Childhood Feminist Anthems

(Life update: I’m back from Kendal Calling feeling slightly broken, but a few more Lush baths and I should be back to normal… I hope. Anyway, on with the post…)

Last week I was flicking through music channels on the tele when I came across Christina Aguilera’s classic tune ‘Can’t Hold Us Down’ featuring Lil’ Kim from way back in 2003. That song was nine year-old Charlotte’s jam, but it has only just occurred me, listening as 21 year-old Charlotte, that that song is feminist as fuck. The lyrics are so on point, and still as relevant as ever 12 years later. This got me thinking that maybe this song and other music I listened to as a child/pre-teen impacted my way of thinking, my attitude and my beliefs more than I would have thought.

So I started thinking about which other songs I listened to when I was younger that probably also had a hand in instilling the feminist message in me before I even knew what the word meant, and came up with this list:

1) I’ve obviously already mentioned it, but had to put it in the official list – Christina Aguilera feat. Lil’ Kim – Can’t Hold Us Down (2003)

2) The Pussycat Dolls – I Don’t Need a Man (2006)

3) Spice Girls – Wannabe (1996)

The gateway to feminism for many a 90s girl – GIRL POWER!

4) Destiny’s Child – Independent Woman (2000)

5) The Pussycat Dolls (again) feat. will. i. am – Beep (2005)

The Pussycat Dolls generally I think taught me a lot about feeling good about yourself and expressing female sexuality unapologetically. That might seem strange in a post about childhood music, but growing up with that kind of message and not having it criticised as wrong for any reason can only be positive in my eyes.

6) Ciara – Like A Boy (2007)

7) Beyonce – If I Were A Boy (2008)

Obviously Beyonce/Destiny’s Child could fill this list by themselves, but I think this song came out at a time when I could understand the lyrics enough to appreciate the message.

8) Gwen Stefani – Hollaback Girl (2005)

9) Avril Lavigne – I Don’t Have To Try (2007)

I’ve got a lot to thank Avril for, and that grrrl power attitude, particularly from the Best Damn Thing album, is certainly one of them.

10) Christina Aguilera – Fighter (2002)

I thought I would round off the list with another Christina song, because she had many a feminist banger, and the angriness of this song I think probably had a hand in making me the angry feminist I am today. Thanks for making me a fighter, Christina!

I’ve always been adamant that music is important in shaping as well as being reflective of a person’s personality and the way they think about the world, and I think this has just proved to me that pop music had a very positive impact on me when I was growing up.

I hope you enjoy the little playlist I’ve put together, feel free to add your own/let me know which songs influenced you as a child!


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