Michelle Cove
November 29, 2016

These pop stars are changing the game with inspiring lyrics

In our MEDIAGIRLS program, we teach girls to analyze popular song lyrics in order to better understand how   music influences the way we think about ourselves. We recently asked our MEDIAGIRLS participants what popular songs they feel strongly about based on the song’s message to girls and women. We then provided the girls with the necessary tools and tips to write a letter to a musician of their choosing expressing their approval or disapproval for the artist’s song. Our girls at Brookline Teen Center, a MEDIAGIRLS partner site, chose to write about the positive aspects of pop music. Better yet, MEDIAGIRLS will be tagging the artists on Twitter to make sure our girls’ voices are heard!

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Dear Ms. Cara,

Before I get started I want to say that you are a strong woman and you make women and girls around the world feel important. For example, your song “Scars to your Beautiful.” Thank you. This song is a powerful image to girls and women around the world. This makes me and I am sure other girls/women in the world feel confident in their body image and their self-appearance. As you know, it talks about how everyone is beautiful. No matter who you and what you look like, you are beautiful. For example your second stanza in the song it says: “But there’s a hope that’s waiting for you in the dark, you should know you’re beautiful just the way you are. And you don’t have to change a thing; the world could change its heart. No scars to your beautiful, we’re stars and we’re beautiful. Oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, And you don’t have to change a thing, the world could change its heart. No scars to your beautiful, we’re stars and we’re beautiful.” To explain, you say, “we’re stars and we’re beautiful.” In this part you are talking about everybody because you say we’re, and I think that is amazing!! You are saying that we’re beautiful and not a certain group but EVERYONE. This is very important because it sends a message to a lot of people that you are important that we’re important. Another line in that stanza that shows that everyone is beautiful is: “And you don’t have to change a thing, the world could change its heart.” That is probably my favorite line. This is saying you don’t have to change yourself. The world should change its heart. Not you. People should change their perspective and how they think about other people in the world. I also think that this is important because it shows that you are beautiful and this brings out the whole message of the song. I always share this song with people I know. I just love this song so much. The message of this song is so powerful and strong that it will bring women and girls up from their insecurities when they hear it. You are inspiring for writing this song. I think that you are one of the only artists that write about these kinds of things and I think you should keep it up and write more songs like this. Again, thank you so much for writing this song. I hope you keep this up.​Thanks,
Isa​

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Dear Daya (Grace Martine Tandon),

Thank you so much for the song Sit Still Look Pretty! I think it positively contributes to girls self image because it shows that girls that they don’t have to be trophies and sit still, they can be whoever and do whatever they want, and boys can’t change them. Sometimes I listen to “Sit Still Look Pretty” when I need some motivation, because this song shows me I am amazing just the way I am. You wrote: “Could wake up, in make up, and play dumb. Pretending that I need a boy Who’s gonna treat me like a toy!” These lyrics show that you don’t need a boy because they’re just going to treat you like a toy anyway. Sometimes when I feel like I need a boy but I don’t have one, lyrics like these help me realize I don’t need a boy and I can be amazing with just me, myself, and I. In this song you also sing “this queen don’t need a king.” I think think this whole song is empowering, but this is one of the most empowering parts. In the past there was queens and kings but the kings always ruled. Even though the queen had a high title she could do nothing. By saying that “this queen don’t need a king”, this goes against everything they had in the past. A queen was nothing without a king. It is very important that you keep writing songs like this because in this word there are many songs that tell girls they need a boy. This isn’t true and girls need to know that. I also want you to know I support your message and will continue listening to your great music!​From,
Vienna​

Dear Beyonce,

I picked your song ‘Pretty Hurts’ because the words send out a positive message to women.  I saw the music video and it was all about beauty pageants, plastic surgery, hair, makeup, and other stereotypical feminine stuff.  I think this has a negative effect on women because it kind of persuades or convinces women to be like that — hide in cosmetics or try to be what they’re not.  They’re beautiful just the way they are.  I think that by saying that all of this stuff is not worth it and is insane is good because you are sending a positive message to not be like that. Most girls look up to celebrities (like you) in newspapers, magazines, social media, or on the Internet. They watch your actions more than an ordinary day person’s.  Celebrities attract our attention.  If girls hear what celebrities are saying, they will get influenced by their actions and behavior.  Celebrities should send out a positive message so girls get inspired and listen.  When you say beauty pageants, cosmetics, fake hair, makeup, and being really skinny is bad, you are sending a positive message towards women.  You are saying that they do not have to do that to be pretty. The disappointment that I have is that celebrities have the power to convince girls that they are worth it but so few do.  The happiness I have is that you are one of the few celebrities that does send out a positive message. Thank you for doing that.Sincerely,
Ali​

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Dear Beyoncé,

I’d like to thank you for the songs, “If I Were a Boy”, “Pretty Hurts”, “Who Runs the World”, and all the other beautiful, empowering songs you’ve written.  In a world filled with negative advertisements and songs, it’s nice to have a strong woman in the music industry to inspire us girls.  So many girls are hurt by what they see everyday, and when they hear your music, they feel so much better about themselves. I believe that “If I Were a Boy” is very representative of the double standards that exist in our society.  “If I were a boy, even just for a day, I’d roll outta bed in the morning, and throw on what I wanted and go.”  I really admire that you address that there is so much pressure for girls to be perfect, and well dressed, and pretty.  Men don’t have that sort of pressure on them, they just “…kick it with who [they] wanted, and [they’d] never get confronted for it.” I know that everybody knows who you are, but even so, I’m going to spread the word about the message you share with the world.  I’m going to be your advocate if anyone ever says something bad about you, and I’ll use your music to empower my friends. Please keep up the good work!  You send out such a wonderful message through a world of negative songs like “Blurred Lines”, and “Hotline Bling”.  You are so important to the world!  There aren’t many strong women in the music industry, and the fact that you just slay, and have been so famous for so long…  Man, it’s just so cool!Love, Claire

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Hello Hayley Kiyoko,

I really like your song “Girls Like Girls.”  I thank you for making this song because it makes people believe that they can like whoever they want.  I really like its message: “girls like girls like boys do.”  I also like how one of the girls picks her best friend over her boyfriend.  I don’t like that the boyfriend punched the girl. I think it’s a positive song because it’s a really good song and this song has such a good messages out to everybody.  It’s important for girls to hear this and, even boys too, because some people discriminate against gay people.  This song explains that people can like whoever they want, no matter what sex.  If you were a young not straight girl and you were listening to this song, you would probably feel more confident. I approve this song because it’s empowering for non-straight people.  I would definitely spread this song around to my peers.  I love this song and I bet if people who aren’t that accepting listen to this song, they will want to make a change in their opinion. Please keep making good and inspiring music.  I love all of your songs, especially ‘Cliff’s Edge,’ as well.​Sincerely,
Mia

Dear Alessia Cara,

My name is Sara Berz and I am writing about your song “Scars to your beautiful”. I think this song is a great influence to girls and other people all over the world. Thank you for not writing another song about love. This song makes girls feel sure of themselves, and not want to be anyone else, as your song says “you are beautiful just the way you are”.Sincerely,
​Sara
Dear Daya,

I really like your song, “Sit Still And Look Pretty.” It promotes that you don’t have to change for anyone, you’re perfect the way you are. In “Sit Still And Look Pretty” it says “I’m never gonna be that girl” meaning you’re not going to change for anyone. You also say, “I could wake up do makeup, but I’m never going to be that girl” which I really like, you’re saying if you don’t like me the way I am, then you’re not worth my time because I’m not changing. I would suggest this song to anyone. It would make anyone feel good about themselves and they don’t have to change. It’s important for songs to promote good messages instead of demeaning and objectifying women. You are telling girls and women that they don’t need anyone to make them happy and if people don’t accept you for who you are then they are not worth your time and the world is not based on how you look. I really wish there was more empowering singers like you, thank you.Sincerely,
Sarah

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Dear Melanie Martinez,

Can I please point out something important here? Yes? Ok. Well then, you are an awesome singer, and all of your songs are really meaningful. One song I particularly like is “Ms. Potato Head” I am so thankful that you made this song because I think many people who have listened to your song who were thinking about getting plastic surgery may not want to get it anymore. “Does a new face come with a warranty?” It’s saying that plastic surgery is obviously not going to stay forever, it’s going to break, (sometimes it’s actually plastic) but if you don’t like it, you can’t get your money back. It’s your face. Secondly, I think your song is very positive to girls’ self image. It’s sort of saying how ridiculous plastic surgery is, and how we are attractive the way we are. The song makes me feel like everyone in the world has a right to look however they want, because they do. Some people don’t think so, and feel pressured to get plastic surgery. It is really important for artists to help girls accept themselves because music travels fast and many people find out and listen to music, so they can hear the message. I totally and utterly  love your song, and I hope you keep making music! I definitely will show my friends your music, and make some musical.lys with it to spread the message. I’ve had so many conversations with my friends about your music, and we all love it! So to finish off, I just want to say that you are so extraordinary, and so is your music! You have worked so hard, and keep up the incredible work! I hope that you keep going with your career, and I think it’s so fitting for you.Sincerely,
Hannah

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 Dear Hailee Steinfeld,

I think you are a very inspirational artist because you inspire girls to love themselves he way they are. I really like your song. I like when you say, “I don’t need anyone else”. I like this because it’s empowering women and girls to say that they don’t need anyone else to validate your existence. Its like your saying to the haters “ you don’t control me”. I’m going to listen to your song every day because it’s so inspirational and makes me feel better about myself. I shared this song with all my friends and family. I love your music, and never stop being the empowering singer I love.Sincerely,
​Milly