Recent news has covered the growing feminist movement and emergence of its supporters. The movement was created in response to the oppression of women in lack of accountability for sexual assault/harassment, the gender-pay gap and the questioning of the right to basic healthcare by the current administration.
A few weeks ago, people saw yet another large demonstration by feminists as they marched across the country. Since the first of the now annual marches, numerous celebrities have displayed their alliance to the feminist movement and its mission of social change. While the forming alliance is a positive, there are individuals who have long supported and promoted feminist ideals.
Pop singer Pink has broken barriers from the start of her career by addressing femininity, beauty standards and gender roles. Since the early 2000s, she has inspired those who come in touch with her music. Pink offers an element of edge and realness that serves as inspiration and guidance to women everywhere.
In one of her first interviews, Pink stated she knew she didn’t want to be one of those singers that sang about things they knew nothing about. Years later, she has kept her word, singing of personal experiences and real-world issues. This is what makes her badass persona, well, badass.
When the “Beautiful Trauma” singer began her career, the pop genre was dominated by what some refer to as cookie cutter pop stars; long blonde hair and songs of make-believe relationships. Pink was ready to change the mold of pop with her edgy approach and lyrics such as “What happened to the dream of a girl president? / She’s dancing in the video next to 50 cent / They travel in packs of two or three / With their itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny tees / where, or where have the smart people gone?” By changing what a pop singer should look like and sing about, Pink contributed to the wave of feminism, showing no one could tell women what to be.
Pink’s purposeful pop went on to inspire women to stand up to injustice and speak for the downtrodden. In 2006, she pushed boundaries even further by criticizing President Bush in her original song, “Dear Mr. President.” The song touches base on many ideals of the feminist group including the acceptance of the LGTBQ community and women’s rights.
Pink felt this to be one of her most important songs, showcasing her strength and edge asking “What kind of father would take his own daughter’s rights away? / What kind of father might hate his own daughter if she were gay?” and “What do you feel when you see the homeless on the street? / Who do you pray for at night before you go to sleep?” Through song, Pink encouraged women across the nation to stand up to injustice and voice their opinions to those in power, a key message of the feminist movement.
Pink’s feminist influence didn’t stop at the example she set for the public about female strength and breaking barriers in music. The “So What” artist also changed the narrative of societal expectations of gender. From the beginning of her career, Pink was open that her image was not going to reflect what society considered “a pretty girl.”
With no shame, Pink keeps her hair short and her build strong, a topic she addresses in many of her songs. In her hit “F**ckin’ Perfect,” Pink unveils a more vulnerable side, but still carries edge in her message “pretty, pretty please, don’t you ever, ever feel like you’re less than f**ckin’ perfect.” “F**ckin’ Perfect” reminds women, in Pink’s words, that trying too hard “is a waste of time.”
Pink paved her way as an award-winning artist and totally “kicked that ceiling” of the pop genre. In addition to her awing aerial performances, Pink adopted her televised platform to serve another purpose.
In many of her acceptance speeches, the artist aims to set an example for her daughter and uplift women everywhere. At the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards, Pink was given the Michael Jackson Vanguard Award.
Pink took the stage and performed a career-spanning show, singing hits “Get the Party Started” and “What About Us.” Following an iconic performance, Pink delivered perhaps her most memorable and influential speech.
Here she tells a story of her daughter coming home from school upset. Six-year-old Willow went to her mother and said, “I’m the ugliest girl I know.” Willow had been told by other kids at school that she looked like a boy.
Pink then revealed to her daughter, that when people criticize her appearance they use the same insult. They tell her she looks like a boy, or is too masculine, her body is too strong or she has too many opinions.
Being her feminist self, Pink wanted to teach her daughter about diverse beauty and resisting societal expectations. She created a PowerPoint presentation for Willow, showing her androgynous musicians David Bowie, Janis Joplin and Elton John. “The Wild Hearts Can’t be Broken” singer then shares with her audience the conversation she had with Willow:
“Do you see me growing my hair?” Willow replied, “No Mama.” “Do you see me changing my body?” “No Mama.” “Do you see me changing the way I present myself to the world?” “No Mama.” “Do you see me selling out arenas all over the world?” “Yes Mama.” Looking directly at Willow in the crowd, Pink continued “Ok so, baby girl we don’t change. We take the gravel in the shell and we make a pearl. And we help other people change so that they can see more kinds of beauty.” Pink not only lives her life as a feminist fighting societal expectations and demands for conformity but teaches the same ideals to her daughter and every member of her crowds.
With oppression shadowing over women, we look for inspiration and guidance. Pink has been this inspiration, questioning feminine societal roles, long since deciding they weren’t for her. She has broken barriers in music, society, beauty and gender. In doing so, she has unknowingly become a front(wo)man of the feminist movement. One I, and so many others, will always willingly rally behind.