I’ve been trying to cook up a body positive music post for AGES and always hit a wall: Only a handful of songs came to mind.
7. Lily Allen – Everything’s Just Wonderful
I do love me some Lily, and she’s definitely into subverting the dominant paradigm … but tends toward the whiny side of body image issues, which is why she’s last on MY list. Still, gotta give the girl credit for calling a spade a spade.
Why can’t I sleep at night,
Don’t say it’s gonna be alright,
I wanna be able to eat spaghetti bolognaise,
and not feel bad about it for days and days and days.
In the magazines they talk about weight loss,
If I buy those jeans I can look like Kate Moss,
Oh no it’s not the life I chose,
But I guess that’s the way that things go
6. Ani DiFranco’s “Evolve”
Ani has many, many powerful feminist anthems in her back catalog and several touch on issues of beauty, body, and sexuality. But my favorite is this snippet from this fairly recent release.
So I walk like I’m on a mission cuz that’s the way I groove
I got more and more to do, I got less and less to prove
It took me too long to realize that I don’t take good pictures
Cuz I have the kind of beauty that moves
5. Prince’s “Kiss”
Prince’s horny-ness knows no bounds. Power to the Purple One for wanting ALL of our kisses, no matter what we look like. (Also in this category: Flight of the Conchords’ hilarious “Ladies of the World“)
You don’t have to be beautiful to turn me on
I just need your body, baby, from dusk till dawn
You don’t need experience to turn me out
You just leave it all up to me
I’m gonna show you what it’s all about
You don’t have to be rich to be my girl
You don’t have to be cool to rule my world
Ain’t no particular sign I’m more compatible with
I just want your extra time and your
4. “My Funny Valentine”
Along the same lines as Prince and FOTC, but considerably more tender and less raunchy. I’m partial to Elvis Costello’s cover of this Rodgers and Hart classic, but couldn’t find it on YouTube, so you’ll have to suffer through the dazzlingly talented Sarah Vaughan.
My funny Valentine, sweet comic Valentine
You make me smile with my heart
Your looks are laughable, unphotographable
Yet you’re my favorite work of art
Is your figure less than Greek, is your mouth a little weak
When you open it to speak are you smart?
But don’t change a hair for me, not if you care for me
Stay, little Valentine, stay
Each day is Valentines day
3. Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful”
Sure it’s a bit cheesy, but Chrissy serves up a simple, powerful message. This chorus could be an anthem for women who struggle to love themselves.
I am beautiful no matter what they say
Words can’t bring me down
I am beautiful in every single way
Yes, words can’t bring me down
So don’t you bring me down today
Click to view/hear … embedding is disabled
2. “Free Your Mind” by En Vogue
Oh my, my, do I ADORE this song. Those harmonies still give me goosebumps. I remember being in high school and watching this video over and over, mesmerized by the costumes and the voices and the strong, resonant message. Screw the circus, I wanted to run off and join En Vogue.
This song is about shattering prejudices of all types, and doesn’t focus specifically on bodies, but gets major bonus points for addressing issues of personal style and dismissing image-based stereotypes. Musical bonus points for giving us neeeeearly enough cowbell.
I wear tight clothing and high heeled shoes, that doesn’t mean that I’m a prostitute
I like rap music, wear hip-hop clothes
That doesn’t mean that I’m out sellin’ dope
Oh my forgive me for having straight hair
It doesn’t mean there’s another blood in my heirs
I might date another race or color
It doesn’t mean I don’t like my strong black brothers
Why, oh, why must it be this way?
Before you can read me you got to learn how to see me
1. India.Arie’s “Video”
Pretty much the ultimate. It doesn’t get more affirming and powerfully positive than this, kittens. Listen, absorb, and let the serenity wash over you.
Sometimes I shave my legs and sometimes I don’t
Sometimes I comb my hair and sometimes I won’t
Depending how the wind blows I might even paint my toes
It really just depends on whatever feels good in my soul
I’m not the average girl from your video
and I ain’t built like a supermodel
But, I learned to love myself unconditionally
Because I am a queen
I’m not the average girl from your video
My worth is not determined by the price of my clothes
No matter what I’m wearing I will always be the India.Arie
Click to view/hear … embedding is disabled.