What It Feels Like For A Girl

Album: Music (2000)
Charted: 7 23

Songfacts®:

  • What does it feel like for a girl? For Madonna, it was a mixture of bravado and vulnerability, with a touch of confusion. When she wrote it, she was pregnant with her second child, Rocco, and not yet married to the father, Guy Ritchie. Madonna was living in America, but Ritchie, a film director, resided in England. Madonna ultimately moved to England, but it was a tough decision.

    The song also looks at how accomplished women are viewed in society. She explained in Interview magazine: "Our generation certainly has been encouraged to grab life by the balls, be super-independent, get a great education, follow our dreams, kick ass, all that stuff, and I feel like I work up one day holding the golden ring and realized that smart, sassy girls who accomplish a lot and have their own cash and are independent are really frightening to men. I felt like, 'Why didn't somebody tell me? Why didn't somebody warn me?' And that's also what that song is about – swallowing that bitter pill. It was a combination of that, and also just feeling incredibly vulnerable that inspired the song."
  • The video was directed by Madonna's husband at the time, Guy Ritchie, who had previously directed music videos in England. Movies he directed include Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, so it's no surprise that he filled the clip with crime and destruction. The video shows Madonna going on a crime spree, ending with a car crash meant to symbolize a suicide. Madonna claimed the character she played had been abused, and it was an anti-violence message, even though it portrayed graphic violence. The video was the first time Ritchie worked with Madonna. MTV and VH1 aired the video only once because of its graphic violence.
  • The voice at the beginning of the song is the actress Charlotte Gainsbourg. It came from a clip from the 1994 film The Cement Garden.
  • Madonna wrote this song with Guy Sigsworth, who has also written and produced songs for Seal, Britney Spears, and Alanis Morissette. The song uses a samples from a 1987 album called Cloud About Mercury by the guitarist/experimental musician David Torn. Madonna didn't know about the sample when the song was released, and when she found out, she gave Torn a composer credit on the song.
  • Many different mixes of this song have been produced. The version used in the video is a remix by the team Above & Beyond.
  • On her 2001 Drowned World tour, Madonna sang this in Spanish. The title translates to "Lo Que Siente La Mujer."

Comments: 13

  • Karen from Manchester, NhOK, so although I am NOT a Madonna fan, I thought I'd give the vid a watch. Unfortunately, I'm a lady so I won't describe my feelings on how bad this video is. I WILL say, tho, that they could at least have shown the correct dashboard for the correct car; even when she was driving the Camaro, the close-up of the dash showed the Trans Am. Anyway, it's just Madonna trying to prove that she's relevant and "edgy", but coming off as narcissistic and publicity-hungry. *sigh* waste of a nice car.
  • Theresa from Murfreesboro, TnThe first time I heard this song I loved it. Madge pushes the enevelope even with a ballad.
  • Shannon from Lynbrook, NyThe old lady is supposed to represent a broken, frail Madonna.
  • Alexandra from Toronto, CanadaI guess for the "smart man" Nathan, your right, us women do have it good in north America, but what about the rest of the world? We have it so well that we are on top of the gender triangle.. or do we, don't know what statistic you got but we are still bellow the men when it comes to salary. If you listen carefully, the song isn't just directed to women empowerment, but also for gender empowerment. for the transgendered men who can't live in this society without people judging them. And I don't see how this is controversial, because we see this on the news all the time.. some guy drinking and driving, killed a few people. Better this then Britney and her bald head..lol
  • Leon from Waterbury, CtI saw the video when it was aired that one time...am I the only one who thought it wasn't very controversial?
  • Reese from Calgary, CanadaThis video was HILARIOUS! When she pulls out the gun, points in the cop's face and shoots them...with WATER! LOL!! Great stuff! HA, and then she crashes into their car as they're trying to chase after her! As for the "graphic violence" what was so graphic about it? "Hannibal", "American Psycho" THOSE were graphic. This was too violent for regular music video play, yes I agree...but I do disagree with the decision to ban it entirely. We can show all the t*ts and a**es we want, but as soon as gas stations are being blown up off screen, suddenly it's "too much" :P gimme a break!
  • Nathan from Defiance, OhMadonna no longer has her looks or her talent so she must reduce herself to doing controversial things to get in the news. I don't think that the vast majority of women are abused or neglected, in fact the majority of studies show they aren't. Women have it better in this country than they ever have before in the history of the world, so Madonna can kiss this man's ass.
  • Donnie from Los Angeles, CaLook, i don't know if it was the um...cigarettes i was smoking that day, but when i saw the video i was amazed. i have no idea what it meant, but it was still cool
  • Chester from Lincolnshire, EnglandThe song which accompanied the video and which was released as a single was actually a remix of the original version. The single 'What It Feels Like For A Girl' was an atmospheric trance-like anthem, where as the original album version (which featured on Madonna's 'Music' album) is much softer, much poppier and much more mellow.
  • Sarah from Salem, MaI agree with you on this one, Saxon. I'm especially interested in the spoken part at the very beginning that talks about how it's okay for women to take on male characteristics, but it's degrading for men to be like women. It shows that in many ways women are still second-class citizens in supposedly enlightened Western countries like ours.
  • Saxon from Peace River, CanadaActually, she wasn't out of control; she is getting men back for how they abused her. As for the old lady, she was probably abused by men as well and Madonna's character takes her on the ride for her revenge too. She's trying to equalize some gender stuff here, people! And she crashes the car to symbolise suicide, she must've been pretty traumatizd by abuse to commit suicide. Geez, have some empathy, guys.

    P.S. Why would you say Madonna's out of control? she didn't direct the video, and i'm not saying in any way that Guy Ritchie is or made the video crazy, for all you little nick-pickers like me :p, but i think that the artist shouldn't always be the target of these insulting little attacks. This was a really great Music Video and i think that anyone that doesn't think so needs to pay more attention.
  • Scott Baddwin from Edmonton, Englandanother thing she did 2 get this video banned was offend christians by standing behind burning jesus-like things.
  • Brooke from Sedona, AzWhat a crazy vidoe this was, Madonna is out of control in this one. She takes some poor old lady with her on a joy ride and crashes up the car and all kinds of crazy stuff.
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