Your (Feminist) Songs of the Summer

By Shelby McNabb

Ahhh, the “Song of the Summer”. An esteemed title that gets doled out each year by most mainstream music publications to the catchiest song of the season that seems to follow you everywhere. Last year, Billboard proclaimed that the winning song was “Cheerleader” by artist OMI, and a known frontrunner was Fetty Wap’s “Trap Queen”. Neither song was what you would consider “feminist”, and both were laden with pretty harmful stereotypes of what it means to be a woman.

This year, we’re advocating for something a little more empowering. Thus, we have finalized what we think are the hottest (and most feminist!) songs of the Summer. Our final picks range from the usual pop tracks to a rock ballad and some hip hop hits, so there is something for every feminist fan. What’s your pick?

Rotten Teeth – HOLYCHILD ft. Kate Nash

Summer is for swimming, sunning and the freedom to do whatever you want. But unfortunately for women sometimes this season comes with a heightened culture of body shaming. And if you’re feeling particularly frustrated by this season’s host of oppressive beauty standards, “Rotten Teeth” is the perfect song to sing to (and scream to) when you’re in one of those moods. Complete with a music video that highlights the policing of women’s body hair, singer Liz Nistico sings “I can never be the girl I want to be / No no I’m never free”. Yeah. We can relate.


BitchSlut – Ana Wise

In “BitchSlut”, new artist Ana Wise sings “I know what kind you are/ If I say no I’m a bitch, say yes I’m a slut”, perfectly capturing the double-standard that so many women face. She brazenly calls out slut-shamers and woman-haters, and she does it with style. Rocking red lips and red shades in her music video, she smiles amidst shots of palm trees and swimming pools, oozing confidence and swagger. All in all, BitchSlut is a quintessential feminist Summer anthem and we’ll be playing it all season long.

Your Best American Girl – Mitski

Mitski’s “Your Best American Girl” is an antidote to every cliché, sexist “Summer love” song that spends too much time in the lyrics describing the girl’s blonde hair and tan skin. Written from her own perspective, Mitski describes with soulful sincerity the feeling of trying to fit into a romance that isn’t quite right. If another upbeat dance track isn’t your style, then “Your Best American Girl” might be a good one to put on repeat when you drive with the windows down. Plus, it ROCKS.

Stop Desire – Tegan & Sara

You don’t get any more classic than Tegan & Sara, so we are incredibly thankful that they released their latest album “Love You to Death” just in time for us to blast it all Summer long. “Stop Desire” is possibly the catchiest, brightest, most sing-able track on the album, and that is saying something. This song is an example of pop perfection.

Go Off – M.I.A.

M.I.A. is back with a banger that is totally deserving of a spot on our Summer soundtrack. In her new single, M.I.A. reps girl power singing: “There is no competition/ I’m gonna talk and you gonna listen/ I’m on ten like men, even better than them”. With its killer beat and catchy tune, “Go Off” is highly recommended to inspire motivation during an evening jog or any other outdoor activities you might have planned this Summer.

Final Song – MO

Danish queen of pop MO is known for her upbeat, danceable hits and “Final Song” is no exception. This song is already making a splash as the Summer anthem, and we cannot help but agree. At the very least, its a hell of a lot more feminist than “Cheerleader”. “Final Song” is the jam to play at a late-night Summer get-together, right before the party dies out, and it is sure to get everyone dancing one last time.

Strive –ASAP Ferg, Missy Elliott

Missy has RETURNED and it feels so good. She kills it in “Strive”, a track that feels as much “dance” as it does “hip hop” and centers around a refreshingly empowering message about ambition and seizing opportunity. If you’re working your Summer away, whether that is at an office internship or selling ice cream to make a few extra dollars, this is the Summer anthem for you. Listening to ASAP Ferg and Missy Elliot chant “I can see it in your face /And I know you wanna fly/ So get off your ass / And create your life” you’ll know you made the right choice.

By Shelby McNabb

Shelby McNabb just finished her first year at UCLA, where she is getting her Masters of Public Policy. In her free time, she co-hosts and co-produces a podcast, the Left Ovaries, with her best feminist friends. She is also working on a project to provide incarcerated women with access to feminine hygiene products by donating menstrual cups.

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