2018 has seen the age of female sexual liberation, freedom and empowerment. With feminism solidly becoming a part of mainstream media as well as now being heavily involved in pop culture, this means it has become a highly popular topic with female artists.
Ariana Grande’s “God is a Woman” is a prime example of this. Not only does the track highlight and encourage female sexuality, but creates conversation regarding the gender of “God” and whether it is a he/she. Grande’s songs have a reputation for sparking controversy due to the more sexual nature of her recent songs, such as “Love Me Harder” featuring the The Weeknd which was released back in 2014.
“God is a Woman” discusses the sexual power a woman possesses and how it’s so strong, that by the time a male and female couple are finishing their intimate acts, the male’s perception of the how God is viewed as a man will be changed, and he will “believe God is a woman”. Not only does the song encourage female sexual liberation as well as hinting at being a message to men to appreciate a woman’s body more, but also how strong a woman is. The line “I can be all the things you told me not to be”, reinforces the idea of how women are constantly being oppressed and told what they can and can’t do, be and not be – by men. Lyrics such as “…if you confess, you might get blessed, see if you deserved what comes next”, alludes to a blessing being a child with a woman, as in the music video this line is sung while Grande is growing a baby bump. The song could best be described as a modern power ballad/a love song to not only a lover, but to the individual themselves (in this case, Grande).
The sound of the song is extremely unique; Grande’s gospel and hucky voice combined with the electronic feel to the song with its upbeat rhythm, this makes it extremely catchy and quite easy on the ear. There are a lot of layers in terms of music production, with the some of the background vocals acting as a beat in some parts (listen carefully to the instrumental in the verses). The song ends with a choir singing “God is a Woman” while Grande solos, but still manages to maintain its modern feel.
The music video depicts many famous pieces of art – The Thinker being one of many, as well as alluding to mythical creatures. Grande is shown lying down in a pool of lavender paint, sitting on top of the Earth controlling the weather, to recreating famous paintings as previously stated. Madonna also features as a voice-over, reciting the Bible passage “Esekiel 25:17” which is also famously used in the film “Pulp Fiction”. The verse discusses how there will be repercussions to those who attempt to “poison and destroy my sisters”, which works in the theme of the song as it is all about female empowerment not only in regards to sexual liberation, but in general.
Release Date: July 13, 2018
Songwriter/s: Rickard Göransson, Savan Kotecha, Ilya Salmanzadeh, Max Martin & Ariana Grande
Video Producer: Nathan Scherrer
Video Director: Dave Meyers
Album: Sweetener (2018)
Label: Republic Records, Island Records
Chart rankings: #11 on the Billboard charts in 2018