Playlist: My 2018 Brand Is Dirtbag Femme

[Text] 2018 Personal Brand Playlists / Autostraddle [Image] Collage of various images including feet in a blue bathtub, a girl wearing a crown over her eyes, an old vintage stamp, an instamax image of a FEMME sign, veronica from river dale, and an illustration of a crystal.

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It all started with a bold purple lip that I bought on a whim at the supermarket, immediately fell in love with, and started wearing everywhere. “Purple lipstick is gonna be my thing in 2018,” I said confidently to everyone who asked, and also those who did not. (No one asked.) Then I realized I don’t really want to brush my hair anymore, but I do want to wear a lot more neon pink beanies. “I’m done with brushing my hair!” I exclaimed, and texted Alyssa to thank her for the inspiration. Next I went to Forever 21 in search of the perfect pajama set to wear to my upcoming slumber-themed belated birthday party (yes, I am really like this) and while they’ve gotten rid of their in-store sleepwear selection (a tragic mistake if you want my opinion) I did find the perfect pink crushed velvet crop top that has the words DREAM GIRL spelled out across the chest with metallic pink studs. “I AM GOING TO WEAR THIS EVERY DAY FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE!” I shouted in the dressing room, alarming (but not really surprising) my girlfriend and my best friend who had accompanied me on my pajama mission.

And that’s when I realized: the 90s are back with a vengeance, I’m into makeup again, and 2018 is gonna be the year I learn to truly not give a fuck what anyone else thinks. While looking really hot in a way that requires very minimal effort, obviously. That settled it: my personal brand for 2018 is Dirtbag Femme. Welcome.

But what is a Dirtbag Femme, you ask, with a hint of confusion in your voice. Am I not just channeling the most perfect playlist ever made when I speak of this identity, aka Laneia’s To Be An Emotionally Intense ’90s Woman? Well I would like to congratulate you for asking such a smart question, because yes, that playlist is an excellent jumping off point for any aspiring or realized Dirtbag Femme. But five years have passed since that playlist was conceived, and to be honest we are even angrier and crazier now than we were then. Say it with me: This is the year to truly stop giving any fucks. This is the year to burn the patriarchy down. This is the year to stand our ground, teach those around us who are willing to learn (when we have the energy to teach), and win some fucking midterm elections. This is the year to channel Betty Cooper and Tonya Harding and learn how to fix your own damn car. And this is the year to do it with makeup or without, with a hairbrush or not, and with absolutely zero fucks to give if anyone has a problem with it.

Dirtbag Femmes, this is our time. Join me, my purple lipstick, my long tangled hair (and, let’s be real, my fucking Bullet Journal) as we take charge and live our best lives. Allow this playlist to be your guide as you take on the world however you damn please, and let me know if I’ve missed any crucial Dirtbag Femme classics in the comments.

PS: Please note that Mary Lambert’s cover of Teenage Dirtbag is also a huge inspiration behind this identity and this playlist, but because the world is often cruel, it’s not available on Spotify so it’s not included in the playlist you can stream below. It is, however, very available on YouTube, so let’s all watch that together in preparation for the two hour masterpiece I put together for us, the Dirtbag Femmes of the world.

Dirtbag Femme Is Forever

Teenage Dirtbag, Wheatus

Don’t Fucking Tell Me What To Do, Robyn

Doll Parts, Hole

Call the Doctor, Sleater-Kinney

Portions For Foxes, Rilo Kiley

The Boxer – Remastered, Emmylou Harris

Fire, Beth Ditto

Chasing Shadows, Santigold

Bad Ones, Matthew Dear featuring Tegan & Sara

Every Day’s the Weekend, Alex Lahey

Anything but Ordinary, Avril Lavigne

Hotline Bling, Ceresia

Venus Fly, Grimes featuring Janelle Monáe

Sorry, Beyoncé

The Wire, HAIM

Fast & Frightening, L7

Bitch Theme, Bratmobile

Rebel Girl, Bikini Kill

Let ‘Em Talk, Kesha

I’m Good At Being Bad, TLC

Bad Girl, The Detroit Cobras

Rid Of Me, PJ Harvey

Split Personality, P!nk

I Touch Myself, Divinyls

Destroy Everything You Touch, Ladytron

Bad Girls, M.I.A.

Shut Up Kiss Me, Angel Olsen

Bracing For Sunday, Neko Case

Warm Leatherette, Grace Jones

Erase You, ESG

Champagne, K.Flay

Sober II (Melodrama), Lorde

Kiss Me Deadly, Lita Ford

Smells Like Teen Spirit, Patti Smith

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Vanessa is a writer, a teacher, and the community editor at Autostraddle. Very hot, very fun, very weird. Find her on twitter and instagram.

Vanessa has written 404 articles for us.


  1. I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s, and while I normally am more into 80’s music, I decided to listen to some 90’s music. I don’t know what it is, but a lot of it seems to have a sort of defeated feel. Even the happy or love music seems to have…I just don’t know how to more specifically describe it. It’s just defeated.

    • also shout out for the detroit cobras, who i have not thought about since 2004- am now listening to ‘hot dog’.

  2. No joke- almost 1/3 of this list is on my current daily playlist, so I am PUMPED to see this brand.

  3. I’m in just for the purple lipstick. It’s the color that has me feeling the most power and the most me. Plus, purple is Laker color and the fan sees that as a delightful bonus.

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