Ten top tunes for a Women’s Dance 2009-style

Happy International Women’s Day! Woooo!

Wave your handbags in the air! Shake your chardies like you just don’t care!

International Women’s Day is usually a time when we stop and take stock of where our society’s at on the gender agenda. We acknowledge and celebrate those who have come before us, who lobbied, yelled, insisted, or politely but firmly let those with power know that you couldn’t treat over half the population like second-class citizens. We also look at what still needs to be done to end discrimination based on gender.

But, instead of listing off all the wonderful women who inspire us here at westonculture, I thought I’d take a different tack. (I have a hunch that those lists will be flowing freely around the net this week – and I want to write about wonder-women everyday, not just one day a year…). So.

Remember when IWD was all about marching through the streets and then dancing all night at a women’s dance?  Women’s dances seem to be as rare as sanitary belts these days. But unlike the elastic little helper, I really miss them. They were places where all the sisterhood – femocrats, mothers and dykes – could get together and celebrate the joy of being born with a womb.

So I’d like to celebrate the celebration of women. And it got me thinking… If we were to have a women’s dance tonight, what ten songs would be essential? Would we still be bouncing around to the seventies’ favourites or would the modern women’s dance include new female empowered voices?

Here’s my Top Ten Tunes for a Women’s Dance 2009-style

10.  Mr Big Stuff – Jean Knight  Yes, well some things don’t change. Mr Big Stuff still struts his sense of entitlement in 2009 and women are still singing the song. Are you going to continue putting up with his shit? Hell, no.

9.  Respect – Aretha Franklin  The anthem that launched a thousand divorces?  A song that also ticks all the boxes for an IWD anthem:  Women rule? Check. Men drool? Check.

8.  Lady Marmalade (remake) – Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya & Pink   And one for the laydeez of the oldest and most empowered profession (according to Scarlet Alliance anyway). Voulez-vous coucher avec Christina, Kim, Mya and Pink?  

7.  She Works Hard for the Money – Donna Summers  Do doop do doop. So hard for it honey! Do doop do doop. She works hard for the money so you better treat her right. … Nuff said.

6.  I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor  A song of strength and resilience that perfectly encapsulates that moment when we realise that no matter what happens, we will make it through this.

5.  Sweet About Me – Gabriella Cilmi  Because sometimes you’ve got to ditch the Good Girl, the sweet one, and let em know you’re not their “Love”, “Darl” or “Sweetie”. Repeat after Ms Cilmi, “Nothin’ sweet about me!”

4.  Androgyny – Garbage  One for the bois? Nah, just one to remind us what Madame De Beauvoir taught us – one is not born a woman… thank goddess…

3.  Lola’s Theme – Shapeshifters  There’s something satisfying about dancing around singing “IIIII’m a different person” at the top of your voice. It’s like announcing to the world that you don’t have to be defined by circumstance, that you have a smidgeon of control in your life, and life does get better.

2.  Im Nin Alu – Ofra Haza  Every women’s dance needs a song where you can flail your arms around and dance like a dervish. And heck, I think we need a tune that translates (from the Hebrew) to “Even if the gates to the rich are closed, the gates to heaven are not closed.”

1.  We are Family – Sister Sledge   Sure, women in 2009 may live very diverse lives, but it’s what we have in common, our desire for better lives for all, that makes us powerful. We are family. I’ve got all my sisters and me.

Ahh, we have come a long way baby.

Happy IWD 2009!