We’re gearing up for summer with a playlist that celebrates our bodies and challenges patriarchal systems that make us doubt ourselves and our beauty. We hope this serves as a bold reminder that your body is beautiful and all bodies are already beach ready. Also, please hold onto the following thoughts and sounds as we head into the midterms – primaries are just around the corner. There will inevitably be toxic cishet men trying to tell us who we are, what we should look like, and how we should vote. Shut them down.
You can listen to these songs and more on Unsweetened: A Playlist for a Feminist Future on Spotify.
Salt-N-Pepa, “I Am the Body Beautiful”
From the opening credits of To Wong, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar, our first song is about the journey to loving your own beauty – as it is and as it will be. This one is not on the Spotify playlist, so listen up here.
Caroline Rose, “Bikini”
“Bikini” is funny and dramatic, but it’s mostly a biting takedown of misogyny and the image industry. About the video, Rose said, “I think satire can be used as an incredible tool to take the power away from the powerful when necessary. It was important to me to make sure the video was body positive. When we think of ‘girls in bikinis,’ the tendency is to see tall white models with perfect bodies. I knew that would be missing the point of the song.”
Christine Kane, “No Such Thing as Girls Like That”
In this catchy tune, North Carolina folk singer, Christine Kane breaks down MTV’s mythic ideals, Victoria’s Secret’s lingerie ads, and Barbie dolls to leave us with this simple fact: “There’s no such thing as girls like that.”
Miss Eaves, “Thunder Thighs”
This list wouldn’t be complete without last year’s body positivity anthem, a loving ode to: “having your thighs touch and rub together, in the summer, getting ‘chub rub’”
Cupcakke, “Biggie Smalls”
Iconic rapper Cupcakke takes no prisoners, leaves no taboo untouched, and declares her body to be the rule and not the exception. “People turning insecurities to mockeries/ Shit I could be thin or overweight, won’t bother me/ I’m still choose Burger King over broccoli/ I love every inch of my body don’t compare me to shawty/ Size 7 or 11, I’m a still be a hottie.“
Pie Face Girls, “Fuck You, I’m Pretty”
What began as an unequivocal response to the passing of HB2 (the hideous “bathroom bill” in North Carolina that targeted trans folks in the state) is an “anthem of rebellion” against all oppressive body politics.
Princess Nokia, “TOMBOY”
In an interview about this groundbreaking single, now legendary femcee Destiny Frasqueri (aka Princess Nokia) said, “It’s so important to reclaim your power. How? By falling in love with all your flaws. I’ve done fallen in love with all of mine. I see my existence as a big fuck you to conventionality. Sure I have little titties and a phat belly, but that doesn’t make me less of a goddess, less of an aphrodisiac. You know? Everything on my body is beautiful: my stretch marks, my boobs, and my belly that always makes me look a little pregnant . . . or like the Grinch.”
The undisputed pop queen of body positivity has a hard-edged new number about “fitness.” She calls this her “Declaration of Independence from the bullshit!” On Twitter, she elaborated, “I hope to inspire women all over to put themselves first. And next time someone has a critique about you or your body, say ‘I don’t do this for you’!”
Tacocat, “Crimson Wave”
This is the best surf rock song about menstruation that you will ever hear, and it’s also the affirmation that some of you may need – bleeding bodies are still beach bodies.
Clever, irreverent, dreamy, 90s-inspired R&B: “I just want to be free/ Swinging my titties from tree to tree/ Sipping ginger tea and Hennessy.”
Christina Aguilera, “Beautiful”
We’re not crying . . .
Listen to the entire playlist here: