What it feels like for a girl

Or how women are shaking the system, breaking records in the music industry

In the 19th century, it was believed that women could only play but not compose music due to their “lack of creativity” caused by a biological predisposition. Back then, a woman could only play music if she was a nun or if she belonged to a family with a known musical background. Other than that, females were restricted to playing only the stereotypical homemaker role, as society had established that it was what they did best. Though women were educated on the arts and being knowledgeable on such was a plus, they were still deemed incapable of pursuing a career in any creative field. At the end of the day, ladies of the 19th century had to stick to domestic jobs as they were seen to have been most successful in this aspect.

Fast forward to now, the early 2020s, and women are topping musical charts left and right. From the first no. 1 song by a female, the one that broke the gender barrier, Connie Francis’ “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool,” women have since continued breaking records. In the same era of the ’60s, “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin, who continues to hold her position in pop culture today, set trends for aspiring R&B artists to come. Continuing with legends like Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer in the ’70s, Whitney Houston and Madonna in the ’80s, Lauryn Hill and Mariah Carey in the ’90s, to name just a few, the old belief that females lacked musical creativity has definitely been debunked. And honestly, if we do take stereotypes into consideration, aren’t females generally known to be more sensitive and thus, more able to formulate products of creative expression?

Nowadays, the quality of music is completely devoid of gender. Decades of social evolution have blurred the lines between gender-specific music, as that pretty much ceases to exist these days. Good music is good music. It’s as simple as that. And with the absence of preconceived notions that women can’t possibly be as good, or even better, at musical composition as men, this allows us to tap into the freedom of sonic self-expression.

QUEEN OF POP Madonna is the first female artist to sell over six million copies in the ‘80s, and has set the standard for pop music with her tracks that addressed social issues for young women

As a musician myself, I find that being able to channel all my emotions into lyrical melody gives me a calming sense of liberation. It’s safe to assume that most artists in this day and age feel the same way and thrive on the ability to voice their innermost thoughts. Artists possess the power to tell their stories through creative writing, and icons like Taylor Swift and Adele have paved the way for more recent generations of musical storytellers. Genre aside, music has never been so raw and brutally honest as it is in today’s society. Whether you’re on the giving or the receiving end of things, music has the timeless power that allows us to feel and emote, to heal and restore, and to express and release.

Decades of social evolution have blurred the lines between gender-specific music, as that pretty much ceases to exist these days. Good music is good music.

As women in a more progressive society, we are only scratching the surface in understanding the heights we can reach. And as we begin to break free of outdated gender stereotypes, we begin to muster up the courage to speak up with no hindrances. This sense of freedom is reflected in the music we create and the music we listen to. At the end of the day, this art form is all about the therapeutic feeling of knowing that we are all connected, through the things we experience and the emotions that arise from them. The way through which melodic patterns and sung poetry can impact us the way they do is the enigma that empowers us modern women to make music an overarching facet of our everyday lives.

Note: “What It Feels Like for a Girl” is an electronic and synth-pop song from Madonna’s 2000 album Music.