There are songs … and then there are anthems — the type of jams you totally identify with and want to belt out every time you hear them on the radio.
In May 2019, Halsey paid homage to fed-up feminists the world over when she released “Nightmare,” a rock-fueled track in which she discussed a seemingly universal irritation of being told to “smile more” while walking down the street.
“Come on, little lady, give us a smile / No, I ain’t got nothin’ to smile about / I got no one to smile for, I waited a while for / A moment to say I don’t owe you a goddamn thing.”
The “Without Me” singer, of course, wasn’t the first to vent her frustrations through song — far from. Who could forget the “Genie in a Bottle” singer’s 2002 collaboration with Lil’ Kim, “Can’t Hold Us Down,” in which the Grammy winners advocated shouting out loud when others tried to silence their voices?
Or No Doubt’s satirical ’90s hit, “Just a Girl,” in which lead singer Gwen Stefani lamented the treatment she received as a “pretty and petite” girl in a man’s world?
One has to wonder what “girl power” would even be without U.K. pop group the Spice Girls to lead the feminist charge using the slogan during the mid-‘90s — the five-piece practically invented the term, though there were plenty of empowered musical pioneers before them.
Aretha Franklin and Gloria Gaynor, for instance, were belting out tracks about strong women decades prior with 1967’s “Respect” and 1978’s “I Will Survive,” respectively.
Watch the video above to find out who else made the cut and sing along with 10 of the most iconic girl-power anthems of all time!