Infuriatingly, anger and aggression are often presented as incompatible with femininity. Young girls are socialized to repress their rage, constantly reminded to be pleasant and palatable rather than expressive. Anger plays a vital role in enabling one to resist injustice and establish necessary boundaries. Discouraging and punishing girls and women who vocalize their discontent functions as an oppressive tool that perpetuates the patriarchal status quo. In a culture that upholds agreeability as the most aspirational virtue for women, expressing anger translates into an action of rebellion. In honor of National Women’s History Month, here are nine songs that embrace female rage.
“F**K You” — Willow
Short but certainly not sweet, “F**k You” is 37 seconds of unadulterated fury. Willow’s lyricism consists mostly of expletives. She screams, “F—k you for f—king up my heart… F—k you / F— k you.” Willow’s shouting, paired with unrelenting percussion, creates the perfect cathartic release.
“Nameless, Faceless” — Courtney Barnett
In the track’s first verse, Barnett softly and sarcastically sympathizes with a self-pitying male perspective. But then she quickly abandons her commiserating facade, insightfully and matter-of-factly remarking, “Men are scared that women will laugh at them…/ Women are scared that men will kill them.”
“Bust Your Windows” — Jazmine Sullivan
Sullivan’s soulful vocals convey the wrath and anguish of discovering a partner’s infidelity. The song’s grandiose instrumentals emphasize Sullivan’s power as she confesses to vandalizing her former lover’s car. She brazenly reflects, “You’ll probably say that it was juvenile/ But I think that I deserve to smile.” Sullivan’s laughter at the end of the song highlights her triumph.
“Gunpowder and Lead” — Miranda Lambert
“Gunpowder and Lead” tells the tale of a vengeful woman determined to murder her abuser. Lambert scoffs at toxic masculinity, her voice flaring with anger as she recounts an experience with domestic violence. In the song’s bridge, she cheekily comments, “His fist is big but my gun’s bigger/ He’ll find out when I pull the trigger.” The song concludes with the pop of a bullet.
“You Don’t Own Me” — Lesley Gore
An ode to female independence, Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me” serves as a powerful feminist anthem. Gore herself was a lesbian who refused to hide her identity and adhere to a heteronormative, patriarchal industry. She melodically sings, “You don’t owe me/ Don’t try to change me in any way.”
“Ain’t Sh–t” — Doja Cat
In this fiery track, Doja Cat obliterates a lackluster ex and dismisses all men in general. She breaks into an unfaltering falsetto, demonstrating her sheer frustration. At the song’s climax, she exasperatedly sings, “You should have paid my rent/ Go get a f—kin’ job!” which is followed promptly with a scream.
“Plan B” — Megan Thee Stallion
Before releasing “Plan B,” Megan Thee Stallion tweeted, “I got this song that I recorded and every time I play it for a woman they start jumping and clapping.” On this iconic track, Megan Thee Stallion vehemently bashes her ex and stresses the necessity of self-love. She booms, “Dick don’t run me, I run dick!” The rapper enunciates with vigor, exhibiting her prowess.
“Take a Hint” — Victorious Cast feat. Victoria Justice & Elizabeth Gillies
In this punchy, harmonious duet, Justice and Gillies aggressively attack men who fail to respect women’s boundaries. Despite originating from the light-hearted kids’ show Victorious, the song revolves around the very serious topic of consent. “Take a Hint” broadcasts the impressive vocal ranges of Justice and Gillies while containing feisty, witty lyricism: “Get your hands off my hips ‘fore I punch you in the lips/ Stop your staring at my, hey, take a hint, take a hint,” the two women sing.
“I Will Survive” — Gloria Gaynor
Gaynor’s uplifting disco anthem is a testament to perseverance and healing. Gaynor refuses to wallow in melancholia, opting to transcend her heartbreak and resentfully distance herself from the one who hurt her. She bitterly asks, “Did you think I’d crumble?/ Did you think I’d lay down and die?” It requires unbelievable grit to navigate the world as a woman. It’s necessary to channel Gaynor’s resilient spirit — mingle your anger with triumph and know that you will survive.