For my ladies out there that are feeling a little defeated because of the world's rampant misogyny: I have something to help. Halsey recently came out with a new single titled "Nightmare" and I genuinely believe it is the best pop song of 2019 so far. It is an amazing female empowerment anthem and perfectly encapsulates the rage that I feel (and I'm sure many of you do too) towards the state of our society.
Basically, "Nightmare" is about women standing up to nasty, sexist men and taking control of our own lives and bodies. The combination of the lyrics of "Nightmare" and the music video really drives the message home. One of my personal favorite verses from the song is:
"'Come on, little lady, give us a smile / No, I ain't got nothin' to smile about / I got no one to smile for, I waited a while for / A moment to say I don't owe you a goddamn thing"
After this verse, Halsey holds up a sign that says "You smile, asshole." Many women have had similar experiences of men demanding that we smile at them because it makes us look "more attractive" or "more appreciative" if they just tried to come onto us. Halsey saying she has no reason to smile is perfect because nothing about those situations is enjoyable. The only thing that those men accomplish is making the woman feel uncomfortable and annoyed at them. As Halsey said, we do not owe you any sort of positive reaction just because it'll help make us more palatable. If you're being a creep, you better be fully prepared to receive a scowl and have "You smile, asshole" yelled at you in response.
Another great lyric from "Nightmare" is:
"I've been polite, but won't be caught dead / Lettin' a man tell me what I should do with my bed"
The thing that I love about that lyric is that it touches on reproductive health. One of the ways that men have recently been telling women what to do with our beds is by convincing us that we have to "take responsibility" for having sex and getting pregnant by then giving birth to an unwanted child. This song truly could not have come out at a better time because I have been feeling extremely frustrated about the abortion bans that have been taking over the country. "Nightmare' emphasizes just how ridiculous it is that men feel like they have a say over the bodily autonomy of women. No one should feel like they have the right to tell you what to do with your body, whether it's choosing if you want to have sex or choosing if you want to have a child.
In the music video, while Halsey is singing about refusing to let men have control over her, she holds up a newspaper with the headline: IT'S OUR TURN. The scene then cuts to Halsey and a group of women holding up their middle fingers to the camera. This part of the music video is my favorite because you see that all of these women have decided that enough is enough and it is now our turn to be in charge of our lives. It is our turn to feel powerful. It is our turn to live a life free from fear. We know our worth and nothing men, or anyone else, say to us will change that.
I know it can be easy to see the attacks on women in our society and feel hopeless, but I truly believe that songs like "Nightmare" can help give us all the extra push that we need. In Halsey's single, she says, "I'm tired and angry, but somebody should be." That line resonated with me because even though it can be overwhelming to constantly have to fight back against the hatred that our world has for women, the alternative will do us no good. Pretending like the problems aren't there won't make them go away. Change can only happen if we recognize that we are angry and tired of our circumstances. We then strive to change the world for the better so that neither we nor anyone else will feel that way ever again.