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The best beauty-related songs to bust a move to on International Women’s Day and beyond

The best beauty-related songs to bust a move to on International Women’s Day and beyond

Beauty and a beat

Text: Emily Heng


If there's anything we learnt from modern-day musicals along the lines of Mamma Mia, La La Land, and practically every Disney movie ever made, it is that there is no better way to express oneself than with the power of song. Cheesy as it may sound, there is no denying the recuperative abilities of a well-timed (and well-executed) tune. See: carols on Christmas day, "I Just Had Sex" by The Lonely Island on V-Day (kidding — or are we?), and any Jay Chou song come Chinese New Year. After all, is it really a day to remember if it isn't accompanied with an apt soundtrack?

This, of course, applies to the upcoming International Women's Day on 8 March. We plan to commemorate it with a playlist brimming with anthems that detail women's complex, compelling, and often times, comical relationship with beauty. Below, our recommendations that will keep you jiving throughout the day of celebration — and possibly in the weeks after, too.

1. "Unpretty" by TLC
Everyone's favourite feel-good anthem stands the test of time with its message of self-love and positivity — though we'll admit to fantasising about buying all the makeup M.A.C. can make from time to time.

2. "Ugly" by Sugababes
Released in 2005, Sugababes tells it like it is in this uplifting single that preaches acceptance, love, and what it truly means to be ugly. 10 points for the inclusive cast featured in the music video, too.

3. "Pretty Hurts" by Beyoncé
No one puts it better than Queen B did when she said, "Perfection is the disease of a nation." Addressing unrealistic beauty standards and the importance of inner beauty in just under four minutes, there's no wonder that this song has all the makings of a top-tier classic.

4. "Try" by Colbie Caillat
The Myspace star went bare-faced for her video tackling the ridiculous pressures faced by women, inspiring many to "take your makeup off, let your hair down, and take a breath." Sing it, sis.

5. "What Makes You Beautiful" by One Direction
Remember when fresh-off-the-streets One Direction declared, "You're insecure/ Don't know what for" and the Internet collectively lost their minds? Well, someone should really give them a lesson or two on feminine ideal beauty and societal pressures, but we'll give them an A for effort. (Personally, we prefer Amy Schumer's rendition of it, but maybe that's just us.)

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