18 Empowering K-Pop Anthems To Round Off Women’s History Month
Over the years, K-pop girl groups and soloists have become increasingly vocal about their desire to inspire and empower women through their music and actions. Whether it’s a powerful girl crush number or a cheery ode to just being yourself, there have been countless releases in recent years that are all about being a woman – and loving it.
As March comes to a close, we bid goodbye to another Women’s History Month with 18 empowering bops by our K-pop queens!
1. (G)I-DLE – “TOMBOY”
Kicking us off is (G)I-DLE’s brand new title track “TOMBOY.” In this grungy rock-inspired number, the girl group announces their refusal to be anybody’s quiet and obedient “blonde Barbie doll” – and they don’t care if you have a problem with it.
2. TWICE – “GIRLS LIKE US”
Penned by TWICE’s leader Jihyo about her days as a trainee, she urges girls to run towards their dreams in this bouncy, uplifting pop track. “Oh girls, do what you want. You’re going the right way,” sings Mina in the dreamy bridge of “GIRLS LIKE US.”
3. MAMAMOO’s Hwasa – “Maria”
The reigning DGAF icon of K-pop MAMAMOO’s Hwasa comforts herself in her hit single “Maria,” an ode to unapologetically being oneself. She shrugs off the hate and criticism, enveloping herself with her own love and warmth as she sings: “Why are you trying so hard? You’re already beautiful.”
4. EVERGLOW – “Adios”
In this EDM-inspired banger, EVERGLOW bids adieu to a selfish ex-lover, ordering them to stay out of their sight. Declaring themselves the main characters of their lives, the girls sing of breaking free from an unfulfilling, demeaning relationship.
5. GFRIEND – “MAGO”
While GFRIEND is dearly missed, they thankfully left us with the disco-pop gem that is “MAGO.” Its title, which means “magician” in Spanish, also refers to a goddess of women. “Go on and judge me now, I won’t ever waver,” the members sing, reimagining themselves as witches flying into the night.
6. HyunA – “GOOD GIRL”
Although HyunA openly admits that she isn’t the “GOOD GIRL” the world expects her to be in her addictive 2021 release, the fearless, unorthodox star questions: “What’s so bad about acting like myself?”
7. aespa – “YEPPI YEPPI”
In this carefree bop from aespa’s “Savage” mini album, the girls take a break from chronicling their journey through Kwangya to celebrate themselves, their beauty, and their happiness – and I love every single moment of it!
8. CLC – “ME”
Just like “YEPPI YEPPI,” CLC’s “ME” is a confident ode to the members’ uniqueness and beauty. They know there’s something different about them, and they aren’t afraid to show it.
9. EXID – “Ah Yeah”
One of EXID’s most iconic singles, both the lyrics of “Ah Yeah” and its whimsical music video deal with the frustration of being pestered, objectified, and having their actions misinterpreted. “These moments are so typical, it’s making me uncomfortable, stop asking me those kinds of things,” they warn.
10. Sunmi – “Siren”
Titled after the mythical sea creature that lures unsuspecting sailors to their deaths, Sunmi shatters the fantasies surrounding her, sending out a reminder that there is much more to her beyond her physical beauty – and failing to recognize that could be deadly.
11. LOONA – “So What”
In the same vein as songs like “TOMBOY” and “GOOD GIRL,” LOONA is fearless in this powerful dance track, declaring to live freely and march to the beat of their own drum.
12. Red Velvet – “Sassy Me”
While Red Velvet has a good number of empowering bangers, “Sassy Me” is an underrated, experimental B-side brimming with bold nonchalance (and an overwhelming number of attractive vocal fry moments from the girls). “I can do anything. Inside me is the universe,” sings Wendy of their infinite potential.
13. ITZY – “WANNABE”
Of course, this list would not be complete without at least one ITZY track. While many of their early singles deal with being oneself, expectations be damned, there is just something about “WANNABE” that is so incredibly comforting.
14. Chungha – “Chica”
“It doesn’t matter how many times you fall, as long as you try, woman now woman,” sings Chungha. Addressing the listener directly in “Chica,” the confident idol encourages us to embrace the innate beauty of being a woman and let go of our fears and inhibitions.
15. Girls’ Generation’s Taeyeon – “Spark”
The groovy slow-burn of “Spark” may be more subtle than most other songs on the list, but its lyrics empower us with the knowledge that even the smallest sparks inside of ourselves can turn into a raging wildfire.
16. STAYC – “STEROTYPE”
While STAYC appears unruffled by the attention they get, the girls show their vulnerable sides, admitting that they still feel afraid at times – and that’s okay. As gorgeous as they are, the girl group sings that their authentic, natural selves are just as deserving of love.
Does this really need any explanation? Back in 2018, BLACKPINK’s Jennie graced the world with one of the most iconic break-up anthems of all time, and nobody is over it. Tired of playing the part for an undeserving lover, she steps out on her own, declaring that she shines brighter solo.
18. BoA – “Woman”
Finally, we land on BoA’s “Woman,” a powerful anthemic track from one of K-pop’s greatest of all time. Shaking off the ideals projected onto her by others, she simply lives free as a proud multifaceted woman. It sure feels good to be a woman, especially when this song comes on.
What are some of your favorite empowering bops? Tell us in the comments below!
Gladys Yeo is a longtime K-entertainment fan and university student majoring in Media and Asian Studies. Outside of school and writing, she can be found listening to K-pop girl groups, attempting cool new pole tricks, watching anime, or trying (and failing) to control her two pet corgis. Feel free to hit her up on Instagram to chat about dramas, music, and life!