Songs That Define Womanhood: Girl Power Anthems Ali Segel

I express love through mix CDs. I think it’s a really thoughtful (and easy) way to show you care. I’ve made ’90s mixes for friends, and miiiighhhtt have made a romance mix for one or two boys I’ve had crushes on in the past. In fact, I’m the designated driver in my group of friends, and I demand (okay, strong word) a CD from anyone who enters my car. And I won’t lie to you: every time I receive a CD, I fully psychoanalyze each song on the track… only to conclude that the giver is desperately in love with me. I know you do that, too.

One of the best mixes I’ve received was entitled “Girl Power Anthems”. Great for road trips, girls’ nights, dance parties, birthday gifts and break ups. Here are some of my favorite sisterhood songs that, to me, define and seek to understand womanhood.

Billy Joel – ‘She’s Always A Woman’

Want to know what happens every time this comes on while I’m driving? Clue: it involves sobbing! ‘Always a Woman’ is one of my favorite songs of all time. The lyrics so beautifully describe how multidimensional women can be. We are capable of both cruelty and kindness, sometimes in the same moment. We can be flawed, wounded and child-like, but also cunning, loving and independent. This song is so simple and honest and speaks to me in a big way.

India.Arie – ‘Video’

THE FIRST LINE TALKS ABOUT NOT SHAVING YOUR LEGS, SO I AM ALREADY FEELIN’ THIS JAM FROM THE START. But in all seriousness, the lyrics are a manifesto of female empowerment: “And I know my creator didn’t make no mistakes on me / My feet, my thighs, my lips, my eyes, I’m loving what I see…” I used to listen to this song in high school over and over again in my room. Still think my creator might’ve messed up on my feet, though. #sizetens #weirdbigtoe

Shania Twain – ‘Man! I Feel Like A Woman’

I love how Shania has male guitarists playing in the background as eye candy, a clear shout out to the female guitarists in ‘Addicted to Love’. This song is all about having a good time & letting your hair down. Sounds best at full blast with the windows down.

Beyoncé - ‘Why Don’t You Love Me’

All Hail Queen Bey. I can’t get over the makeup and costuming in this video. Floral grunge? Smeared mascara? Lingerie? Dirty Martinis? It’s perfection. Important side note – have you seen this website: PLEASE HELP ME BEYONCE? Choose a feeling and a “what has he done now” option (cheated? made eye contact from across the room?) and a Beyoncé video will pop up on the screen to fit your mood. Let B heal you with some music vids, bb.

Meredith Brooks – ‘Bitch’

“You know you wouldn’t want it any other way.”

P!nk – ‘Perfect’

I wasn’t so sure about P!nk at first, and I don’t really know why. Maybe it’s the exclamation point. Like, what if I started calling myself Al!? But now I love how she doesn’t conform to the normal conventions of beauty. Also, thumbs up to the acrobatics she does at award shows that make me feel both out of shape and in awe of her thigh muscles. HOMEGIRL IS BUILT. Warning: video is intense, but I think it accurately portrays the lengths we at times go to achieve perfection.

Katy Perry – ‘Part of Me’

“Throw your bombs and your blows
But you’re not gonna break my soul
This is the part of me
That you’re never gonna ever take away from me, no”

Lily Allen – ‘Hard Out Here’

This song is everything. This video is everything. #thestruggle

Christina Aguilera’s – ‘Fighter’

Oh, Xtina. This song, tho. “’Cause if it wasn’t for all of your torture / I wouldn’t know how to be this way now and never back down / So I wanna say thank you.”

Destiny’s Child – ‘Survivor’

Dolly Parton – ‘Jolene’

I identify with this song because it speaks so honestly about the fear, jealousy and desire we have to possess another when we are in love. Real talk: Miley Cyrus does a bomb cover. As do the White Stripes. As do I when I am driving alone in my car.

So, ladies (& gentlemen), what are some of your favorite girl power anthems?  List them in the comment section below!

Featured image from my Instagram

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  1. I would have to tack on ‘Stand Back’ by the incomparable and enchanted Stevie Nicks, ‘You Don’t Own Me’ by Lesley Gore (also memorably heard in the second season of American Horror Story), ‘My Man’ from Funny Girl; Barbra sings about how no matter how she tries, her true love will never know how she feels, a problem so many of us women are faced with. And finally, ‘I Feel Pretty’ from West Side Story, because every woman should have a reason to feel pretty. Great list!!

  2. Bad Girls – M.I.A
    Go! – Santigold
    Heads Will Roll – Yeah Yeah Yeahs

  3. What about
    “Run the World (GIRLS)” – Beyonce
    “I”m a Woman” -Peggy Lee
    “I’m every woman” -Chaka Chan/Whitney Houston
    “Firework” – Katy Perry
    “Born This Way”- Lady Gaga
    “Girl on Fire”- Alicia Keys
    “Superwoman”- Alicia Keys

  4. No Scrubs by TLC, definitely.

  5. Seanan McGuire – “Wicked Girls”

  6. Shania Twain – Feel like a woman

  7. TLC – Unpretty.. it always makes me feel empowered that being pretty comes from within not from those around me.

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