12 of the Most Empowering Female Music Videos
by Faith Brar
Just in case you are in desperate need of a pick-me-up.
From Beyonce convincing women that they “Run The World” to Aretha Franklin demanding just a little bit of “Respect”, we’ve gathered some of the best power ballads that are guaranteed to boost your confidence — because let’s be real, there’s nothing quite like a girl power anthem to pick you up when you’re down.
1. Try – Colbie Caillat
In one of her most powerful music videos, Colbie Caillat shows women from all different ethnicities, ages and body types realizing that they don’t have to “try” to change themselves and that they are perfect just the way they are. Even Caillat removes all the airbrush and makeup that drastically alters her appearance, encouraging women not to set beauty standards based on women on TV.
Best Girl-Power Line: “Take your makeup off, let your hair down, take a breath, look into the mirror, at yourself—don’t you like you?”
2. Redneck Woman – Gretchen Wilson
Driving four-wheelers through the mud and drinking beer with the guys is not the only thing this video is about. Redneck Woman is Wilson’s self-depiction of her life and an anthem for every girl that’s not a “Barbie doll type.” It’s a reminder to never forget where you came from and more importantly, to always be proud of it.
Best Girl-Power Line: “I’m a redneck woman, I ain’t no high class broad. I’m just a product of my raising, I say, hey ya’ll and yee-haw.”
3. Respect – Aretha Franklin
Amidst the civil rights movement, the Queen of Soul debuted this iconic soundtrack that was not only culturally appropriate, but also an empowering anthem for women. This was one of many songs that helped Aretha Franklin become the first woman to get inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. We’ve got nothing but R-E-S-P-E-C-T for this woman.
Best Girl-Power Line: “R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me.”
4. Stronger – Britney Spears
Even though the pop queen spends most of her time dancing with the chair in the music video, the song embodies a powerful message to girls who’ve had their hearts broken. Sick and tired of being cheated on, Spears uses her physical strength to prove that she is totally fine and in fact stronger being on her own.
Best Girl-Power Line: “Now I’m stronger than yesterday. There’s nothing getting in my way, my loneliness ain’t killing me no more.”
5. I Luh Ya Papi – Jennifer Lopez
J.Lo. attempts to tear down sexism in the music industry through this visually stimulating video. It satirically objectifies men, showing them giving sexual car washes, laying on a yacht showing off their hot bods and catering to J.Lo’s every desire. Now that’s one heck of a way to call out the gender-based double standard.
Best Girl-Power Line: “Got that hourglass for you, baby, look at these legs. No brakes, go green, no red.”
6. Run The World – Beyonce
With 310 million views on YouTube, there’s nothing quite like this music video to leave you feeling like a powerful woman. Queen Bey literally wages a war on men, backed by her enormous girl army of course. Lions, hyenas and dark steeds make an appearance—and of course the dancing is unforgettable.
Best Girl-Power Line: “My persuasion could build a nation. Endless power, with our love we can devour. You’ll do anything for me.”
7. Roar – Katy Perry
Right after her marriage with Russel Brand came to an end, Perry debuted “Roar” to prove that she is a true survivor and that other women can be too. Racking over a billion views on Vevo, this video is definitely one of Perry’s most epic performances.
Best Girl-Power Line: “I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire. ‘Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar.”
8. Man! I Feel Like a Woman – Shania Twain
Country-sweetheart, Shania Twain encourages women to express themselves and more importantly be proud of their womanhood through this music video—even if that means going a little wild from time to time. This song also earned Twain a Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance in 2000.
Best Girl-Power Line: “I want to be free yeah, to feel the way I feel. Man! I feel like a woman.”
9. Girl On Fire – Alicia Keys
This song is all about rebirth. The Girl on Fire symbolizes a phoenix that’s been burnt, but rises again from its own ashes. The music video shows Keys being a mother, caretaker and home runner—giving the message that a woman shouldn’t be ashamed to play those roles, because they are extremely important in keeping a family together.
Best Girl-Power Line: “Looks like a girl, but she’s a flame. So bright, she could burn your eyes. Better look the other way. You can try but you’ll never forget her name. She’s on top of the world.”
10. Express Yourself – Madonna
This 1989 hit is all about encouraging women (and pretty much everyone) to reject material needs and to learn to be happy with themselves. By not going for second best, Madonna urges people to strive for the best.
Best Girl-Power Line: “You deserve the best in life. So if the time isn’t right then move on. Second best is never enough. You’ll do much better baby on your own.”
11. These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ – Nancy Sinatra
This revenge classic features Nancy Sinatra strutting a pair of fancy high heeled boots that she plans to wear while walking out on the man that broke her heart. The video features ravishing women dancing and feeling confident in themselves, ready to walk all over the man that walked all over them.
Best Girl-Power Line: “These boots were meant for walkin’ and that’s just what they’ll do. One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you.”
12. Fighter – Christina Aguilera
Though this song can be interpreted as a heart-break anthem, it is much more than that. Aguilera was just 21 when she came out with this hit, trying to embody the struggles of growing up in an abusive home and being picked on in school. For anyone who’se been knocked down, this song encourages you to get back up and be a fighter.
Best Girl-Power Line: “If it wasn’t for all that you tried to do, I wouldn’t know just how capable I am, so I wanna say thank you. “