17 Feminist Anthems That Were Actually Written By Men

You know it, I know it, Beyoncé knows it: girls run the world. Pop divas and icons wouldn’t be who they are without a few empowering female songs, right? And it would also make sense that these feminist songs would be written by an all-female ensemble, right? Wrong.

Some of the most iconic and memorable girl-power anthems were actually written by dudes (at least in part)! Men writing about female empowerment… typical. Like, excuse me, did I ask for this? Then again, the songs are total jams. #MixedEmotions. Check out 17 feminist anthems that were actually written by men. If nothing else, it proves my prior statement that everyone, even men, knows that girls run the world.

17. “Most Girls” by Hailee Steinfeld

This song was actually written by OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tedder!

Sample Lyrics:
Most girls are smart and strong and beautiful
Most girls, work hard, go far, we are unstoppable
Most girls, our fight to make every day
No two are the same
I wanna be like, I wanna be like, most girls

16. “How Far I’ll Go” by Auli’i Cravalho

Hamilton isn’t the only recent success from Lin-Manuel Miranda…he wrote this soon-to-be Disney classic for Moana.

Sample Lyrics:
The line where the sky meets the sea.
It calls me
And no one knows, how far it goes
If the wind in my sail on the sea stays behind me
One day I’ll know
How far I’ll go

15. “Sit Still, Look Pretty” by Daya

Just imagine three guys sitting in a studio writing “but this gal right here’s gonna rule the world,” and it makes this song so much better. Credits for this bop go to Gino Barletta, Mike Campbell, and Britten Newbill.

Sample Lyrics:
Oh, I don’t know what you’ve been told
But this gal right here’s gonna rule the world
Yeah, that is where I’m gonna be because I wanna be
No, I don’t wanna sit still, look pretty
You get off on your nine to five
Dream of picket fences and trophy wives
But no, I’m never gonna be ’cause I don’t wanna be
No, I don’t wanna sit still look pretty

14. “New Romantics” by Taylor Swift

Taylor co-wrote with pop songwriting legends Max Martin and Shellback for several songs on her 1989 album, including this empowering track.

Sample Lyrics:
‘Cause, baby, I could build a castle
Out of all the bricks they threw at me
And every day is like a battle
But every night with us is like a dream

13. “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” by Beyoncé

Don’t worry. Beyoncé did co-write this song, so your life isn’t a total lie… but she was the fourth listed with three men who I’m guessing were feeling single AF as well.

Sample Lyrics:
‘Cause if you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it
If you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it
Don’t be mad once you see that he want it
If you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it
Oh, oh, oh

12. “Before He Cheats” by Carrie Underwood

I just wanna know how on earth writers Josh Kear and Chris Tompkins came up with the concept for this song.

Sample Lyrics:
I might have saved a little trouble for the next girl
‘Cause the next time that he cheats
Oh, you know it won’t be on me!
No, not on me

11. “Stronger” by Britney Spears

Max Martin, who also co-wrote several of Taylor Swift’s big hits, also co-wrote this Britney classic with Rami.

Sample Lyrics:
Stronger than yesterday
Now it’s nothing but my way
My loneliness ain’t killing me no more
I, I’m stronger

10. “Confident” by Demi Lovato

What is wrong with being confident? If this banger written by three guys: Max Martin (again), Savan Kotecha (wrote “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction), Ilya Salmanzadeh and Demi Lovato, can’t convince you to flaunt it, then no one can.

Sample Lyrics:
So you say I’m complicated
That I must be outta my mind
But you had me underrated
Rated, rated
What’s wrong with being, what’s wrong with being, what’s wrong with being confident?

9. “Pretty Girl Rock” by Keri Hilson

Ne-Yo co-wrote this song! I just really want to know the conversations that took place amongst this all-male crowd (Bill Withers, Ralph MacDonald, William Salter, Ne-Yo and Charles Harmon) when writing this one.

Sample Lyrics:
All eyes on me when I walk in,
No question that this girl’s a 10
Don’t hate me ’cause I’m beautiful
Don’t hate me ’cause I’m beautiful
My walk, my talk, the way I drip
It’s not my fault, so please don’t trip
Don’t hate me ’cause I’m beautiful

8. “Blank Space” by Taylor Swift

The iconic Taylor/Martin/Shellback trio returns for another classic.

Sample Lyrics:
So it’s gonna be forever
Or it’s gonna go down in flames
You can tell me when it’s over
If the high was worth the pain
Got a long list of ex-lovers
They’ll tell you I’m insane
‘Cause you know I love the players
And you love the game

7. “Me & My Girls” by Selena Gomez

Selena should’ve named this song “Me & My Boys” since she wrote it with Antonina Armato, Tim James, and Matt Morris (she’s the last one listed).

Sample Lyrics:
And if we want it, we take it
If we need money, we make it
Nobody knows if we fake it
You like to watch while we shake it
I know we’re making you thirsty
You want us all in the worst way
But you don’t understand
I don’t need a man

6. “Bo$$” by Fifth Harmony

Not one of the 5H gals are giving a writing cred on this feminist anthem and it’s five guys who are reelin’ it in. They got a bit of female input as the last-listed songwriter is a woman. Eric Frederic, Joe Spargur, Daniel Kyriakides, Gamal Lewis, Jacob Kasher, and Taylor Parks.

Sample Lyrics:
You say that you a baller and I see you tryna holla
But that ain’t how I was brought up, next
Working for the money cause that’s what my mama taught me
So your ass better show me some respect

5. “Respect” by Aretha Franklin

This one is pretty shocking. “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” was actually written by the King of Soul, Otis Redding.

Sample Lyrics:
All I’m askin’
Is for a little respect when you come home (just a little bit)
Baby (just a little bit) when you get home (just a little bit)
Yeah (just a little bit)
I’m about to give you all of my money
And all I’m askin’ in return, honey
Is to give me my propers
When you get home (just a, just a, just a, just a)

4. “I’m Coming Out” by Diana Ross

Another oldies classic that surprisingly wasn’t written by the artist herself. Nile Rogers and Bernard Edwards, the most iconic duo of the 70’s and 80’s, actually wrote and produced this one.

Sample Lyrics:
There’s a new me coming out
And I just had to live
And I wanna give
I’m completely positive
I think this time around
I am gonna do it
Like you never knew it
Ooh, I’ll make it through

3. “Dangerous Woman” by Ariana Grande

F this! Max Martin sure does have quite the repertoire. He co-wrote this sultry female anthem with Johan Carlsson and Ross Golan. Carlsson also co-wrote Ariana’s song “Just a Little Bit of Your Heart” with Harry Styles.

Sample Lyrics:
Don’t need permission
Made my decision to test my limits
‘Cause it’s my business
God as my witness
Start what I finished
Don’t need no hold up
Taking control of this kind of moment
I’m locked and loaded
Completely focused my mind is open

2. “Run The World (Girls)” by Beyoncé

Beyoncé teamed up with five males to co-write the most kickass female empowerment song of the century. Who woulda known?

Sample Lyrics:
Who run the world? Girls!

1. “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper

This one might just be the most shocking of them all. This song was, in fact, not written by a girl who just wanted to have fun, but Robert Hazard. Hazard actually recorded the song first before Cyndi turned it into one of the biggest hits of all time.

Sample Lyrics:
But girls — they wanna have fun
Oh, girls just wanna have…
That’s all they really want
Some fun
When the working day is done
Oh, girls—they wanna have fun

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