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DECEMBER 21, 2019

When I think of the 80s, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” is the song that floods my mind. It’s a song you want to get up and dance to. A song that makes every inch of your body burst with joy because it is just one of those songs. Two months ago I took the train to New York City to surprise my sister for her 22nd birthday. On Saturday night, we went out to a club with a few of her friends for 80s night—a night that would be filled with possibilities, free of self-doubt. The song came on, I screamed at the top of my lungs the second I heard the beat, grabbed my sister, and started singing (granted, no one wants to hear me sing, let alone sing a song by Cyndi Lauper). The band called out for all the girls to “come up on stage.” Before I could react, my sister pushed through the crowd and begged the security man standing there for me to get on stage, even though the stage was already packed with people. He stubbornly said that only one of us could go, and she nudged me forward and said, “Go on!” 

“Girls Just Want to Have Fun” was originally written by a man. It was supposed to be from a man’s perspective and “fun” was supposed to allude to “sex”. Lauper changed the words and the meaning, revolutionizing the song. She said “It doesn’t mean that girls just want to fuck...It just means that girls want to have the same damn experience that any man could have.” Lauper illustrated that women deserve to be treated as equals to their male counterparts

“Girls Just Want to Have Fun” is a song about inclusivity. Freedom. Self-expression. Uniqueness. But most of all it’s a song that empowers you to embrace every part of yourself. Lauper showed girls that they don’t have to feel ashamed of their insecurities or that they look differently than what society defines as beautiful. In the music video, she wanted “to have multi-racial girls so that every little girl could actually see herself in it, and it would be kind of contagious that everyone was entitled—no matter what race or color or anything—you were entitled to this joyful experience.”


In a time where women were told exactly what they could and couldn’t do, this song told them to ignore all that, and to have fun. This song makes you feel like you are a part of something bigger than yourself. Lauper created a reality where it was appealing to be different—to be special. She  “made it popular to be the odd guy out.” 36 years later and this song still speaks to people. It makes you jump on a stage full of strangers and dance like you can conquer the world. 

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