1. Fuck You – Lily Allen
Come out swinging with this masterpiece. A fun bop with lyrics in Lily’s sweetest tones, this song is a literal ‘fuck you’ to toxic masculinity, racism, homophobia and more besides. A kid/parents/radio friendly F U version is also available. See also; Sheezus and Hard Out Here (honestly, I could have filled this whole article with just Lily Allen!).
2. Bad Reputation – Joan Jett
An absolute classic, featuring lyrics such as ‘a girl can do what she wants to do’ and ‘the world’s in trouble, there’s no communication’ that has not paled in significance in the decades since they were written. Many covers are available by many great women so you’re sure to find a version you love.
3. Straight Outta Vagina – Pussy Riot
I’m lucky enough to have seen Pussy Riot’s ‘Riot Days’ show which was a political, punk tour de force, almost entirely in Russian. It was an amazing, messy experience, but Pussy Riot has also made some more accessible, pop-punk numbers. A timely, angry song about how those people in power who seem so terrified by vaginas all came from one, among other things. A little tip; don’t open the door to the postman while this is blaring out. He will stop knocking.
4. Men Explain Things To Me – Tacocat
The title of this one says it more clearly than any description by me could do, to be honest.
5. Black Tie – Grace Petrie
In fact, go ahead and add Pride and Farewell to Welfare on there too. Black Tie, which you may have heard on The Guilty Feminist, is a song for all of those who find the constraints of femininity too constricting and it’s jaunty and fun at the same time. Not to mention, it has the cleverest rhyme I’ve ever heard or read; ‘the images that fucked you were a patriarchal structure.’ Genius.
6. Slut Like You – Pink
Yes, I’m following a song about rejecting the structures of patriarchal expectations with a song about…sluts. Stay with me. Slut Like You is a song about casual sex, about being unapologetically sexual, about drinking and partying and having fun with no restrictions. And it was written by a woman. That in itself is radical. But the title also gives us a clue here; the ‘You’ this song is aimed at is men, men who think it’s OK to brag about their ‘conquests’ but expect women to be pure and virginal. Plus, Pink is awesome. Enough said.
7. Born This Way – Lady Gaga
I think we probably all knew this was coming. Queer icon Lady Gaga brought in this dance anthem full of messages of love, hope, and acceptance. What can we say, she was born that way.
8. Sincerely, Jane – Janelle Monae
Janelle Monae is unapologetically political in almost every one of her songs, but this pop-meets-big-band tune taking on racism and the attitudes to black majority areas in America (and beyond) is full of poignant lyrics, clever beats, and truly impressive vocalizations. There’s a long tale out at the end, but you need it to recover from the painfully accurate descriptions of our world she gives.
9. Hijabi – Mona Haydar
A love letter to all women who choose to wear a Hijab this song also includes t-shirt-able lyrics such as ‘love women every shading’, ‘covered up or not don’t ever take us for granted’ and ‘women haters get banished’. Plus some seriously good music to dance to.
10. The Future is Female – Madame Ghandi
‘The future is female, the future is great!’ With music that sounds like a slowed down dance anthem, lyrics that reference your favourite feminist theories and break down what we mean when we say ‘the future is female,’ this is the perfect end to this list. It resides somewhere between hip hop and spoken word and is somehow really calming to listen to.
What are your recommendations for the ultimate feminist playlist?