New week, same question: what’s popular in the music world and why should we care? Second question: is it just me, or is it hot in here? 2016 has been a particularly steamy year in reference to the female music scene. I’m talkin’ Ariana Grande, Selena Gomez, Fifth Harmony...the list goes on. To set the scene, I might point to Britney Spears as the “older sister to break in mom and dad.” From her wholesome start, complete with a pleated schoolgirl skirt, Britney bared the brunt of societal criticisms as she struggled to become a woman under the spotlight. And yes, there was a boa constrictor involved. Great girl, great girl. While I grew up with the headlines of the next generation of female Disney stars, including Lindsey Lohan and Miley Cyrus, I think I turned out okay. As a silver lining, perhaps these events and negative reactions helped to pave the way for stronger female role models to emerge. I think that Beyonce’s fourth album, “Beyoncé” (2014), was a turning point by breaking down the floodgates. Long story short, the notion that women should be in charge of their bodies, and no one else, is finally pervading mainstream media — and I don’t see it going away anytime soon.
In 2016, Ariana Grande’s “Dangerous Woman,” spoke for itself as the coming of age of the once-innocent and cute Nickelodeon icon. However, an interesting discussion can be had as to how female artists can own their sexuality without exploiting it to the masses. In regards to the titular track, does a woman have to be labeled as dangerous if she’s pursuing exactly who and what she wants? I have mixed feelings about her playboy bunny-esque album artwork, but I suppose the point is that she owns it. Heck, on “Side To Side” (feat. Nicki Minaj), Ariana isn’t even trying to skirt around the fact that she is a sexual being and doesn’t care what others think. And honestly, I love it. For so many years, it was acceptable to have men singing and rapping about having sex, often times quite crudely, yet the same was a taboo for female singers.
Speaking of Nicki Minaj, the queen of rap is no stranger to owning a female power duo. Her “Feeling Myself” (2014) collaboration with Beyoncé is evidence that empowerment, or “feelin’ yourself,” is something that everyone can resonate with. Last year, Hailee Steinfeld made waves with “Love Myself” (2015), an anthem about self-love, in both senses of the word. Is it … interesting … listening to songs about that in the car with my mom? Yes. But is it about time that we accept women as sexual people, not sexual objects, in music and movies? Absolutely. Also, I want to make it clear that I don’t just sit around listening to trashy millennial music with my mom and dad, although I definitely talk about that a lot here. Also, if you’re into respectin’ women music, check out my Spotify playlist.