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16 Country Songs That Are Feminist Anthems

Country music is a genre unlike any other, and the women of country are especially amazing. Talented musicians and skilled storytellers, they craft entire worlds in their songs. Sometimes they’re catchy breakup anthems, while other times they’re bound to make us cry. Either way, the women of country music are an amazing group that’s always getting bigger and stronger.

Many of the women in country music are also very into girl power. Whether they actively express their political beliefs or not, there are tons of country songs dedicated to gender equality, men treating women with respect, and girls being who they want to be. Some of these songs are serious, while others make you want to get up and dance. No matter what though, these songs carry awesome feminist messages that shouldn’t go unnoticed.

16. “She’s Not Just a Pretty Face” – Shania Twain

Shania Twain is one of the most successful recording artists of all time, and she’s also a strong woman who knows what she wants. At the peak of her fame, she used her music to make important statements about female empowerment, particularly with this song. In “She’s Not Just a Pretty Face,” Shania calls out women working in many different fields, applauding them all for being strong and capable. Shania is gorgeous, but it’s her music and the message behind it that really matters. This song also makes us all want to be astronauts.

15. “Phenomenal Woman” – Olivia Newton-John

You probably know Olivia Newton-John as Sandy from the Grease, but she’s also had a long and successful recording career. The Australian star has skated between pop and country, slaying both effortlessly. Her 2005 song “Phenomenal Woman” is all about how amazing it is to be a woman, and you can tell Olivia is really feeling it. In fact, her whole album Stronger Than Before is dedicated to inspiring women after winning her battle with breast cancer. It’s powerful to listen to a lady who has withstood so much and still came out on top.

14. “Wide Open Spaces” – The Dixie Chicks

The Dixie Chicks have never been afraid to speak their minds, but more on that a little later. In this song from 1998, the group sings about a daughter leaving home to explore all the possibilities for her life. “She needs wide open spaces, room to make her big mistakes.” The song is incredibly catchy, and it carries an important message about how sometimes you need the freedom to figure out who you really are. The song’s lyrics really hit home with the group’s teenage fans, and was a huge hit for them.

13. “Pageant Material” – Kacey Musgraves

Not everyone has the same idea of what’s beautiful, and there’s nothing wrong with that. In her song “Pageant Material,” Kacey Musgraves sings about the importance of not changing yourself to fit with what others want. She shows that it’s okay to be a little rough around the edges, as long as you stay true to yourself. The song also makes some pointed commentary about the pageant system, which has some deeply ingrained sexist problems. Kacey’s right, she probably can’t make world peace happen while wearing a swimsuit.

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12. “I’m a Survivor” – Reba McEntire

If you’re a fan of Reba, this one should be familiar. “I’m a Survivor” was originally a new song on one of Reba McEntire’s greatest hits album, but it ended up also being used as the theme song for her show. The song tells the story of a premature baby who nearly died, but survived and went on to become a single mother. Reba is an artist with a talent for telling stories in her songs, and this anthem about being too tough to ever give up is no exception. There’s something so perfect about the image of “gentle hands and the heart of a fighter” that just makes us want to cry.

11. “Gunpowder and Lead” – Miranda Lambert

Miranda Lambert is definitely one of the most badass women in country, and this song shows why. In “Gunpowder and Lead,” Miranda sings about how she’s waiting at home for her abusive partner with a loaded shotgun. For this song, she was inspired by her parents, both of whom were private investigators who would take in women who had been abused. Countless women struggle with abusive relationships, and this country jam is packed with strength and determination to get out of a bad situation. A gunshot goes off at the end of the song, but it’s left to our imagination what actually went down.

10. “Guys Do It All The Time” – Mindy McCready

Mindy McCready was one of the brightest country stars of the ’90s, but her story took a sad turn after her early success. She long suffered from depression before ultimately committing suicide in 2013. Despite the sad end to her story, her music is still pretty empowering. In this song, she pokes fun at the idea that men and women are looked at differently for doing the same things. So what if she wants to watch sports and go out drinking with her friends? It’s a shame that Mindy isn’t still around, but at least we have her music to remember her by.

9. “This One’s For the Girls” – Martina McBride

Everyone loves Martina McBride, and this is one of her classic girl power anthems. She encourages women to “dream with everything they have,” and the message is personal for her. The video features her two oldest daughters, and she urges them to power through the hard times and conquer the world. There are numerous other women of all ages in the video, including Martina’s good friend Faith Hill. It’s fun to see so many faces just having a great time together, and the message of the song is definitely something we can all get behind. Why aren’t there more songs like this?

8. “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” – Shania Twain

Shania’s second song on this list is just as feminist, but a little less serious. Even from the title, “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” is an epically fun song about letting it all hang out. She just wants to have a good time, and we have a feeling she’s not letting anything get in her way. The song clearly struck a chord with lots of people, going platinum and winning a Grammy in 2000. Let’s go, girls!

7. “Just Because I’m A Woman” – Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton has been a country music icon for decades, and we’re throwing it back to her 1968 hit “Just Because I’m A Woman” for her most feminist anthem. In an era when men and women were treated completely different, Dolly bravely calls out double standards. She declares “my mistakes are no worse than yours just because I’m a woman.” It’s sad that a statement like this was ever even controversial, but at least we have legends like Dolly speaking up for what’s right. 50 years later, the song has become one of her signature hits, and with good reason.

6. “Not Ready To Make Nice” – The Dixie Chicks

Like I said earlier, The Dixie Chicks have never been afraid to stand up for what they believe in. In the 2000s, they received a great deal of hate after publicly criticizing President George W. Bush and the war in Iraq, and this song served as their response to all the critics. Too often, women aren’t taken seriously when expressing their opinions – especially political ones – and these ladies are not here for it. Don’t ever tell them to just shut up and sing, because they’ll come back and win all the biggest Grammys. The Dixie Chicks are true icons of both country music and feminism.
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5. “Before He Cheats” – Carrie Underwood

Much like Dolly Parton, Carrie Underwood is all about holding men accountable for their actions. In this case, that takes the form of some serious revenge. “Before He Cheats” is the biggest hit of Carrie’s career, and it’s pretty obvious why: it’s a BOP! The song is undeniably catchy, and the theme of punishing a cheating boyfriend is satisfying to just about everyone who’s ever been cheated like crap by someone for no reason. Go to any karaoke bar in America, and you will probably find about a dozen women who would love to sing the hell out of this. Carrie Underwood most likely hasn’t *actually* keyed a man’s car, but it’s really the thought that counts here.

4. “Independence Day” – Martina McBride

“Independence Day” is one of Martina McBride’s biggest hits, and the song’s story is pretty powerful. The story is told from the perspective of a daughter whose father is abusive toward her mother. On July Fourth, she goes to the fair and hears rumors about what her father has done. That day, her mother burns down the house, killing her father. It’s an extreme story, but in the end, the mother gains independence from the prison of an abusive relationship. We love country music for its storytelling power, and shedding light on situations like this is vitally important.

3. “The Pill” – Loretta Lynn

Country music has a long history, and it’s important to acknowledge some of the ladies who paid the way for our modern stars. Loretta Lynn has been causing controversy since before many of the women on this list were even born, and her 1975 song “The Pill” is the perfect example. When the birth control pill was invented, it was a major win for women’s rights, allowing women to have the same sexual freedom that men had always enjoyed. In this song, Loretta teases her cheating husband, saying that now they can get even because she has the pill. It was pretty scandalous at the time, and even now it’s a crystal clear image of where Loretta Lynn stands on gender equality.

2. “Get Over Yourself” – Kelsea Ballerini

Sometimes, a guy just needs to be reminded that he’s not the center of the universe. In this Kelsea Ballerini song, a guy thinks she’s obsessed with him, but it sounds like it’s really the other way around. She lets him know that she’s over him, and he needs to get over himself, too. Show of hands, who has experienced this with a guy? Okay good, *literally* every girl out there. Kelsea is one of the most talented young country stars, and songs like this also make her very relatable. Note to boys everywhere: get over yourselves.

1. “All-American Girl” – Carrie Underwood

“Before He Cheats” is the quintessential revenge song, but Carrie Underwood shows her girl power spirit in all different types of songs. “All-American Girl” is a more classic country song with a beautiful story. Her dad always dreamed of having a perfect baby boy, but he had her instead. Carrie obviously grew up to be a perfect, stunning woman, and he loved her more than anything. When she later gets married and asks her husband whether he wants a boy or a girl, he replies: “one just like you.” We’re not crying, promise! Girls are just the best.

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