I was able to find many song lineages for “Run The World (Girls)”. This song focuses on women’s inequalities, specifically in the workforce, and has an overall theme that “men are better and more powerful than women ”. One popular song from 1963 where a woman stood up for other women and their individuality was in Lesley Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me”. When originally writing the song, Gore wasn’t intending for the song to be about women specifically. It was supposed to be about people in general, but it soon became a symbol to empower women. Through the song Gore is basically telling men off and telling him that he cannot tell her what to do or say or how to act. A very interesting fact is that SAYGRACE created an updated version of the song in 2016 and started the song off the same way Gore does. The second and very popular song is “Respect” by Aretha Franklin. This song discusses how this independent  woman does as her husband demands, yet she is not being treated with the proper respect. Aretha wants to be treated the right way and as an equal to her husband. 

After looking at these two songs, I am able to see “Run The World (Girls)” in an even deeper light. Before doing any research on songs prior to Beyonce’s song, the only song that I could think of right away was “Respect”.  When I heard “You Don’t Own Me” it allowed me to think back to the long history of women’s inequality even outside of the workforce. Even before Beyonce’s time, there were many strong and courageous women such as Gore and Franklin who stood up for women’s rights. The major difference was that back then the situations women faced were significantly more difficult than now. Black women especially had it harder. They had to worry about facing inequalities based on their race and gender. All women had less rights, less power, and less of a say in society, yet women still fought and wrote songs such as these two in order to draw attention to these issues. Even almost 60 years later the issues these women talk about in their songs are present in our generation. 

When looking at “Run The World (Girls)”, Beyonce is targeting women’s inequalities specifically in the workplace. By taking a look at songs from the 60s that discuss similar issues, I can clearly see why Beyonce wrote the song. She may have been using ideas from the two songs talked above but applied them in a more direct and “in your face” manner. She outright says that girls run the world, implying they don’t need men or their money in order to live and succeed. 

Beyonce wraps these two things together nicely by making a point that women do not need men nor should they use their “power” in the workforce to make women feel lesser than them. She also makes the point, similarly to Franklin, that women do just as much as men, if not more, and deserve to be treated with respect. These songs help me see how these issues have truly and deeply impacted women for over 59 years and how Beyonce took a very direct approach to the issue through her song. 

Following two years after Beyonce’s “Run The World (Girls)”, Fifth Harmony released the song “Bo$$”. This song has a similar upbeat, pop feel to it like Beyonce’s song. It makes you want to get up, sing, and dance. It’s all about feminism, empowerment, confidence, and switching the norm of gender roles. They talk about how everyday is payday and how their mom’s taught them to work for their own money and showed them that they deserve respect. These themes are similar to “Respect” and “Run The World (Girls)”. Franklin’s theme was all about receiving respect from men. Beyonce talks a lot about how women should work for their money and that women are just as capable of making millions like men. One famous line from the song is “Michelle Obama/Purse so heavy gettin’ Oprah dollas”. This is saying how Michelle Obama was important in helping Barack during his term and how she has created an image and career for herself, even though her husband was the president. Oprah, of course, is a courageous women who built herself out of nothing. 

Another song released in 2017 is “Most Girls” By Hailee Steinfeld. She is attacking the stereotypes of women and how women are characterized as “doing something like a girl”. Steinfeld states how most girls are indeed strong, smart, and beautiful, they work hard, go far, and are unstoppable. If the society, specifically men, would view all girls in that light, then who wouldn’t want to be like most girls? This songs pushed people to see that girls are more than some make us out to be. We are capable of more than some think and can fight through the burdens that come our way. 

These two songs help me view Beyonce’s song in an inspirational way. “Run The World (Girls)” set a straightforward, no messing around, tone for the decade. Many female artists have written and produced songs talking about issues of women’s inequality and attack the stereotypical idea that all women do things “like girls”. For example, not all women want to be stay at home mothers and not all women want to work at the same stereotypical jobs they are placed in. More recently, women have been pushing the boundaries that society and men have created. “Run The World (Girls)” is not just a fun, “I am a boss” type of song. It highlights real issues that have been prevalent in the world for a very long time. It is directly calling out men to realize there needs to be changes made because women have come a long way and are no longer putting up with it.