If we’re going to pick a buzzword for the music year, “feminism” is probably a good place to start. From rousing performances like Beyoncé’s at the VMAs, to satirical videos like J.Lo’s “I Luh Ya Papi” and even the less obvious victories like Rihanna fighting censorship to return to Instagram, pop took a stand for feminism in 2014. Read on for some of the most inspiring examples.
Beyonce’s VMA Performance
Beyoncé was the Fairy Godmother of feminism in pop music in 2014. Of any flag flying feminist, Beyoncé probably bought the brashest, most unapologetic attention to the movement. Performing at the VMA awards, a giant neon “FEMINIST” sign accompanied Queen Bey as she paused in her Vanguard Award medley to deliver the powerful political message. Any questions?
Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda”
Detractors would say that raunch doesn’t equate to liberation. But a woman autonomously taking control of her own sexuality does equate to liberation. Nicki showed choice and control with her reversal of the male gaze in “Anaconda,” reclaiming the body part that is most often fetishized by masculine desire and giving it back to the public in a uniquely re-packaged Nicki Minaj way. The point of feminism is that women can choose whatever they want for themselves, and that includes choosing how they present themselves. Nicki did a stellar job of being an empowered woman, claiming her own commodity instead of allowing it to be exploited by others.
Taylor Swift’s DeclarationThis year Taylor Swift slapped her younger self on the wrist for not being a feminist, and branded herself as such, loud and proud. Learning from her past mistakes and admitting fault showed a vulnerable side to Taylor, and a lot of personal growth, and we’re more than happy to have her on the feminist team. In an interview with a French talk show, Tay Tay said,
“The only thing that I saw was incredible acclaim and praise, and that’s just me going off of what I’m tuned into, which is my fan base of real girls out in the world living their lives. And when they saw their favorite actress get up in front of the U.N. and say what she said, I wish when I was younger, I wish when I was 12-years-old I had been able to watch a video of my favorite actress explaining in such an intellectual, beautiful, poignant way the definition of feminism. Because I would have understood it. And then earlier on in my life I would have proudly claimed I was a feminist because I would have understood what the word means.”
Jennifer Lopez’s “I Luh Ya Papi” Video
J.Lo’s amazing video for “I Luh Ya Papi” is one of our favorite feminist moments from 2014. A satirical clip, the video imagines what would happen if women made music videos the same way men do. The video, naturally, the features J.Lo and her all-woman posse with expensive cars and on a boat, partying with champagne and surrounded by semi-naked men with perfect bodies. It’s glorious.
Rihanna’s Return To InstagramRihanna was banned from Instagram in 2014 for being too racy… But in true RiRi style, the bad girl wasn’t having any of it. Standing up for a woman’s right to be as shirtless as she pleases (because men do it!) and inspiring the “Free The Nipple” movement that saw celebs and fans taking off their tops in support of the humble boob, Rihanna fought her way back to Instagram. Today she’s just as bold and sexy as ever.
Pharrell “Comes Out” As A Feminist
It’s always a win when a high profile male comes out and uses the “F” word. This year Pharell Williams, after the questionable “Blurred Lines,” won back our love by flying his feminist flag high. On Good Morning America, Pharrell said his new album, Girl was a celebration of women not just as sexual beings, but for their resilience, hard work, and the way they’ve inspired and looked after him throughout his life. He said,
“[Women] don’t get paid as much as men do — that needs to change. We’re a species that has a Martian rover on the surface of Mars, but yet we’re still the same species that tries to tell women what they can and can’t do with their bodies.”
Nicki Minaj’s BET Award Acceptance Speech
Accepting an award at the BET Awards, Nicki once again proved why she’s one of our favorite feminists in pop culture,with her perfect speech, in which she said:
“I thank God that I’ve been placed in a position to do something and represent women in a culture that is so male-driven.”
Some gossip mongers suggested this was a dig at Iggy Azalea, but Nicki holds fast that it wasn’t intended to be so at all and that she’s all about the sisterhood. And we believe her.
Lorde’s Take Down Of Diplo
Mean spirited DJ and producer, Diplo, started a website this year slagging off Taylor Swift for having a “flat ass”. “Not cool Diplo,” we all thought. But Lorde, being the tenacious and clever teenager that she is, jumped to BFF Tay Tay’s defense, telling Diplo EXACTLY how it is on Twitter.
Iggy Azalea Standing Up to EminemWhen Eminiem distastefully rapped about raping Iggy Azalea (because rape is so COOL, obvs), Iggy had some choice words to serve up to the offensive rap artist via Twitter. And she managed to bring up a great point about women making it in the music industry too, so kudos for her for not only standing up for herself, but for all women in the face of a largely misogynistic genre.
The Billboard Charts Being Dominated By WomenThere were plenty of individual victories for feminism in music this year, but there was also an overall victory given that it was the gals that DOMINATED the charts in 2014. And when we say dominated, we mean women completely Katniss Everdeen-ed that shiz. 2014 marked the FIRST TIME in Billboard 100’s 56 year history that the top FIVE chart spots were held EXCLUSIVELY by women for 6 consecutive weeks. The women at the top were Meghan Trainor, Taylor Swift, Iggy Azalea, Tove Lo, Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj. This kind of thing happens to the boys quite frequently, as was the trend in 2013. The last time women had that kind of chart dominance was fifteen years ago when top 5 domination by women lasted only five weeks.