I love music. Even more, I love when artists actively push social conventions and have a strong feminist message that will empower the listener and make them think. Or have a dance. Whatever suits! However, I have two current favourites to discuss: FKA Twigs and M.I.A.
FKA TWIGS – After the release of EP and 18 minute visual ‘M3LL155X’, it is safe to say FKA Twigs is unequivocally defying convention. In particular, the track ‘I’m Your Doll’ ironically depicts the ideas of the submissive woman trying to make a man happy. The story behind this track somewhat haunting, as she explained to complex magazine….
”I’m your Doll’ is a song I wrote when I was 18 years old. What struck me most was the content of the song. I was just singing, ‘Love me rough/I’m your doll/Dress me up/I’m your doll,’ but it wasn’t with a certain irony that I would now understand. I realized that I’d been brainwashed and preconditioned to write a pop song and write it from that point of view’’
Nevertheless, this idea is then shattered by the next explosive 90s inspired track on the EP ‘In Time’, echoing lyrics such as ‘you’ve got a goddamn nerve.’ She also pushes boundaries through symbolism: vogueing, pregnancy, sex dolls… the lot of it. She uses these typically shunned and taboo images as a way to express her message: be yourself. Twigs is all about loving yourself, and very clearly expresses that in tracks such as ‘Glass and Patreon’: (‘I just want for you to love you.’) We need more of this in pop music.
M.I.A – MIA has been on the pop scene since 2000, and is no stranger to social justice issues and advocation. As a woman of Tamil Sri Lankan heritage, she is known to stand up for Tamil Genocide within the Sri Lankan Civil war.
In particular, the video ‘Bad Girls’ catches my attention every time I watch it, and has been named on of the best videos of the decade so far by NME. The video display women wearing embellished niqabs, dancing, driving cars, shooting guns and driving cars, particularly in line with the ‘women to drive’ movement in Saudi Arabia. MIA therefore displays her solidarity with them and I think it’s important that someone of such prominence, even to the point where The United States has restricted her access into and out of the country during her career since the release of her debut album. This should be an inspiration to us all.
SOME OTHERS: Noteworthy tracks and artists that fit the bill, and awesome women all round.
Janelle Monae: Q.U.E.E.N
Kate Nash- Sister
Joan Jett- Bad Reputation
Nicki Minaj- Anaconda
Kate Bush- Babooshka
CHVRCHES- Mother We Share
Lykke Li- I Follow Rivers.
Destiny’s Child- Survivor
Sky Ferreira- Lost In My Bedroom
First Aid Kit- Silver Lining
Ellie Goulding- On My Mind
Missy Elliot- Work It
Chloe Howl- Rumour
Do you have any other favourite songs written by feminist women?
Photo by Toni Rosado