Rebel Girls Dance Party: Women’s Voices Through Time

Click for More Posts!

Click for More Posts!

One of my introductory-level WGST courses in college was called “Women’s Voices Through Time.” It was, obviously, not this playlist. But I’d like to present, in classically theoretical form, the concept that this playlist might be superior to that course in which I studied feminist theory because this playlist is about putting theory into praxis – on the dance floor, in the bedroom, and everywhere in-between.

Every generation, subculture, and human being on Earth has a “feminist anthem.” Some of us sing them in the shower. Some of us rolled around to them on the disco floor. Some of us jump up and down really weird to them? And some of us just cruise to them like total Gs. But altogether, those anthems tell a story about the evolution of how women have lived and experienced feminism through time, and they also illustrate how our cultural standards for expression have varied and shifted along with those experiences. What I’m saying is, this is a big ol’ pile of feminist anthems – organized in alphabetical order by artist name so that I wasn’t accused of playing favorites – that I think each have their own merit in this world.

Playlist: Women’s Voices Through Time

NOTES: In an effort to keep it simple, I limited it to one song by artist, and all of the artists are women. (I love Elton John as much as the next queen, but let’s hear it for the girls this time.) If I left out your anthem, let me know! After all, I know I’m every woman, but like, I can’t possibly be every woman downloading every remotely feminist song on Earth at once.

Women’s Voices Through Time from Autostraddle on 8tracks Radio.

All I Really Want – Alanis Morissette
Girl On Fire – Alicia Keys
Battle Cry (feat. Sia) – Angel Haze
Respect – Aretha Franklin
***Flawless (feat. Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche) – Beyoncé
Rebel Girl – Bikini Kill
He War – Cat Power
Strong Enough – Cher
Mind Your Manners ft Childish Gambino – Chiddy Bang
Fighter – Christina Aguilera
God Has a Voice, She Speaks Through Me – CocoRosie
You Gotta Be – Des’ree
Independent Women Part 1 – Destiny’s Child
She Works Hard For the Money – Donna Summer
Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves – Eurythmics
I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor
Hollaback Girl – Gwen Stefani
Gutless – Hole
B.I.T.C.H. – Jamelia
Q.U.E.E.N. – Janelle Monae ft Erykah Badu
Bad Reputation – Joan Jett
Merry Happy/Little Red – Kate Nash
Bossy – Kelis
Pretty Girl Rock ft. Kanye West – Keri Hilson
Meeting In The Ladies Room – Klymaxx
I’m Not Your Toy – La Roux
FYR – Le Tigre
You Don’t Own Me – Lesley Gore
Fuckin’ Nasty Bitch – Lil Carmen
The World Should Revolve Around Me – Little Jackie
Salute – Little Mix
Extraordinary – Liz Phair
The Pill – Loretta Lynn
Bad Girls – M.I.A.
What it feels like for a Girl – Madonna
Bitch – Meredith Brooks
Work It – Missy Elliot
Real Girl – Mutya Buena
I’m The Best – Nicki Minaj
Just A Girl – No Doubt
Boys Wanna Be Her – Peaches
50 Foot Queenie – PJ Harvey
U.N.I.T.Y. – Queen Latifah
A Better Son-Daughter – Rilo Kiley
Too Fucking Facety – RoxXxan
Ain’t Nothin’ But A She Thing – Salt N Pepa
I’m A Lady – Santogold
Man! I Feel Like a Woman! – Shania Twain
#1 Must Have – Sleater-Kinney
Typical Girls – The Slits
Wannabe – Spice Girls
Girls – Sugababes
That’s Not My Name – The Ting Tings
No Scrubs – TLC
Silent All These Years – Tori Amos
Talkin’ Bout A Revolution – Tracy Chapman
I’m Every Woman – Whitney Houston
Y Control – The Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Rebel Girls is a column about gender and feminist theory and the founding mothers of the women’s movement. It’s like a women’s studies class, but better! Mostly because nobody has to wear pants.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


Carmen spent six years at Autostraddle, ultimately serving as Straddleverse Director, Feminism Editor and Social Media Co-Director. She is now the Consulting Digital Editor at Ms. and writes regularly for DAME, the Women’s Media Center, the National Women’s History Museum and other prominent feminist platforms; her work has also been published in print and online by outlets like BuzzFeed, Bitch, Bust, CityLab, ElixHER, Feministing, Feminist Formations, GirlBoss, GrokNation, MEL, Mic and SIGNS, and she is a co-founder of Argot Magazine. You can find Carmen on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr or in the drive-thru line at the nearest In-N-Out.

Carmen has written 919 articles for us.



    Better than every rebel girl dance party mix I have ever made for myself (and there have been many…)

    Gonna play this LOUD tonight as I paint by the side of the canal so everyone can hear it. Thanks!

  2. Two that I’d definitely include in my own playlist if I were to make one:
    X-Ray Spex – Oh Bondage, Up Yours!
    Against Me – Transgender Dysphoria Blues

  3. I don’t know how you managed to pick just one Queen Bey or Destiny’s Child masterpiece.
    Ummmmm All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor. And I know people have problems with the music video (I do, too), but Hard Out Here by Lily Allen is fab. Piece of Me – the legendary Britney Spears. Let Me Blow Ya Mind – Eve.
    And I feel like I should include P!nk, JLo, and Ciara somewhere in there but Idk.

  4. I dunno how you chose just one Sleater Kinney and Bikini Kill song. I’d have a hard time, or just have all the songs be from those two bands, oh and from Wild Flag.

    • I used to have a t-shirt that said “Who’s bed have your boots been under?” In glittery letters. It was basically the best shirt ever and I’m still sad I outgrew it.

  5. Ani DiFranco- Not A Pretty Girl. Not exactly danceable but still my favorite anthem. Especially live.

  6. The Rebel Girl written by Joe Hill but (atleast to me)the most known rendition is Hazel Dickens not exactly dance party music.
    First thing that came to my mind tho….imadork.

  7. Oh snap that song I use to shadow box and do sit ups is on here. I forgot about Fighter, how did I do that?

  8. I love this list. Great job putting it together!
    My own feminist anthem and a song that totally changed my life was “Feels Blind” by Bikini Kill.

    “As a woman I was taught to always be hungry
    Yeah women are well acquainted with thirst
    Well, I could eat just about anything
    We might even eat your hate up like love”

    Those lyrics specifically have always meant a ton to me. I’m probably getting the words “Feels Blind” tattooed on my wrist this year. First tattoo!

    Against Me’s “Transgender Dyshporia Blues” and Beyonce’s “Pretty Hurts” have made a big impact me on recent years as well. I love feminist music.

  9. I am just now getting a chance to listen to this playlist and it is making my Monday so so much better. Also I love that its so epically long because I’ve been listening on & off all day and it’s still not over! Thanks for all the work you put into this!

Comments are closed.