The Rise of Strong Women in Pop Music

Black and white photo of a woman from the neck up. Her face is blurred. There is a box centered on the woman's head with the text "CONFIDENCE" and three black arrows pointing up toward the text.
Confidence Boost

By Brianna Love

In 2017, we saw a rise of strong feminist women in the Pop music genre. Women such as Hailee Steinfeld, Meghan Trainor, Miley Cyrus, Kesha, and Bea Miller, did some amazing acts to promote feminism. The acts don’t seem to go unnoticed by the young women who listen to this particular genre. From independent women to adolescent girls, the influence of these women in the spotlight promotes strength and love.

On April 28, 2017, Hailee Steinfeld released a song titled “Most Girls.” This song promotes being comfortable in who you are as a woman and appreciating the other women around us. Hailee sings: “Most girls are smart and strong and beautiful. Most girls work hard, go far we are unstoppable. Most girls, our fight to make every day, no two are the same. I wanna be like, I wanna be like most girls.” In the music video, Hailee makes it clear that the song is in response to the common saying “you’re not like most girls.” Instead of turning against each other and judging each other as a female population, “Most Girls” promotes being proud of who we are as a community of women.

Meghan Trainor’s song “I’m a Lady” complements “Most Girls” perfectly. Meghan sings: “And I don’t look like them (But I ain’t worried about it). I don’t talk like them (But I ain’t worried about it). I know I’m a gem. I ain’t worried about it, I ain’t worried about it ‘Cause I’m a lady.” There’s no need to worry if you’re not the same as someone else because that is the beauty of it all. We are not the same, but we stand together. My favorite part of this song is the lyric:

“I know I laugh too loud
And I might cry too much (come on).
To all those judgy eyes
I got a whole lotta love.” -Meghan Trainor, I’m a Lady

These are common stereotypes of women. We laugh too loud and that’s “unacceptable.” We cry too much and that’s “annoying.” We attempt to force ourselves into a tiny box that society has made for us just to fit in. Meghan is saying I’m done with that. This is who I am. So what if it’s “unacceptable” in your eyes. I’m proud to be this woman and you can no longer put me in that box. She sings: “All my girls, show them you’re a lady.
Tell the world, say that you’re proud to be a lady.”

Miley Cyrus also did her share of promoting feminism as a judge on The Voice season 13. In the blindfold auditions, Miley made it her goal to have the first all-female team and she accomplished it. She made history in the show. She was in search of women who stood out, not only with their voice, but also in their choice of songs and their presence on stage. Throughout the auditions, Miley, along with Jennifer Hudson, continuously spread the word of female empowerment. It was definitely not a season to miss.

On July 13, 2017, Kesha released a song titled “Woman.” This song is all about being an independent woman who doesn’t rely on a man to provide for her. Interestingly, she sings, “Boys can’t buy my love.” Looking at our culture, that’s practically what we allow them to do. Traditionally, men pay for the dates, the jewelry, the bills, etc. Through her song, Kesha says no more of that. She makes her money. She pays the bills. She can buy her own drinks. To hell with tradition, she doesn’t need a man to provide for her.

Bea Miller released her song “S.L.U.T.” in 2017. The title threw her fans through a whirlwind. The word expressed in the title has a negative connotation and is offensive to most, if not all, women. That is exactly the opposite of what Bea Miller says she stands for. However, the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” applies. Don’t judge a song by the title. Bea Miller’s song title is an acronym for “Sweet Little Unforgettable Thing.” This is expressed throughout the song, making it clear what the title stands for. This song is about being confident in who you are. Simultaneously, the title changes the connotation of the offensive word that so many women hear. It essentially says, “I know who I am. I am confident in who I am. You can think whatever you want about me, but you’re wrong. Therefore, your words have no power over me.” That is such a powerful message to be sending women. The following is a quote of the description for the music video:

“I made this video hoping to bring love and light into a world with too much hatred and negativity. Love yourself!!!! Be kind to others!!! Use your words for good instead of evil!!!! Dance your way through life and try to inspire everyone to do the same!!!” -Bea Miller

As we begin 2018, we can only hope that these messages continue to be promoted. Music has a powerful impact on our culture in society. It has the power to influence a mass audience. As 2018 continues, the hope is that more music genres leave the tradition of women relying on men and men putting down women and move to a more positive message. #ProudToBeAWoman2018

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