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Dua Lipa and female empowerment: exploring the success of 'New Rules'


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2017 was the year that gave women a set of 'New Rules' to follow when dealing with heartbreak.

Singer, Dua Lipa, stormed to success with this huge hit, connecting girls all around the world with the sentiment to build each other up and take care of one another.

'New Rules' was released on the 21st July 2017. It spent two weeks at number one on the official charts, and is still sitting in the top 20 of the billboard charts. This kind of prolonged success exposes just how much this single has resonated with people, not only as a result of its upbeat tempo and catchy chorus, but also its lyrics. 

The single is filled to the brim with honesty. Lipa outlines the conflicting emotions that run through our heads when experiencing a breakup; as the last line of the first verse reads, "he makes me feel like nobody else", but this transitions straight into the chorus, which conveys the rules she must follow to not give in to this thought. The direct contrast between the two lines demonstrates just how strict you have to be in order to protect yourself.

This kind of authenticity is also shown in the bridge, where Lipa sings that "practice makes perfect, I'm still tryin' to learn it by heart". Here, she reassures the listener that resisting temptation is a difficult feat, but one that is necessary in order to blossom and grow as an individual. This reaasurance also allows listeners to not feel alone in their struggles. 

Lipa portrays a journey of self-discovery in her song, but she's not the only female musician doing it, Little Mix's 'Shout Out to My Ex' also presented breakups as an opportunity to better yourself. The girl group sing that their ex, "made my heart break and that made me who I am". The vital difference between these two singles is that Lipa never directly addresses her ex; the focus remains on Lipa herself, and her girl friends, ensuring that they are receiving all the credit for their strength, rather than someone that broke their heart. 

This kind of self-care mentality has been at the forefront of all our lives in recent years, so it is only fitting that this would be recognised in 'New Rules'. This is particularly evidenced in the music video, where there is a group of diverse women hanging out together in a flat; the bold block colours and choreography are reminiscent of teenage sleepovers, creating that coming-of-age atmosphere that so often accompanies situations like breakups. The closeness of the girls and their physical and metaphorical support for one another shows how important close platonic relationships between women can be. Lipa is championing the idea of girls supporting girls, a concept which is vital during movements such as #metoo and Time's Up.

'New Rules' is the epitome of female empowerment, but Lipa doesn't just interweave this into her music, but in her public image too. When she was accepting one of her Brit awards, she thanked "every single female that's been on this stage before me and given girls like me - not just in the music industry, but in society - something to look up to, and has allowed us to dream big." This humble response only adds to her message of female support and strength. 

Therefore, other than being an absolute banger, this tune packs a punch by fitting in with the political climate surrounding gender issues in our society right now. Lipa's music gives girls and women the confidence to look after themselves and one another, encouraging them to fight for what is right.


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