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Culture Wars

10 Proudly Feminist Musicians

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Fri, Jan 3, 2014 at 4:00 AM

click to enlarge Bow down to Queen Bey. - PHOTO BY FRANK MICELOTTA/INVISION FOR PARKWOOD ENTERTAINMENT/AP
  • Photo by Frank Micelotta/Invision for Parkwood Entertainment/AP
  • Bow down to Queen Bey.
Many musicians don't seem to know what to make of the word "feminist." Lady Gaga, for example, has both denied the label and then adopted it. Ke$ha says she's a feminist "in some ways," and Kelly Clarkson won't touch the word with a 10-foot pole. Madonna, for what it's worth, is a humanist, y'all.

But we're not here to get all etymological. From outspoken riot grrrls to sensitive indie rockers, plenty of oft-courageous musicians have embraced the messages tied to feminism in their lives and works. Below are ten artists who've claimed or adopted feminist ideals; this is by no means an exhaustive list, and it is in no particular order.

10. Beyonce

Thanks to the album drop heard 'round the world, it's almost impossible to remember that Queen Bey did anything else this year. Um, just kidding, because there was the national anthem at Obama's inauguration, the Super Bowl halftime thing, when she and Destiny's Child killed it so hard they shut down the stadium lights. As for her Mrs. Carter Show tour -- referencing her husband Jay-Z's last name -- she silenced detractors by calling herself a "modern-day feminist" in British Vogue, before brushing off titles altogether. "Why do you have to label yourself anything? I'm just a woman..." But there's no doubt Beyonce is a force of nature; a strong businesswoman whose shows make even more money than Jay's -- and who preaches the gospel of strong, independent women.

click to enlarge TIMOTHY NORRIS
  • Timothy Norris
9. Lorde

It's tough to find stories about Lorde that don't reference the captivating singer's age (17) and the dynamic songwriting skills. But it's almost as pleasurable to hear Lorde speak her mind as to hear her sing about it. In an interview with Huffington Post this summer, young Ella Yelich-O'Connor said she identifies as a feminist -- and though she can't say the same for her musical inspiration, she did drop a few names that inspired her personally. "A lot of girls think it's not shaving under their arms and burning bras and hating boys, which just seems stone age to me," she said. "Websites like Rookie [are good for] educating girls on what it means to be a feminist."

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