2003, The Chicks wrote this song as an unapologetic backing of their stance. They address anyone who wants to talk badly about them for their choices, stating that they’re perfectly happy to withstand the vitriol if it means standing up for what they believe.

17. “Who You Are” By Jessie J

Song Year: 2011

Among the fiery displays of feminism on this list, Jessie J offers a ballad replete with tenderness and self-love. She encourages women to remember that at their core they are unique and beautiful, regardless of what trials shake them emotionally.

18. “Roar” By Katy Perry

Song Year: 2013

Jungle-themed and playful, this song is on brand for Perry. She tells the story of how she used to be a doormat, letting her love interests and others push her around. Nowadays, though, she’s found her strength, using metaphors of big cats to show that she can stand on her own two paws – or feet.

19. “Girl on Fire” By Alicia Keys

Song Year: 2012

For R&B fans, there’s no better choice than Keys and her soaring vocals. Backed by a hard-hitting beat and thumping piano, she likens a girl taking over the world to a flame and burning hot for her goals and dreams.

20. “When the Heartache Is Over” By Tina Turner

Song Year: 1999

Most women can identify with feelings of hurt, regret, and isolation after a particularly nasty breakup. But Turner offers a positive spin on the situation, showing ladies that it’s a blessing to be alone again so that they can find themselves again. Who needs a significant other, anyway?

21. “Hollaback Girl” By Gwen Stefani

Song Year: 2004

This hard-hitting track from Stefani’s solo album, Love.Angel.Music.Baby., brought girls to their feet as they shouted the chorus in unison against the world. Surrounded by her famous Harajuku Girls, Stefani claims to back up her words with actions, defying anyone who doesn’t take her seriously.

22. “No” By Meghan Trainor

Song Year: 2016

Today’s culture of feminism has many voices, but few are as relatable as Meghan Trainor. The girl who wrote “All About That Bass” has been consistent in her message of women’s values. Here, she puts her foot down to a man who persists in soliciting her attention.

23. “Survivor” By Destiny’s Child

Song Year: 2001

A song about overcoming struggles obviously needs a remote desert island as a music video setting. Clad in camo garb, Beyonce, Kelly Rowland, and Michelle Williams lend their R&B harmonies to lyrics about picking themselves up after a relationship goes sour.

24. “Origami” By Ani DiFranco

Song Year: 2004

DiFranco has had enough of men who rely on her to carry them. In “Origami,” she spouts off her frustration, citing internal strength that she can lean on but isn’t necessarily willing to lend to a man. Calling him fragile and delicate, she lets him go so he can learn to make his own way without her. 

25. “Free Me” By Joss Stone

Song Year: 2009

English singer Stone presents a treatise on independence for any woman who encounters resistance. She chides anyone for criticizing her or trying to tell her what to do. She’s found her way by marching to the beat of her own drum, and “Free Me” encourages other women to do the same by being self-reliant. 

26. “Speechless” By Naomi Scott

Song Year: 2019

Many Disney fans are familiar with the standard songs from the animated Aladdin film that came out in the ‘90s. But when Hollywood revamped the musical for a live-action version almost three decades later, there was one notable new composition that fans (particularly young girls) went nuts for.

Passion and motivated energy flow from Scott’s words as she sings of a world where she must speak up and find her way with confidence. 

27. “The Pill” By Loretta Lynn

Song Year: 1975

As birth control became available to the public, it stirred up a bit of a controversy, but country star Lynn didn’t care. She wrote this brash tune in the 1970s (and promptly got banned from the radio because of it). The lyrics suggest a woman freed from the confines of marriage and male control now that she’s on the pill.

28. “Fighter” By Christina Aguilera

Song Year: 2002

If you feel like railing against the patriarchy, there’s no better anthem than Xtina in her angry era. “Fighter” inspires a generation of girls who have had enough to gather their resources and fight back against anyone or anything that stands in their way. She teaches us that each setback only makes for a better survival skill set on the other side.

29. “Pageant Material” By Kacey Musgraves

Best Feminist Songs

Song Year: 2015

The history of women’s beauty has never been more unfairly codified than by the beauty queen establishment. Country star Musgraves rails against this tradition with “Pageant Material,” a song that explains all the ways she really isn’t. This is a theme song for untraditional girls everywhere.

30. “Doo Wop (That Thing)” By Lauryn Hill

Song Year:1998

Former vocalist of The Fugees Hill uses this hip-hop track to advise her female friends against choosing the wrong guy to link up with. The song is chock full of attitude, using a fast-paced rap to describe bad dating experiences and help listeners decide which men are worth their time.

31. “You Don’t Own Me” By Lesley Gore

Song Year: 1963

The message of this oldies tune is evident in its title. Gore lashes out against a controlling boyfriend, telling him that she’s not his property and demanding that he treat her with respect and let her have autonomy. Though it’s fairly progressive for its time, the song uses lush strings and background vocals for a cutesy Motown-tinged sound.

32. “Woman” By Kesha feat. The Dap-Kings Horns

Song Year: 2017

Bold and brassy thanks to her partnership with Sharon Jones’ backing band, Kesha offers up an anthem for female independence with “Woman.” The unapologetic verses cite her ability to take care of herself financially and emotionally as a reason not to need any man in her life.

33. “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” By Cindy Lauper

Song Year: 1983

Sometimes being female is just a matter of enjoying a good time. Eighties darling Lauper wrote and performed one of the most famous examples of this mantra, which turned into a timeless classic that women today can sing by themselves or while out at karaoke with their fellow carefree girls.

34. “You Let Me Down” By Billie Holliday

Song Year: 1935

Disappointed in her man, Holliday doesn’t hold back when she chastises him for all the lies he’s told her. “You Let Me Down” is a mid-tempo lash back that rings true even after nearly a century since its first performance. This tune is perfect for the old-fashioned female who enjoys a sultry jazz aesthetic.

35. “Wonder Woman” By Lion Babe

Song Year: 2016

It’s unclear whether this artist is R&B, electropop, or some other genre. The quirky sound of this track will have you nodding your head and shimmying your shoulders as you revel in your power as a female. Lyrics that defy anyone to challenge her strength belong on every woman’s playlist.

36. “Good Girl Gone Bad” By Rihanna

Song Year: 2007

Rihanna reigns queen in the area of strong women, and “Good Girl Gone Bad” is a perfect soundtrack for that. Her message tells men everywhere to treat their ladies right unless they want them to disappear forever. Encouraging to any female who’s fed up with a difficult man, this song belongs on every bad and good girl’s playlist.

37. “Confident” By Demi Lovato

Song Year: 2015

Thick textures and a dark music video accompany this song, part of Lovato’s resurgence into the pop scene stronger than ever. “Confident” encourages women to stand on their own, believe in their power, and fight back against challenging situations, knowing they can’t accomplish anything if they are underrated by those around them.

38. “I Am Woman” By Emmy Meli

Song Year: 2022

One of the newest feminine anthems out there is also one of the most fearless. Pop newcomer Meli uses her unique, gravelly vocals to list a series of adjectives that are synonymous with “woman” in an effort to release her sex from expectations of who society tells them they should be.

39. “Stronger Woman” By Jewel

Song Year: 2008

Nineties songstress Jewel is famous for her brand of intimate and emotional writing, whether powerful songs or tender poetry. In 2008 she pivoted from her typical folk-rock milieu to put out a country album full of meaningful lyrics, one of which is “Stronger Woman.” Affirmations abound in this song that makes you feel like you’re wrapped up in a best friend’s hug. 

40. ‘We Are Family” By Sister Sledge

Song Year: 1979

The disco era had its single feminist champions, like Donna Summer and Chaka Khan. But Sister Sledge brought the theme of unity to its height with this enduring classic. The uplifting lyrics tie all women together, celebrating universal sisterhood in a way that’s closer than blood.

41. “Victoria’s Secret” By Jax

Song Year: 2022

Gen Z has found its heroine in Jax, a TikToker and YouTuber who writes honest and funny tunes that lend themselves easily to becoming earworms. Many encourage her fellow ladies to embrace their authenticity. In July 2022, Jax started a flash mob outside of Victoria’s Secret store to call out their manipulation of female body image, much to the chagrin of the company.

42. “Armor” By Sara Bareilles

Song Year: 2019

History buffs will love the text of this sassy tune. Starting with Eve in the Garden of Eden and continuing through amazing achievements of science and culture, pianist and songwriter Bareilles celebrates the progress of women in the midst of the destruction of men – and cites the strong women before her as the reason she wears such impenetrable armor.

43. “Flawless” By Beyonce

Song Year: 2013

The R&B feminist oeuvre has many inhabitants, but Queen Bey still reigns supreme. This track hits hard as it challenges the idea that girls and boys are taught different goals from youth. The gritty black-and-white music video aesthetic emphasizes her frustration as she raps and rails against traditional culture.

44. “Better Version of Me” By Fiona Apple

Song Year: 2005

Even women who seem to have their life put together can benefit from self-improvement. Apple uses heavy, low-register piano and tough-girl vocalizing to expound on her journey, citing past learning experiences that helped her move forward to a better place.

45. “Don’t Look Down” By Jennifer Hudson

Song Year: 2011

Killer pipes and an undefeatable attitude highlight this empowerment anthem from Hudson. Great for a cardio workout, or just an upbeat start to your day, it’s impossible not to feel energetic after you listen to this one straight through once or twice in a row.

46. “Honey I’m Home” By Shania Twain

Song Year: 1997

Another tune about gender twists from country-pop star Twain, this cheeky song takes the housewife narrative and turns it on its head. The lyrics talk about the rough day she’s had at work, demanding that her stay-at-home husband pamper her with a foot massage and cooking so she can relax.

47. “7 Rings” By Ariana Grande

Song Year: 2019

Grande famously toes the line between good girl and hedonist, and this cutesy tune from her thank u, next album is no different. Proudly stating that she wears rings but isn’t married, she goes on to claim her independence with a catchy rap track that layers with the “Favorite Things” melody for a modern update.

48. “Backwoods Barbie” By Dolly Parton

Song Year: 2008

As with many of her songs, Parton references her impoverished Southern upbringing in “Backwoods Barbie.” Every time she’s misunderstood for her looks, she insists that she’s got a real personality and soul underneath the makeup and costume.

49. “Racist Sexist Boy” By The Linda Lindas

Song Year: 2022

These punk adolescents aren’t willing to play nice. Name-calling those who attack them and outfitting their attitude in the trappings of hard rock and screaming, this alternative/indie band takes no nonsense from anyone.

50. “Miss Me More” By Kelsea Ballerini

Song Year: 2017

There’s no more frustrating feeling than ending an unsatisfying relationship only to discover that we’ve changed into a person we don’t like. In this ode to reclaiming yourself, Ballerini finds her way back to who she was and resumes living life on her own terms.

51. “Video” By India.Arie

Song Year: 2001

The early 2000s album called Acoustic Soul sums up the style of this hit that’s a part of it. Lyrics that point out the quirks that make her who she is combined with a laid-back, summery groove for a self-worth anthem that anyone can sing along to.

52. “Good As Hell” By Lizzo

Song Year: 2016

The high priestess of modern self-love, Lizzo, deserves a second hit on this list for her boldness in redefining femininity. With style, strength, and always a dash of fun, she demands respect for her authoritative stance on what defines someone’s worth.

53. “Before He Cheats” By Carrie Underwood

Song Year: 2005

Though revenge isn’t a traditional feminist value per se, Underwood isn’t messing around when she decides to show her fury. An ex who stepped out on her finds his car destroyed after she determines she’s had enough of his dalliances. 

54. “You Learn” By Alanis Morissette

Song Year: 1995

Morissette takes the angst down a notch in this mid-tempo jam. Another relic from the cultural phenomenon that was Jagged Little Pill, she embraces every mistake she stumbles through, knowing it’s all part of growing up and improving as a human being.

55. “I Am Woman” By Jordin Sparks

Song Year: 2011

This is the third inclusion on our list by this title, but they’re all different songs. It turns out that when you’re proclaiming your feminism, there are so many ways to do it! Sparks chooses a snappy electro-club aesthetic for her version and vocals in a high register to add power to her message of empowerment.

56. “Not a Pretty Girl” By Ani DiFranco

Song Year: 1995

Amidst the softness of a strummed acoustic guitar and hushed voice, DiFranco tells listeners that she’s no one who needs to be rescued. She relies on no one but herself for her needs, slowly building in intensity to match the rebellion in these lyrics.

57. “Follow Your Arrow” By Kacey Musgraves

Song Year: 2013

Country-pop darling Musgraves is no newcomer to criticism. In her singsong melody and customary cheeky message, she encourages everyone to live how they see fit without enduring the frowns of others who judge.

Best Songs About Feminism, Final Thoughts

The several waves of feminism that have occurred in the 20th and 21st centuries have brought with them a sea of progress towards a freer life for women. With songs like these and others on your playlist, you can join the movement to ensure strength, community, and acceptance for the strong feminists who surround you – and feel more like one yourself.

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