If I asked you what special, beloved day this Sunday, March 8, is, you might say it’s the start of daylight saving time. I would tell you that’s the wrong answer, because it’s International Women’s Day! It’s a whole day dedicated to celebrating those special women in your life. To get in the spirit of celebrating the wonderful women we are, I’ve included some of the best songs to make you feel like a queen in different ways, a second edition to the women’s empowerment playlist we all know and love.
1. “Speechless” by Naomi Scott
Sung by Naomi Scott’s character, Jasmine, in the live-action remake of “Aladdin,” this song beautifully reflects the change from Jasmine in the ’90s to fit the social norms of today better. The men in Jasmine’s life control what she has to do and who she has to be, but she forcefully rejects that and says, “All I know is I won’t be silenced.” It’s pretty cool to say that you’re fed up with hundreds of years of social customs that make women invisible. Cheers to rejecting the agenda of the patriarchy!
2. “None Of Your Concern” by Jhené Aiko
Jhené Aiko puts a twist on the classic breakup anthem. She is calm but assertive because she made up her mind about what she wants after her relationship ended. Aiko promotes self-love when she proudly asserts that she’s “not scared to be alone anymore.” We need to realize that, especially as women, you don’t necessarily need someone to be someone. It’s pretty rebellious to go against cultural norms and declare that you will be OK on your own. And it’s true, you will be.
3. “Feeling Myself” by Nicki Minaj ft. Beyoncé
If you ever have a day when you either put on makeup for the first time in forever or put on a cuter-than-normal outfit, this is the song to describe how you feel for the rest of the day. Feeling yourself (not literally, but that’s up to you) is the best. Loving yourself does wonders for other aspects of your life. These two powerhouse representatives of confidence and beauty, Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé, flex their accomplishments in this song, and I think women on March 8 should do the same. Be proud of loving who you are and what you do!
4. “Wings” by Little Mix
Part of Little Mix’s brand is to produce music to empower women and girls. This song is upbeat, but its strength comes from these women telling the world they don’t care about what anyone has to say about who they are. Their “wings are made to fly,” and I like the idea of flying far away from anyone who tries to tell me how to live my life. The next time someone says I should “be more ladylike,” I’ll just slap them with my beautiful butterfly wings. Thanks, Little Mix!
5. “You Don’t Own Me“ by Lesley Gore
Releasing this song in 1963, Lesley Gore was likely inspired to declare her sovereignty as a woman by the beginning of the women’s rights movement that was imbedded in the Civil Rights Movement. When Gore sings, “Don’t tell me what to do/ Don’t tell me what to say,” it’s so simple yet so powerful because we women are constantly told how to behave. We’re more than baby ovens, we’re more than maids and we’re more than just pretty things to look at. That’s pretty awesome for her to fearlessly declare what she wants, as that’s always been a rebellious act for women.
6. “***Flawless“ by Beyoncé ft. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
What would a playlist of empowering songs by women be without our long-reigning queen Beyoncé? I love her chant of waking up flawless because to me, it doesn’t mean so much that we, as women, are literally perfect. It feels more like we’re flawless because we don’t need to conform to anyone else’s expectations. We’re flawless by just being who we are, which is a beautiful concept. This song also includes Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who defines feminism and exposes society’s infamous double standard for women and men halfway through the song. This beautiful, unforgiving message thrown into a catchy song is one worth celebrating this International Women’s Day. I woke up like this!
I recommend listening to these songs if you see or hear some misogynist comments online or in real life, or even if you just need to be reminded that you are a beautiful, hardworking, INCREDIBLE woman! Enjoy celebrating the wonderful women in your life who make life happen!