by Madeleine Chan
The gender binary sucks. A construct that limits your self-expression and identity to one presentation or the other? One that, when defied, exposes you to being discriminated against and othered leading to potential catastrophic harm? No thanks. Though the concept of gender itself isn’t bad, in fact, it can allow for wonderful forms of expression and emotion. But in a world that still relies heavily on the gender binary, it can lead to tumultuous, dysphoric, and far from simple feelings.
And no matter your gender identity, whether you’re trans or cis, it’s probable that you’ve had some sort of discomfort or struggle with gender. Take a listen to this playlist loaded with angsty, sad, and contemplative songs that reflect the challenges of navigating outside the borders of gender to process some of that.
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“Sad Femme Club” by Kimmortal
Based on unceded Coast Salish territory, artist Kimmortal raps about all of the intersecting difficulties of being a feminine-presenting person on this absolute bop. While the choruses are empowering and cheery with backing “Hey! Hey! Hey!” cheers the verses dive into topics like toxic masculinity and colonization. Topped off with an angry sample of Leslie Gore’s “It’s My Party” in the bridge, “Sad Femme Club” is a perfect cry against the world’s normative cruelty.
“Part-Time Woman” by Vivek Shraya, Queer Songbook Orchestra
This title track off of Canadian multi-talented artist Vivek Shraya’s 2017 EP is an emotional exploration of feeling in-between identities. Shraya critiques the norms around what constitutes a woman with lyrics like “How many hours do you have to bleed? / Or will I always be a part-time woman?” The Queer Songbook Orchestra’s enchanting strings only add to the cacophonous sentiments.
“Body” by Mother Mother
Mother Mother, a band from BC with a strong cult following, has recently garnered global attention on TikTok with one of the noted songs being “Body.” The song details singer Ryan Guldemond’s lack of confidence with his body telling the listener to “throw it all away” against tense strings and marching drums. While not talking about gender specifically, the feelings of corporeal dissonance are undoubtedly the same.
“Transgender Dysphoria Blues” by Against Me!
The title track off of their 2012 album, “Transgender Dysphoria Blues” captures the disconnect between self-identity and public perception with a kitchy guitar, grooveable drums, and an angry vocal, making it something you want to both jam and scream to. A hit trans anthem from the famed punk rock band, this song is both a deeply personal song for transgender lead singer Laura Jane Grace and a universal expression of gender norm frustration.
“Sad Girls Club” by I M U R
Vancouver-based band I M U R is known for their introspective and vibey songs that evoke both dancing and crying, and “Sad Girls Club” is no different. With a soft trap beat and dark, luxurious vocals and synths, lead singer Jenny Lea relays the inner demons that come with overcoming addiction and getting older. It’s a real mood for the overthinking woman trying to navigate life’s ups and downs.
You can view the rest of this playlist at Attuned’s Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/6eEVOiRRUWdUOV1FtzXG9F?si=2bb140061ab7435e