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Girl Powered: Awesome Songs About Women

Updated on June 08, 2013
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There's more to March than pollen and college basketball. It also happens to be women's history month. And even though many people have mixed feelings about months that only celebrate one group or culture, they have their purpose.

And to me one way to really affect history is to listen to music. I love music for so many different reasons and learning about life in different eras is definitely one of them. To be honest, I do not listen to a lot of music prior to the mid twentieth century. Not because I am biased to modern history (I am in many ways) but I just happen to relate better to music closer to my era.

A song to me is like a great poem or essay. It can tell you so much in so little time. Great songs paint pictures and share stories. It's definitely the way oral history gets passed these days. And with that in mind, I really wanted to create a women's history month playlist of songs that really stirred dialogue about women and women's issues. Some you may know and others you may not. But either way, I hope this sparks your interest about women's history in a new way.

Martina McBride Independence Day

Martina McBride is one of the icons of modern country. Her voice is powerful and dynamic and her delivery is the same. I am not as familiar with her music as I could be but hearing her sing, I can easily see why she is so popular.

The song is about a battered wife essentially getting independence from her abusive husband by burning the house down with him in it. The song caused a stir for answering domestic violence with even more violence.

But it was necessary in getting people to pay attention to the real trauma of domestic violence. This song was important in not only winning awards but drawing attention to something that people were too quick to sweep under the rug.



No Doubt Just a Girl

If you remember the 90s like I do, there are several things you remember quite fondly. I remember TGIF, recess, and awesome music. One group that definitely got my attention was No Doubt. I thought Gwen Stefani pretty much looked like Barbie if she had better hair and a quirky sense of humor. Not only that, but she was the only girl in a group full of guys, one of whom included her ex-boyfriend.

But what really made me relate were songs like Just a Girl. This song is pretty much making fun of all of the dumb things some people say that girls cannot do. And it says it in the best tone ever. If I could list songs I wish I were smart enough to write, this would definitely be one of them.

If anything research has refuted some of the myths Gwen Stefani addresses like women driving late. Women are much better drivers than men. And I have the facts to prove it. And the whole thing about girls being pretty and petite is not always true. Some of us are chubby, tiny, athletic, lanky, silly, but you can't put us in one box. And we're definitely not defenseless as women are outpacing men in getting a college education among other things.

But I'm quite sure Gwen wasn't thinking about any of this back in the day. All she wanted to say was say stop treating me differently simply because I am a female. And to this day, we are still saying the same thing. However, if it was not for Gwen we would not have such a cool anthem.

What a Girl Wants Christina Aguilera

Before you laugh at me for picking this song, you must understand where I am coming from. If it was not for this song, a whole movement of girl power may not have happened in the early 2000s post-Spice Girls era of music.

People do not give Christina Aguilera enough credit for being an artist in favor of women's rights. And while this song on the surface is a simple pop ditty about a young girl in love, it also addresses the facts that her boyfriend is attentive to what she needs in a relationship. This was a notable departure for most teen songs since they usually focused on the girl changing to fit the guy's needs.

And while there are many other songs Christina Aguilera has sang about female empowerment such as "Can't Hold Us Down", this song is most memorable for going to #1. I also enjoyed how the phrase became a phenomenon, even sparking a movie of the same name in 2003 starring Amanda Bynes.

This song is not the biggest and best of what women's empowerment through music stands for but you have to admit it is one of the catchiest.

Creep TLC

This song is awesome but I am sure you are wondering why I put this on the list. I think this song struck a blow for women in a different sort of way. Creep is about a woman in an unsatisfying relationship who decidedly cheats on her unfaithful boyfriend.

While I would never condone infidelity, this was the first time I really remember women not taking being cheated on for granted. And in all honesty, in most relationships it seems like there is an eye for an eye mentality.

I do not honestly think TLC wanted to tell all women to cheat if they felt like they were being wronged but I think for the most part it was telling them to realize their needs in a relationship are just as important if not more than a man's needs.

And if that includes cheating, so be it. Besides, women know how not to get caught.

Big Girls Don't Cry Fergie

Every time I hear this song, I remember why I enjoy listening to Fergie's voice. She may spend way too much time talking about humps but there's that moment where she really breaks through and pulls you in.

"Big Girls Don't Cry" has to be one of my favorite songs of the past ten years. It's simple, raw, and real. I could hear the vulnerability in Fergie's voice from the first note. And in a lot of music that is rare.

While many people are quick to judge the song based on the title alone, the truth is it is nothing like the Four Seasons' song of the same title. Fergie is talking about something a lot of women have to do, move on.

And while she particularly is moving on from a relationship that seemed productive, she is also talking about getting her life together. It's very personal and very insightful. If I had to guess, Fergie probably lived the words of this song more than anything which is why it is so powerful.

Independent Women Part 1 Destiny's Child

This song is essentially self-explanatory as are most Destiny's Child songs. At the point in time it was released it not only marked the final incarnation of DC3 but also the beginning of the Charlie's Angels franchise in the 21st century. The collaboration obviously paid off big time for both groups.

I love this song because they emphasize not depending on anyone but yourself to get what you need out of life. It's not talking about denying help but more so rebuffing the idea that women particularly need a man to provide.

And while this message was being spread it also did not hurt that young girls grew up and took these words to heart. I know I did.

Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam featuring Full Force I Wonder If I Take You Home

Did you know this song was actually written by a group of young men in the mid 1980s? In fact, Full Force had this song in mind after putting together Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam with lead singer Lisa Valez. They were so impressed with her voice and strong personality, they wanted to create an anthem for her.

Indeed they did. "I Wonder If I Take You Home" became a crossover smash and a generational statement for a group of young people coming of age in the confusing early AIDS era.

The message of the song is simple in questioning if spending the night really means you're in love or your a flavor of the moment? It was sampled by the Black Eyed Peas among many others.


Doo Wop (That Thing) Lauryn Hill

Lauryn Hill was her own force in the 90s as part of hip-hop group The Fugees and appearing in movies like Sister Act 2, she took it to another level when she went solo with her 1998 debut album This Miseducation of Lauryn HIll. The first single from the album hit with a bang, debuting at number one.

Doo Wop (That Thing) essentially the best type of advice from friend to friend. She advises that instead of giving a man everything he wants, to take it slow and know who you are. It's a powerful message that still resonates today.

However, Lauryn was so insightful, she also talked to men who are prone to fall for women who are just as manipulative.

Whether or not you have relationship troubles, this song has become an essential summertime jam for everybody.

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    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Hooray for Girlpower! This is a great list with some great songs. I love how you cover all generes. I actually like all of these songs. Great job. Sharing!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Okay, I obviously need to listen to more music because I only knew one of these songs. I did, however, listen to these and all are great choices. And just between you and me, if it weren't for women us men would be in a world of hurt! Great hub!

    • molometer profile image

      molometer 5 years ago

      Some classic songs here in the making.

      Reminds me of Maddona's Material girl. Everyone misinterpreted it. She was actually saying 'she is not a material girl. But as it was at the end of the song no-one got it?

      Interesting read and the videos were nice too. Voted up and useful. Socially SHARING

    • Express10 profile image

      H C Palting 5 years ago from East Coast

      I enjoyed this hub. I love all these songs. I also agree that Fergie spends a few too many chances talking about lady humps. So many people try to judge them on just one lyric or the title and miss the spirit of the message. Awesome hub.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image
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      Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Thanks so much for coming by and commenting Tammy!

    • Alecia Murphy profile image
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      Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      I am glad you enjoyed the list billybuc! And I agree about men needing women more than we know at times too! Thanks as always!

    • Alecia Murphy profile image
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      Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Hi Molometer,

      I think all of these songs have great messages beyond the title as well. Thanks for coming by and sharing!

    • Alecia Murphy profile image
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      Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Thanks Express10. I think Fergie would be a lot more celebrated if she changed it up but I agree so many people peg her on a couple of silly songs than taking more time to get to know her music.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Awesomeness!!! Martina McBride rocks in a country sorta way! I love your song choices! All of them! I would like to add Beyonce's Run The World...that song could motivate any woman!:)

    • profile image

      onlooker 5 years ago

      I love all these songs and I mean it Alecia. Growing up I idolized Gwen. She was so different, nothing usual macho even. I think she helped me become more gutsy, if you can relate to that. If she can be carefree why can't I? I used to think.

      Us women aren't hungry for power, we just don't want to be treated differently, that is all, right?

      Great hub Alecia, thank you.

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 5 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Dear Alecia,

      I celebrate YOU, my new friend! I absolutely love your spin on all that is current... you are one of my youthful guru guides now! I am very choosy!

      First off, pats on the back that I know and love every song but ONE... which would be Creep! Now I love Creep, don't get me wrong, but new and need to further explore...!

      Your priorities are straight and you show that women are just plain cool, no matter how old we are, when we believe in ourselves!

      Voted UP & All across the board (Funny, cause I like to strut around pretending I have fergie's hump!! Now, let the old lady pretend!)

      Love this, Love you...Maria

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 5 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      There are some great songs here.. thanks for sharing and I am so glad it is women;s history month... we need a lot of months.I think we deserve a lot of months.. LOl

      great hub... so glad i found your hub.

      voted way up

      Debbie

    • Alecia Murphy profile image
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      Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Thanks Sunshine! I could've added Beyonce but then I would feel like I would have to add another TLC or Christina for balance! And I agree that Martina McBride definitely rocks!

    • Alecia Murphy profile image
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      Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Hi Onlooker,

      I agree that Gwen Stefani definitely influenced those of us who grew up in the 1990s. She wasn't afraid to be herself in a real way but she also embraced her femininity.

      I agree that women just want equal rights above any and everything else! Thanks for coming by and commenting!

    • Alecia Murphy profile image
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      Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Hi Maria,

      Thanks for coming by! I agree women are cool and we should just embrace that fact :)

    • Alecia Murphy profile image
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      Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Hi Debbie,

      I agree we definitely need a lot of months! Thanks for coming by and commenting!

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      These are great songs Alecia. I agree that the lyrics can be empowering for women, you have made good selections. Well done!

    • profile image

      janellemendoza 5 years ago

      Nice hub Alecia! Great read :)

    • Alecia Murphy profile image
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      Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Thank you janellemendoza!

    • Alecia Murphy profile image
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      Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Hi ChristyWrites,

      Thanks for coming by and commenting!

    • Dexter Yarbrough profile image

      Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States

      Hi Alecia! As I was reading through, I was wondering, "Where is Destiny's Child?" You saved the best for last! Great, great hub!

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I'd like to add this oldie by Nancy Sinatra "These Boots are Made for Walking." Unfortunately, I haven't heard most of your selections here before. Shows you how old I am. Voting this Up and Interesting.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image
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      Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Hi Dexter! Thanks for reading and coming by! I agree Destiny's Child was definitely the best :)!

    • Alecia Murphy profile image
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      Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Hi Alocsin,

      I didn't think about Nancy Sinatra but I definitely think it's a Girl Power song. Thanks as always!

    • EuroNinila profile image

      Fotinoula Gypsyy 5 years ago from NYC BABY

      Great list! I used to listen to all these songs :)

    • MarieAlice profile image

      MarieAlice 5 years ago from Peru

      I love the one by Christina Aguilera "what a Girl wants" !!1 used to be one of my favorites...

    • Alecia Murphy profile image
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      Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Hi EuroNinila,

      Thanks for commenting!

    • Alecia Murphy profile image
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      Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      "What a Girl Wants" is always awesome! Thanks MarieAlice!

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 4 years ago from Dubai

      Love the song selection, girl powered - yes hats off. Voted up. Enjoyed reading.

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 4 years ago from UK

      Great selection Aliecia. Despite being a guy ( I make no apologies! ) your list does include some of my favourite numbers and artists. Great theme and superbly put together. Voted up, of course!

    • Alecia Murphy profile image
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      Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Thank you Vellur!

    • Alecia Murphy profile image
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      Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      This hub is all inclusive! Thanks Docmo :)

    • Tom Koecke profile image

      Tom Koecke 4 years ago from Tacoma, Washington

      No one has mentioned Helen Reddy's "I am Woman!" Even though the song was overplayed, it became the anthem for the women's liberation movement.

      Great songs, and great theme!

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I vote this hub as awesome. No doubt there! I like Independence Day. Great songs here and I like the idea of the hub too.

    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 4 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Great article! Love this!

    • profile image

      lovedoctor926 4 years ago

      I vote up. I like the song Big girls don't cry, that's right! lol.

    • MsLofton profile image

      MsLofton 4 years ago from IL

      I agree this are awesome songs!!!! great article!

    • Alecia Murphy profile image
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      Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Hi Tom,

      Thanks, I understand Helen Reddy but I don't really feel that close to the song as others do- but it is very powerful.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image
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      Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Thank you Christy! I think Martina McBride was very brave for doing what she did during a time when country music was still quite safe.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image
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      Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Thanks so much for coming by Angela!

    • Alecia Murphy profile image
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      Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Thank you lovedoctor- I agree Fergie's tune is awesome!

    • Alecia Murphy profile image
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      Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Thank you so much MsLofton for coming by and commenting!

    • GDRshop profile image

      GDRshop 4 years ago

      I will survive!

    • MelChi profile image

      Melanie Chisnall 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      YAY for girl power! I'm so glad you mentioned TLC - they are one of my favourite all girl bands. Great hub! :)

    • Tom Koecke profile image

      Tom Koecke 4 years ago from Tacoma, Washington

      Ah, Alecia, you did title it "awesome songs," so the overplayed anthem probably does not fit. I was just surprised that it had not been mentioned until, of course, I mentioned it!

      Again, superb selections!

    • Alecia Murphy profile image
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      Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Thanks Melchi! I agree TLC was one of the best groups ever!

    • Alecia Murphy profile image
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      Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Okay thanks Tom!

    • amymarie_5 profile image

      amymarie_5 4 years ago from Chicago IL

      TLC and No Doubt.. wow that takes me back! Great songs!! Thanks for sharing!!

    • Alecia Murphy profile image
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      Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Thanks so much amymarie_5!

    • MelChi profile image

      Melanie Chisnall 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      All of these songs except the first one were on a rewindable playlist at one time or another. My favourite song out of all of them is "Just a Girl" - No Doubt. Thanks for this - loved it! Girl power, yeah! :)

    • Alecia Murphy profile image
      Author

      Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Thank you MelChi! Gwen Stefani knows girl power like no other :)!

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      I loved this article and all the songs you picked for girl power here, especially Fergie's Big Girls Don't Cry (I thought I was the only one who loved that song). I am not huge fan of Fergie's but this song truly was a favorite of mine, because it is pretty damn catchy, plus I do the message too. Have voted, shared and tweeted as always!!

    • remaniki profile image

      Rema T V 4 years ago from Chennai, India

      Great videos and a lovely choice of songs Alecia. Enjoyed reading about girl power. Very interesting hub. Socially shared and tweeted too. Cheers, Rema.

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 4 years ago from London, UK

      I love this Hub and I the ladies. Only a week ago, I was watching the TLC video of NO Scrubs. lol. Good Memories!!

      Thanks.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image
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      Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Thank you Janine! I agree- Fergie's music leaves a lot to be desired but she really knocked that song out. And to think she almost gave it to another aritst!

    • Alecia Murphy profile image
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      Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Thank you remaniki!

    • Alecia Murphy profile image
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      Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Thank you so much Lady E! No Scrubs is definitely a classic :)

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      I love all these, especially What a Girl Wants by Christina Aguilera. Thanks for sharing, Alecia! Passing this hub around.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image
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      Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Thank you Michelle!

    • profile image

      Stargrrl 2 years ago

      Yeah! These songs are awesome, and they mean a lot to me, too. Good hub. Voted up.

    • Breanne Ginsburg profile image

      Breanne Ginsburg 2 years ago

      Alecia,

      You mention some excellent songs! I too love "Big Girls Don't Cry" by Fergie and "Just a Girl" by No Doubt. Another song I'd like to mention is "Stronger Woman" by Jewel. Great article!

    • Alecia Murphy profile image
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      Alecia Murphy 2 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Thank you stargrrl!

    • Alecia Murphy profile image
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      Alecia Murphy 2 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Hi Breanne,

      I will have to listen to "Stronger Woman." Thanks so much for stopping by!

    • profile image

      Ashleigh 7 months ago

      True Friend by Miley Cyrus is suggested

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