Did you run track? If so, you'll likely remember those sharp spikes on the soles of your shoes. While designed to improve personal performance, sometimes they're used to jab an opponent's calves (on "accident") to secure first place.
In the race for gender equality, I'm often reminded of this. There's no denying that many cultures share a history of female oppression. We couldn't vote just a hundred years ago. Even in my mom's childhood, girls couldn't wear pants to school. Today, we're still paid less than men and are statistically more likely to be the victims of rape and domestic violence.
So as women, yes, we have reason to be angry. But here's the thing: That doesn't make indiscriminate man-bashing OK.
This morning, I came across a piece titled "Your Misandry Playlist: My 15 Favorite Songs About Killing And/Or Hating Men" and was left with that smug track runner in my mind. The author made good points about oppression, and the piece was witty; I'd be lying if I said I didn't laugh out loud a few times. But it's hard to believe that the answer to gender equality lies in man-hatin' jams.
For a brief trip down memory lane, by all means rock out to Blu Cantrell's "Hit 'Em Up Style." But remember that it's a fantasy, because stealing someone's credit card and going on a Neiman Marcus shopping spree would definitely land you in jail. Plus, you'd only perpetuate the stereotype that women are vengeful and emotionally unstable.
Instead of bashing the opposite sex, why not ban together and dance to girl power jams that have nothing to do with hating on guys and everything to do with empowerment?
In honor of Women's Equality Day, here are our favorite songs to do just that.
1. "Survivor," Destiny's Child
Choice lyric: "After all of the darkness and sadness, soon comes happiness. If I surround myself with positive things, I'll gain prosperity."
When listening to this song, you'll note that our fearsome trio doesn't specify who they mean by "you." Theoretically, "you" may not be a lover: It could be a toxic friend, an old job, a family member or, hell, even a doomsday cult. The message is that you can be strong and survive no matter the circumstances. Win.
2. "Nolita Fairytale" Vanessa Carlton
Choice lyric: "Take away my record deal—go on, I don't need it. Spent the last two years getting to what's real, and now I can see so clear."
This song preaches the value of the simple things in life, with Vanessa crooning about her dog and lovely neighborhood in New York. It's sweet, uplifting, and quite possibly the most cheerful song ever.
3. "Brave" Sara Bareilles
Choice lyric: "Maybe there's a way out of the cage where you live. Maybe one of these days you can let the light in. Show me how big your brave is."
We all fall on hard times. We all get hurt. Here, Sara reminds us to speak up for ourselves and use our words to do amazing things. The message is powerful and inspiring . . . to both genders.
Bottom line? Feminism shouldn't be about male bashing, but about empowering ourselves and each other. Let's stop with the spikes, shall we?