Growing up, there were definitely songs we heard on Spanish radio that were possibly planting the seed for the feminism we’d come to embrace later. Whether it was Thalia, Celia or Los Tucanes de Tijuana, they brought the bops that got us to realize we don’t need no man, we are beautiful, we won’t be held back and we most definitely came out to party. And no one is going to tell us we can’t!
Here’s 11 feminist anthems that infiltrated the airwaves, and laid the groundwork for our fight for equality!
1. “La Chona” By Los Tucanes de Tijuana
This banda classic tells the tale of a famous woman known as La Chona, who goes out dancing every night and gets herself a bottle while she’s at it. Chona gives no fucks. Chona wants to party, and her husband apparently doesn’t know what to do with her. Does she care? Nope. If he doesn’t want to dance, she finds someone who will. Chona is a true hero to the down to party bitch who will let no man step on her good time.
2. “Yo No Soy Esa Mujer” by Paulina Rubio
You know who’s not that bitch? La Chica Dorada. She’s not that woman who isn’t going to leave the house and places the best parts of her soul at a man’s feet. Nope, she’s not gonna do that. And she most definitely not going to become an echo of a man’s voice, just repeating what he says and not having a mind of her own. Tell ’em, Pau!
3. “A Quién Le Importa” by Alaska y Dinarama
This one goes way back, and was later covered in 2002 by Thalia. You’ve probably heard your mom and tias getting down to it while giving their respective husbands a raised brow, like try me, cabrón. This song also became an anthem in the LGBTQ+ community for its message: Who cares what I do, who cares what I say, I am this way, this way! Literally the original I do what I want!
4. “Pelo Suelto” by Gloria Trevi
Mexico’s pop star wild child wanted to let her hair down. And she did! She let it all the way down, and gave women who embrace all sides of themselves a jam to sing out loud. She’s aggressive like feral cat, but meek like a sleepy lion. She’s all things, she’s herself, and she’s unapologetic about it.
5. “Si Una Vez” by Selena
Sometimes we gotta learn the hard way not to submit so much of ourselves into a relationship. But when we do finally learn that lesson, well, the mistake won’t be happening again. That’s for damn sure. This Selena classic is a reminder to us all to make sure we’re getting out of love everything we give, and to not take anything less.
6. “Cosita Seria” by Aterciopelados
If street harassment is not going to be tolerated in your general vicinity, then Colombian rock en español band Aterciopelados have a song for you. This song goes in on the nasty, disrespectful men that say inappropriate things while women try to live their lives, and isn’t having any damn bit of it. I will rise above what they say, they sing.
7. “La Negra Tiene Tumbao” by Celia Cruz
La reyna de la salsa gave Afro-latinas a song to make them feel good about themselves, their body, their overall flavor. They’ve got tumbao! It’s in her walk, so you better watch your step. In fact, walk ahead. “La Negra Tiene Tumbao” is an anthem for black Latinas, to feel empowered and beautiful.
8. “The Glamorous Life” by Sheila E.
Okay this one is not in Spanish but it needs some recognition! The song, written by Prince and performed by his protege Sheila E., warns about the excesses of materialism. However, it’s kind of hard not to feel like the protagonist of the absolute 80’s bop isn’t a bad bitch not to be messed with. She’s got big thoughts, and big dreams, and a big, brown Mercedes sedan, as the song goes. They say without love, it ain’t much. But I dunno, sounds pretty dope as is.
9. “Mujer Latina” by Thalia
No quinceañera or boda is complete without the DJ dropping this banger. This is an empowerment jam for all the Latinas out there who are proud of their roots, their skin, their fire and where they come from. “Mi orgullo es ser latina…soy sangre de mi tierra!” as Thalia sings. With its fast tropical pop beat, it’ll get those hips shaking. As she says, Y estoy re’buena!
10. “Se Quiere, Se Mata” by Shakira
This song from Shakira’s debut album weaves the story of Braulio and Dana, a young couple in love who have sex, she gets pregnant, they decided to get an abortion from a shady doctor, and then Dana dies. It’s not the happiest story, despite the upbeat nature of the song. And while some may have thought it was a cautionary tale against premarital sex (which it’s not), the song served to discuss access to safe abortions in Latin countries.
11. “Can’t Hold Us Down” by Christina Aguilera (feat. Lil Kim)
Okay one more en ingles, but it’s a banger. Even though Xtina’s blatant cultural appropriation is pretty painful to watch, the message discusses the harsh double standards and inequality women experience daily. However, this is a reminder that we won’t stay quiet, we won’t take that shit, and we won’t be held down.
What are some of your feminist jams! Let us know in the comments!