Women Rap Back: ‘It’s My Dance and It’s My Body’

From the November/December 1990 issue of Ms. magazine: “What won’t subvert rap’s sexism is the actions of men; what will is women speaking in their own voice.”

(For more ground-breaking stories like this, order 50 YEARS OF Ms.: THE BEST OF THE PATHFINDING MAGAZINE THAT IGNITED A REVOLUTION, Alfred A. Knopf—a collection of the most audacious, norm-breaking coverage Ms. has published.)

Taylor Swift, Underdog Voices, and Women’s Historical Right to ‘Bolt’

“The Bolter,” in Taylor Swift’s eyes, is a woman who does not fit traditional society. Swift gives the bolter a voice—one that until now had been silent. She’s a woman not interested in being a trophy wife for the masses to admire. She has her own desires, preferences and demands, but her hopes and dreams are stifled by the rules that others want her to play by. She is unwilling to give of herself to play this role.  

Who’s Afraid of Taylor Swift?

Taylor Swift commands a lot of attention. In mere days since its release, her 11th album The Tortured Poets Department, which is a lengthy 31 songs and runs over two hours, became the most streamed album in a single week and the first to reach over one billion streams on Spotify.

To some, such success seems … well, excessive. It’s hard not to notice such takedowns targeted at Swift amid her breakneck success might have something to do with her gender.

Keeping Score: Women’s Basketball Reaches New Heights; France Protects Abortion, While Florida Tightens Its Ban

In every issue of Ms., we track research on our progress in the fight for equality, catalogue can’t-miss quotes from feminist voices and keep tabs on the feminist movement’s many milestones. We’re Keeping Score online, too—in this biweekly roundup.

This week: Women’s college basketball smashed viewership records; France passed a constitutional amendment protecting abortion; Florida will soon have a six-week abortion ban; Beyoncé makes history on the country album charts; IWMF honors Palestinian journalist Samar Abu Elouf; Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) managed to include $1 billion for childcare in the fiscal year 2024 appropriations bills; federal employees will soon have access to insurance plans that cover fertility services; President Biden announced a new plan to cancel student debt; the Supreme Court allowed Idaho to maintain its ban on gender-affirming care for minors; and more.

Can Beyoncé’s Foray into Country Music Change the Genre’s Conservative Views?

Beyoncé’s much-anticipated country album, Cowboy Carter, drops on Friday, March 29. Beyoncé’s immense success in country music is a clear signal that there is a huge audience for country music around the world, but that audience won’t settle for the music’s often conservative conventions. Black music and musicians are at the heart of country music, and recognition of Black women’s music on this scale is long overdue.

Beyoncé doesn’t need country music. But, if it’s going get the global traction the CMA and other parts of the industry desire, country music needs artists like Beyoncé.

The Ms. Q&A: Singer-Songwriter Carrie Newcomer on Writing Her 20th Album, ‘A Great Wild Mercy’

Singer-songwriter Carrie Newcomer has been making music that inspires, challenges, questions, and affirms for nearly 40 years now, and she just released a new album, A Great Wild Mercy, in late 2023. 

Susan M. Shaw sits down with Newcomer to discuss her songwriting process, what it’s like being a musician at 65, and just what it means to have, or show, “great wild mercy.”

From ‘Fast Cars’ to Self-Gifted ‘Flowers’: What Pop Music Reveals about the Status of Women

The narrator of “Fast Car,” who finally finds the strength at song’s end to tell her no-count trifling lover to “take your fast car and keep on driving,” is an earlier version of Sza’s narrator on the heartbreak and revenge-fantasy songs that comprise her Grammy-nominated album SOS—a worthy project that many had hoped would break the 25-year-drought of a Black woman winning the Album of the Year Grammy, since Lauryn Hill’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.

Still, we have come a long way from passively waiting for someone else’s “fast car” to move us out of poverty—and failing to doing so—while the latest songs imagine us killing our exes or shimmering like diamonds once we move on. We have arrived at that moment in which we are more than eager to celebrate the women who can drive in their own fast cars—accrued debts and generational poverty be damned.

2023’s Top Feminist Moments in Pop Culture

In a year when women seemed to dominate both culturally and economically, it was not hard to find many feminist moments in pop culture that defined 2023.

Here are our top 10 favorites—including Rihanna’s historic Super Bowl performance; breakthroughs for women in TV, film and music; iconic moments in women’s leadership, and more.