Bad Girls Do It Well: Celebrating Women in Music
Today is March 8th, which is recognized as International Women's Day. Today we celebrate the true female heroes who have helped shape and change the world. Today I thought I would share some of my favourite female musicians who have used their platform to be vocal about female rights, human rights, and activism while just being ultimate bad asses. Here we go!
It's undeniable that Pink is a woman who stands out in music. From day one the singer, named Alicia Moore, has never wanted to adapt to the standards of music. Having broken the mould in comparison the other pop stars that were emerging at the time (Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, etc), Pink embraced her tomboy attitude and encourage her young listeners to be themselves and do what they want and not follow the crowd. In her song "Stupid Girls" she sings "outcasts and girls with ambition, that's what I want to see".
Laura Jane Grace
Laura Jane Grace. After having come out in 2012, and the reelase of their 6th studio album Transgender Dysphoria Blues, the Against Me! singer brought about awareness of her transition and her progression through her AOL series. The series focused on her transition, her coming out, and speaking with others who identify as transgender. This is huge for music given that there aren't that many trans music icons that people can look up to.
Hip-hop/electronic star, MIA has always been known to stir the pot, but has never backed down. In her music video for Bad Girls off the album Matangi, MIA channeled male angst in the form of female dancers. There's also a scene in the video where a woman is wearing a niqab while driving a car, something that is strictly prohibited in Saudi Arabia. After its release, she received a lot of criticism, but she was also praised for highlighting the male perspective and the unfair female advantage. She's also received death threats to her and her son because of her interest in activism, but instead of being distraught or brought down, she used it as a source of inspiration for her album Maya.
Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast
Bethany appears to be one of the few women who don't get nearly enough recognition. Lead singer of the band Best Coast, Cosentino drives more of her attention on issues outward, rather than through music. Recently she was featured in Lena Dunham's Lenny newsletter where she expressed her concern of women not being properly portrayed in the media, especially as a female lead singer, and flack she's received from rude people. As well, she remains vocal about her concerns on Twitter, like her support for Planned Parenthood, and raising awareness for her fans.
Although some negative media light may have been shined on her recently with her legal battles, Kesha has to be one of the most bad ass women in music right now. Never afraid to speak her mind, the pop singer has always shared her continuous support for the LGBTQ community. She named one of her albums, Warrior, after the fans who have fought for their right to be themselves. Most recently, she has come out to the public to share that she was sexually assaulted by one of her producers. And although she didn't win the legal battle, her bravery to share her story has sparked encouragement to many people who are afraid to admit that they themselves have been attacked.
It might be hard to do a list about female importance and advocacy without mentioning Beyonce. Queen B has always been about female independence from the early Destiny's Child days with songs like Independent Women and Survivor. But more recently she's been using her fame as a way to bring awareness to serious social causes. It's hard to forget the infamous VMA performance where she had a massive screen behind her that said "FEMINIST" or that a good percent of her ticket sales are going towards helping the water issue in Flint, Michigan. She has her crown and wears it proudly.
It goes without saying that Demi Lovato has become an advocate for so many different things. After battling with an eating disorder for most of her life, the singer went into Rehab and bounced back better than ever. Since, she's used her songs as a way to encourage fans to feel good about themselves no matter the shape or size.
Lady Gaga has been a huge influence on pop music, but she's been just as vocal about serious issues surrounding the media. An advocate for LGBTQ rights, she has always brought up in her song the importance of embracing yourself and who you are, and to never conform (most noted in songs like Born this Way). Recently, she's been supporting Kesha as she goes through her legal battles with Dr. Luke.
Unfortunately, a lot of people give Nicki Minaj the wrong kind of attention. She doesn't get taken seriously sometimes because people are more focused on her looks and attitude as opposed to the voice that she's giving to people. Minaj is a female bad ass in her own right in the sense that not only is she sharing about major issues, but she's rapping about them too. Some may not know that Minaj had an abortion as a teenager, and she made sure that the public was aware of the damaging effect it can have on someone. She bravely spoke about it in her song when she could have shied away from it. In live performances and televised events, Minaj has encouraged her female fans to make their own money, get their own education, and to not be at the mercy of a man. That sort of encouragement proves that she's a boss and can run with it.
Those are some of my favourite ladies. Who are yours?