The entertainment industry is chock-full of age old sexist ideals that can be dehumanizing and embarrassing to listen to. With so much sexism prevalent today, it can feel discouraging to only have access to songs where artists sing about either their butt, boobs, or both. However, you don’t need sexist ideals to make a chart-topping song. Check out the twenty artists that promoted gender equality and empowerment here!
20. “Cheerleader” by OMI
Why we love it: the song is about having someone in your life that cheers you up and motivates you to be a better person. Relationships are more than how attractive someone looks when you first meet them. It’s an ongoing process of two individuals becoming better people when they are together.
19. “Lean On” by Major Lazer & DJ Snake (featuring MO)
Everyone needs someone to lean on, and this song reminds us of that. What makes this song fantastic is that it does not sexualize any individual to sell a song, but rather reminds people of how much we need each other as humans.
18. “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten
Rachel Platten became a household name when she released her song titled “Fight Song.” The empowering and fearless lyrics struck a common chord in the people that feel anything but, and became the song to get through finals week, family troubles, and anything else that could come someone’s way. Even when we feel powerless, there is always a reason to keep fighting.
17. “Like I’m Gonna Lose You” by Meghan Trainor
You can write a romantic song without being sexist or gender normative, as exemplified through Meghan Trainor and John Legend’s ballad, “Like I’m Gonna Lose You.” It’s not about objectifying someone for lustful pleasure but rather valuing the people you love and refusing to take them for granted.
16. “Stressed Out” by Twenty One Pilots
Twenty One Pilots understands that their listeners care more about sex and immediate gratification. In their song “Stressed Out,” the duo draws attention to the enormous amount of pressure millennials face when entering adulthood. Not only are they able to relate to their college aged listeners, but it’s refreshing to see a chart-topping artist create conversations about mental health and stress.
15. “New Americana” by Halsey
Brooklyn raised and inspired artist Halsey gained international attention when she released the song “New Americana.” The song quickly became the anthem for the millennial generation, the people who defy social norms and create a path for their own.
14. Here by Alessia Cara
Alessia Cara became our new BFF when she released her hit song “Here.” In her song, she recognizes that not everyone needs a relationship, and empowers every single person. Yaaas, Alessia, yaaas.
13. “Confident” by Demi Lovato
We live in a society where confidence is coined as the key to success, but confident people are put to shame. We teach people to feel small, to be afraid to ask questions, and reluctant to take opportunities. In her song, “Confident,” Lovato puts all the haters to silence when she poses the simple question: what’s wrong with being confident? Our answer: absolutely nothing.
12. “Love Myself” by Hailee Steinfield
It’s easy to get so wrapped up in the pursuit of caring for others that you forget your own needs. In her song “Love Myself,” artist Hailee Steinfield reminds us that it’s okay to love yourself first before looking for satisfaction in another person.
11. “One Call Away” by Charlie Puth
You are strong enough to be your own superhero, but sometimes it’s nice to know that there are people here for you if you need it. “One Call Away,” sung by the heart-throbbing Charlie Puth, reminds us to reach out to people when we need it.
10. “#SundayFunday” by MAGIC!
The boys of pop-reggae group MAGIC! got a bit of backlash when they released the song “Rude,” as the boyfriend asking permission from the father to marry his daughter was seen as gender-normative. However, the boys made up for it in their 2015 release of “#SundayFunday,” a fun, summery tune about making the most out of each day.
9. “Centuries” by Fall Out Boy
For years, Fall Out Boy has been the voice of teen angst, the sound of rebels who want to defy what’s normalized in society. In their song “Centuries,” the desire to be remembered is pronounced, making the ambitious teens feel like their dreams are validated.
8. “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” by Silento
Whether you like the song or not, it caught worldwide attention…without having sexist lyrics or old fashioned gender standards within its lyrics. You go Glen Coco.
7. “Better When I’m Dancing” by Meghan Trainor
Speaking of dancing, Meghan Trainor’s “Better When I’m Dancing” tune is the newest toe-tapping beat to feel empowered. It’s a feel good song, without the underlying meaning of gender inequality. Woo!
6. “Hey Everybody” by 5 Seconds of Summer
Boybands did not see their death after the 1990s, as pop-punk group 5 Seconds of Summer released their epic song “Hey Everybody!” If you danced to this song while getting ready for class, don’t worry. We won’t judge you.
5. “Hello” by Adele
2015 was the year of epic comebacks, and sitting on the Comeback Throne was British pop singer Adele. In her song “Hello,” she sings about her former lover, but in a very important way. She doesn’t attribute his worth to his body. She doesn’t play the blame game or try to make it a situation that it’s not. She’s sorry, without being sexist.
4. “Locked Away” by R. City featuring Adam Levine
Songs based on sexism often only see men and women as objects to be used at the dominating gender’s free will, instead of a long-lasting commitment to honor another human being. “Locked Away” poses the humbling question: will you still love me the same?
3. “Growing Up (Sloane’s Song) by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, featuring Ed Sheeran
Macklemore was one of the artists to join the New Father Club this year, and he was scared half to death. In his song “Growing Up (Sloane’s Song),” Macklemore expresses a desire to be the father that his daughter deserves, while empowering the mother as an intelligent and equal person. New challenge: try to listen to this song without a teary eye.
2. “Bad Blood” by Taylor Swift featuring Kendrick Lamar
Sometimes fights occur and you’re left angry. However, in your anger, it is important to not blame entire genders for the actions of one individual. In her song “Bad Blood,” Taylor Swift remembers this, complete with an epic girl squad to back her up.
1. Renegades by X Ambassadors
Folk is back, and X Ambassadors are leading the movement. We love this song because although catchy and marketable, it doesn’t rely on making other people feel like they are less than what they deserve.
What are your favorite non-sexist songs from 2015? If we forgot your favorite,drop it in the comments below!
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