The 10 Best Girl-Power Songs Ever

What you want?
What you want?
Photo by Marc Brubaker

Wanna know who's badass? Women.

Know what's equally badass? Girl-power anthems. And no, we're not talking about cheesy power ballads a la Christina Aguilera or Mariah Carey. We mean the songs that encourage women to feel proud of their badassery, while embracing what it is to be a chick. Songs that are unabashedly pro-woman and celebrate everything from roaring to being a rebel, and everything in between.

The thing is, women kick ass, and sometimes it's important to remember that little fact. Luckily, these ten songs will help you do so. After all, who runs the world? You know the answer.

10. "Video," India.Arie Back in 2001, this songbird proclaimed that she's all about doing whatever it is her little heart fancies, whether that is not combing her hair to (perhaps) shaving her legs. But whatever it is she decides to do -- or not do -- it ain't no thing, because she's freakin' flawless.

It's pretty great to see how she owns every bit of being a free-willed chick, and while the singer eschews the average video-girl stereotype, India still proves to be completely and utterly mesmerizing.

9. "No Scrubs," TLC This TLC jam was the bane of quite a few dudes' existences in the '90s, and rightfully so. It called out some of the more ridiculous behaviors of the male sex -- not showin' your shorty love or sitting on your broke ass, for example -- while declaring that as women, they would not be taking that scrub behavior anymore. "No Scrubs" pretty much took over the entire female population, becoming the second-biggest Hot 100 hit of 1999 as it had women shutting down broke busters everywhere.

Upcoming Events

8. "Run the World (Girls)," Beyonce Who runs the world? Girls! Sure, there are all sorts of arguments as to why Beyonce is not a feminist, despite her claims to the contrary, as well as a number of other criticisms about this song. But to be honest, we frankly do not give a damn.

This song is Beyonce at her best, proclaiming that girls run the world. We like to see it as a fancy middle finger to the patriarchal society -- a middle finger we can dance to, mind you -- and without it, our girl-power list would be a much sadder place.

7. "You Oughta Know," Alanis Morrisette Alanis Morrisette's 1995 hit "You Oughta Know" was blunt, riddled with angst, and downright badass. Initially, it was a bit odd to think that this super-pissed anthem was written about Dave Coulier, the comedian dude from Full House, but that quickly became a non-issue thanks to all the theater-themed badassery. Morrisette inadvertently helped raise a whole new group of angst-embracing women.

6. "Don't Come Home a-Drinkin'," Loretta Lynn Way back in '67, country musician Loretta Lynn was telling dudes how it is (and isn't). She had no problem at all shuttin' down her lover's drunken antics with just a few well-chosen words.

5. "What's Love Got to Do With It," Tina Turner Tina Turner's 1984 hit "What's Love Got to Do With It" may have been written by a couple of dudes, for a dude -- writers Terry Britten and Graham Lyle first offered it up to British pop singer Cliff Richard to record -- but she turned into an unmistakable girl anthem nonetheless. In the song, Turner is eschewing love, because fuck it -- and the heartbroken, haunting way in which she does it has resonated with women for decades.

Story continues on the next page.


4. "I'm Every Woman," Chaka Khan Chaka Khan, Chaka Khan, everybody Chaka Khan. Her funky 1978 hit -- her first outside her longtime band Rufus -- is all about bringing about camaraderie among women. When layered with those super-powered vocals and the band's sweet, sweaty funk, it makes for a fantastic girl-power song.

3. "Respect," Aretha Franklin Aretha just knows just how to run the game, which is pretty obvious on this 1967 hit originally recorded by Otis Redding as a plea by a really desperate dude offering to hand over whatever a woman demands. Aretha played into that, telling the world that this woman knows just how to demand what she wants -- her profits -- and while that dude's kisses are sweeter than honey, guess what? So is her money.

2. "I Am Woman," Helen Reddy I am woman, hear me RAAAAWR. Or something like that, right? That's pretty much the gist of Helen Reddy's original girl-power anthem from the '70s. This OG girl-power song celebrated female empowerment and sold more than 1 million copies, becoming a No. 1 hit in 1972.

It also became an enduring anthem for the women's liberation movement, which was reaching a pinnacle in the early '70s. But while its "screw you, I'm a chick and you'll listen to me" message made plenty of noise back then, it continues to be a staple of the grrrl-power movement even today.

1. "Rebel Girl," Bikini Kill As pioneers of the riot-grrrl movement, punk-rock protagonists Bikini Kill became notorious for their radical feminist lyrics -- in a good way. Their abrasively pro-woman stance is at its best on songs like 1993's "Rebel Girl," featuring lyrics like these:

When she talks I hear the revolution In her hips there's revolution Where she walks the revolution's coming In her kiss I taste the revolution

That says just about everything a proper girl anthem needs to say.


The Ask Willie D Archives Houston's Top 10 Hipster Bars, Clubs & Icehouses 2014 Today's 10 Most Promising Young Metal Bands Hip-Hop's Seven Best Breakup Songs Houston's Top 10 Rooftop Bars and Lounges

Upcoming Events

Sponsor Content


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >