formulaic empowerment

In ALL, MOVIES, MUSIC by Stephanie Klein49 Comments

I was thinking today about empowering moments in my life, underdog moments, rising above it, I don’t give a shit what you think moments.

They come down to being told “no,” and doing it anyway. They’re defiant moments.  I was told I couldn’t be in AP English, but I took the official AP test anyway, and placed out of my first-year college English requirement. At North Hills, Lea had to race against the boys in the 8 and Under 25-yard event and was told that she shouldn’t bother competing. She came in first place. Tell me no, and time how fast I prove you wrong moments.Rudy moments. Standing on your desk Dead Poet Society moments.

Empowering moments sometimes boil down to integrity moments, doing what’s hard instead of what’s easy. High road moments. These are trickier. I think of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. She wants that money, needs that money, but she ironically “closes her eyes and swallows,” leaving the cash on the bedside table. Integrity moment. Scent of A Woman: he was pretty much offered a scholarship into Harvard if he ratted the boys out, but he didn’t do what was easy, or even self-serving, he did what was right. Actually, now that I think about it, those integrity moments aren’t very “how do you like me now!” They’re quieter. And probably not all that fulfilling in and of themselves unless you have a loud-mouth there to go off on your behalf. Sometimes though, it’s enough to know within yourself that you took the high road. I prefer the loud-mouths and wish there were more Lt. Col. Frank Slade’s in the world. My grandfather papoo was of that ilk. And dick or not, what a wonderful character capable of sucking the marrow from life. Not always empowered, certainly not about integrity, but man could he live. Drinking is starting early today. Loud hear-me-roar clit-rock to follow.

Anyone know of any CURRENT, UPBEAT fem empowerment music? I’m updating myPod for some cardio… something as good as Meredith Brooks’s Bitch? But more current?




  1. I recommend Fight Like Apes, an Irish band whose single Tie Me Up in Jackets is utterly fabulous angry fun. While you're at it, give Lykke Li a go (Tonight is a swoooon of a song), and I second the Ting Tings nomination above. Give it socks, girl!

  2. Here are my current faves for cardio workouts with either your "fem empowerment" condition or with a good beat that'll get you out of your head:
    Kate Nash – Foundations
    Kate Nash – Mouthwash
    Kate Nash – Pumpkin Soup
    Sara Bareilles – Love Song
    Pink – Stupid Girls (pretty much any of her rocker-sounding songs might fit your bill!)

  3. Don't know of any current music in that vein but my own, personal old stand-by in that department has always been "I Am Woman" by Helen Reddy. I even sang that song to my son, as a lullaby, when he was a baby and a toddler! I figured I might have to live with a male chauvinist but there was no way I intended to raise one! And, were you to meet my son today -at age 35 -well, suffice it to say, I think my plan of attack worked quite well!

  4. Gabrielle Cilmi "Sweet About Me". It plays all the time here in Italy at least, and the lyrics, "there's nothing sweet about me" seem like they might be what you're looking for.

  5. No offense, but for the love of God, please don't put Pink on your iPod. Try Y Control or Date with the Night by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I have no idea really what the lyrics mean, but they're empowering songs nonetheless. You'll see what I mean.

  6. Pink – all albums
    Little Jackie – I like you better before and the world should revolve around me
    Lady GaGa – this whole album is great
    Ting Tings – that's not my name

  7. I agree with Pink's Sober. I like her new album Funhouse…it has rock out stuff, deep stuff and silly sexy stuff.

    Also, Pat Benetar – Hit Me With Your Best Shot is a good oldie.

    For fun and a feel good song: Kings Of Leon – Sex On Fire. How empowering is it to hear a guy yell YOUR SEX IS ON FIRE!

  8. Kings of Leon 'Sex on Fire' is excellent, agreed above commenter. Catchy hook too.

    Try PJ Harvey. She's supreme and her song 'Man Size' kicks ass if you want to start with that.

    Also Kellis' (milkshake song chick..:) song 'Bossy' is good. And I'm not into that genre per se but it's excellent, enjoy.

  9. I second most the Pink Stuff, though Sober isn't really empowering to me.
    I also am totally Down with Christina… All of her songs, but particularly Fighter and Hold us Down.

  10. Dar Williams – "What do you hear in these sounds?" is my favorite, but all her fast songs are pretty good femme songs. The slow ones, too, if you are in the mood.

  11. Pussycat dolls "top of the world."

    Its the theme song for "The City" but totally has a I'm a working girl who's kickin butt feel.

  12. I recorded some of those really echo-y sounding farts inaide a toilet bowl, then added a backbeat. that's about as good as meredith brook's bitch.

  13. Ting Tings



    Duffy's less upbeat, but definitely pretty strong stuff and the Ting Ting's fulfill both requirements.

    Ooh! Also, a little dated, but equally awesome, Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

  14. "Diva" by Beyonce

    "Kill the Lights" Britney Spears

    "Foundations" Kate Nash

    "Pokerface" Lady Ga Ga

    "Shine" by Laura Izibor

    "Just Fine" Mary J Blige

    "When I grow up" Pussycat Dolls

    "Be ok" Ingrid Michaelson

  15. Not what you asked for, but it's hard to go wrong with Devo in any situation: empowerment, weddings, bar mitzvahs, and most ribbon cutting ceremonies.

  16. Love Lykke Li for feeling like you are at an amazing dance club, minus the drama. Sharleen Spiteri, Leonna Lewis, Duffy…

  17. This might not be upbeat enough for you, but Vedera has a fabulous female singer. And Lover's Lie is a great song!

  18. I love "Work That" by Mary J Blidge… "They gonna hate any weight, don't you get that… they'll never be happy cause they're not happy with themselves…"

    I think the most empowering female artist is Ani Defranco, but she's no good for cardio. Save her for post-fight with your husband car rides.

  19. Oh! And "Give it to me" by Madonna. "Don't stop me know, don't need to catch my breath, I can go on, and on, and on"

  20. Jill Scott: Hate on Me from the Album: The Real Thing Words and Sounds Vol 3 will get you going during cardio and make you think of those defiant moments too. She rocks. And she is a true poet. The whole Album is stellar!

  21. Definitely Little Jackie's "The Whole World Should Revolve Around Me", as well as Johanna Stahley's "I Can" and "I'm Not Perfect."

  22. Lady Gaga is the IT girl of the moment. She is also from NYC and takes control of every aspect of her career. She creates herself and her image through her writing, her music, and her Fashion! She is amazing!

  23. I think there is some Lily Allen in order. And I have to second the suggestions of Pink and Christina. And anything by the Donnas would work well, esp. for cardio.

  24. Oh I forgot one that hasn't been mentioned.

    Kellie Pickler – "Best Days of your Life" and "Going out in Style" They have a much more pop-rock sound to them versus country.

  25. I am going to *insist* that you listen to the song "Lightning is My Girl" by Melissa auf du Mer.

  26. God I love Meridith Brook's Bitch, I forgot had it. That's so going on my ipod. This is kind of pathetic but I really get moving to Beyonce's All The Single Ladies.

  27. Rachael Yamagata: "Sidedish Friend" and "Accident" off of her new album, Elephants…Teeth Sinking Into Heart.

  28. The Yeah Yeah Yeah's – Phenomena, Gold Lion
    Beyonce – Put a ring on it (which apparently is not about condoms, my niece informed me)…

    And Live your life by TI (featuring Rhiana so I just think that it is by Rhiana)… "So whatcha wanna do, come look at my shoes and see how I'm living if you really want to, got my mind on my money and I'm not going away… Just live your life" LOVE IT! My 2009 theme song.

    And there is nothing wrong with working out to Pink.

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