Turn it up: Female pop stars advocate for positive empowerment with newest albums

In her most recent stunt, “Queen B” Beyoncé Knowles released her latest visual album, BEYONCÈ without any prior advertising or promotional work.

Photo credit: Creative Commons
Photo credit: Creative Commons

The music mogul posted a message on Instagram on Friday, December 13, at midnight saying “Surprise,” leading followers to the iTunes album page.

In the first 24 hours, the self-titled album sold half a million copies.

The internet was quick to point out the potential for feuds between Queen B, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry, all who released highly-anticipated albums in the last six months.

But, listeners should be more focused on absorbing the messages of these powerful female voices, rather than pinning them against each other.

These four females, though their musical stylings may differ, share a common theme of positive gender empowerment and self image in the lyrics of their newest songs.

People should praise and promote these messages instead of pointing out each artist’s pitfalls, especially with the level of justification for rape, assault and objectification that is so glaringly apparent in most popular music today.

In Knowles’ song “Pretty Hurts” she says,

 “Pretty hurts, shine the light on whatever’s worse. Perfection is a disease of a nation,”

exposing rampant superficiality and its negative effects on body image.

Later, she says,

 “Ain’t got no doctor or pill that can take the pain away. The pain’s inside and nobody frees you from your body. It’s the soul, it’s the soul that needs surgery,” ending the song with “Are you happy with yourself?”

In another song, “Flawless” she features a verse from gender-equality activist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, saying,

 “We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls: ‘You can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful otherwise, you will threaten the man.’”

And later says,

 “Now, marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support. But why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same?”

Both songs teach women, young and old, to respect and empower themselves with their intelligence, compassion and kindness.

In Katy Perry’s song, “Roar,” from her album Prism, she says,

 “I guess that I forgot I had a choice. I let you push me past the breaking point. I stood for nothing, so I fell for everything.”

And later,

“I went from zero, to my own hero. You held me down, but I got up─ already brushing off the dust. You hear my voice, you hear that sound like thunder, gonna shake your ground.”

In another song, “It Takes Two,” Perry advocates for equal responsibility in  relationships, saying,

 “I point my finger but it does me no good. I look in the mirror and it tells me truth, yeah. Why all these lessons always learned the hard way. Is it too late to change? It takes two, two sides to every story.”

Perry aims to empower anyone, not just women, with her words. What she says encourages positive communication between partners, and positive self-image and self-respect.

Lady Gaga’s newest album ARTPOP embraced her femininity and sexuality in her song “G.U.Y,” saying,

“I’m gonna wear the tie, want the power to leave you. I’m aimin’ for full control of this love (of this love). “

And later,

“I don’t need to be on top to know I’m wanted, Cuz I’m strong enough to know the truth…I’m blessed when I’m in love, and I’m in love with you.”

GaGa encourages healthy sexual expression and mutual trust and love in relationships.

Instead of admonishing females for wanting to dominate men, she advocates for equality, saying that either party should be able to dominate as long as there is open communication and trust between partners.

In Miley Cyrus’ new album, Bangerz she show’s listeners her vulnerable side, admitting in her song “Someone Else” that

 “I’m hurting myself. I’ve turned into someone else.”

But, in tenacious tune “Do My Thang,” she belts,

“Every single night and every single day, I’mma do my thing, I’mma do my thing. So don’t you worry about me I’ll be okay. I’mma do my thing, ’cause I’mma do my thing.”

And in “On My Own” she says

 “I need to stop sleeping on myself, wake up and do it on my own! I found a way, yeah, and I’ll do it on my one, hey! I can do anything, yeah, and I’ll do it on my own.”

Cyrus encourages listeners to accept their failures and shortcomings, as she has within her own personal relationships, and move forward in a positive direction of personal empowerment.

Though some of the songs focus directly on relationships between women and men, the idea of equal empowerment and positive self-worth extends to any relationship, regardless of gender.

All four artists encourage listeners, especially young women, to draw strength from their inner beauty instead of their physical appearance.

Listeners should absorb and perpetuate these positive ideas, instead of worrying about who dropped their album when.

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