Some mornings you wake up feeling on top of the world, as if you can accomplish anything, and all you want is the perfect playlist to go along with those feelings. Other mornings you wake up feeling down on yourself and desperately need some songs to get you in a better mood.
Whatever you’re feeling, listening to the right music can get you into the right mood. Because of this, I’ve put together what I think is the Ultimate Feminist Playlist. These are songs written by women, for women, and they each have an important message that we can learn from (not to mention a catchy beat).
They’re probably not the typical songs that come to mind when you think of feminist songs, but hopefully you’ll discover some new ones to rock out to!
“Love Myself” by Hailee Steinfeld
“Gonna love myself, no I don’t need anybody’s help. I love me.”
The new star of Pitch Perfect 2 recently came out with her first single. “Love Myself” is about discovering that you don’t need another person to make you satisfied or happy; you are perfectly capable of achieving that on your own, as long as you learn to love yourself.
This song has also become an anthem for masturbation—a topic that is often considered taboo that is becoming increasingly accepted. Major props to Steinfeld for taking such a bold stance in her first song.
“Happy” by Leona Lewis
“I gotta find my place, I gotta hear my sound. Don’t care about all this pain in front of me because I’m just trying to be happy.”
This song has truly gotten me through some of the toughest moments of my life. It’s all about putting your fears behind you and going full force into the world to discover who your authentic self is.
Lewis emphasizes that even though you may face tough times and even though you may be staring pain in the face, you can’t just stand passively by. You have to keep pushing through in order to achieve happiness.
“Live It Up” by Colbie Caillat
“I’m unstoppable. I drop-kick impossible. I live it up.”
This song is perfect for any time in which you are doubting your abilities. Caillat sings about being irrationally afraid of something you and everybody else knows you are completely capable of doing. She urges you to break down the walls stopping you from doing everything that you dream of doing and to go out there and live it up.
“Perfect” by P!nk
“If you ever, ever feel like you’re nothing, you are perfect to me.”
In this song, P!nk gives the middle finger to anyone who ever makes somebody else feel as though they are anything less than perfect. She talks about how she has constantly been mistaken, underestimated, and mistreated, but at the end of the day she is still kicking despite all of the hard times and criticisms.
She highlights how not only should you ignore the critics, but you need to change the little voice inside of your head as well. A huge part of being happy is making peace with yourself, and you can’t accomplish that if you agree with all your critics and are constantly berating yourself. You always have to remember that you are perfect just the way you are.
“Not Your Way” by MisterWives
“This is my own life, not growing up to be a trophy wife.”
Not only is this song super catchy, but its sassy response to people who try to control the way women behave immediately will bring a smile to your face. The MisterWives state loud and clear that they are not going to conform to society’s expectations for them.
Women are not trophies to be paraded around and shown off. We have a right to live our lives in our own way. What makes this even better is that the group contains several guys. Yay for male feminists!
“I’m Doing Me” by Fantasia
“Man, if you can’t love me equally then you don’t need to be with me.”
Fantasia absolutely kills it with this song about putting guys who don’t treat you right in the past and focusing on what makes you happy. This message doesn’t just go to men, but also to women and members of any other gender identification who are not treating you with respect. There is absolutely nothing wrong with putting your needs first, and you will actually be a better person for it!
“Pageant Material” by Kacey Musgraves
“I’d rather lose for what I am than win for what I ain’t.”
Kacey sings about her experiences growing up in the South where there is heavy pressure for women to go into beauty pageants. She lists the reasons why she wouldn’t make a good beauty queen—her inability to walk in heels, her tendency to put her foot in her mouth, her habit of getting upset when she loses.
Instead of feeling bad about herself for this, she stresses that it’s just who she is, and at the end of the day she would rather stay true to herself even if it means she will never be a beauty queen. This sends a strong message to women that it’s okay to be comfortable in your own skin, and you don’t have to change yourself to meet the standards of some random judges.
“Lone Ranger” by Rachel Platten
“Open eyes, open roof. Give me miles, give me proof.”
From the woman who brought us “Fight Song,” Lone Ranger is all about discovering that sometimes it really is better to be out on your own. Platten sings about the freedom she feels from not being tied down in a relationship.
Instead, she takes time to explore the world on her own. She admits that she feels afraid, but the thrill of exploring new cities and having new experiences is too incredible for her to pass up. This song shows women that it’s okay to go out on your own, even if you are a little scared.
“Second Wind” by Kelly Clarkson
“An airplane’s only paper ‘til it finds a breeze.”
There are so many amazing Kelly Clarkson songs to pick from, but I decided to go with one that is a little lesser known but still powerful. “Second Wind” is all about being underestimated. Clarkson tells her haters that whatever they say and do to her doesn’t matter, because she’s just waiting for the right time to show everyone what she’s made of.
This rings true for all women. You are the only person who truly knows your abilities, so you can’t let the critics phase you. While they’re wasting their time insulting you, you are getting better each and every day, and that’s what truly matters.
“Read All About It” by Emeli Sandé
“You’ve got a heart as loud as a lion, so why let your voice be tamed?”
This is an absolutely beautiful song by Emeli Sandè. It’s all about finding your voice and being able to break free of barriers holding you back from saying what needs to be said.
This appeals not simply to women, but specifically to women of color who constantly have found their pathways to getting their voices heard blocked. Sandè decides she isn’t going to let anything hold her back anymore and is going to make sure her voice, and the voices of women of color everywhere, finally gets heard.
Cover image courtesy of Shutterstock.