Is Enya Feminist Enough?

by Blair Thornburgh

There’s good reason to debate the girl-power cred of the mononymous chanteuse: these single-named chart-topping women have massive fanbases and worldwide recognition, and assigning any particular ideological label can have far-reaching trickle-down cultural effects. But I’m going to come out and say it:

Yes. Enya is feminist.

To wit:

1. Enya is a woman

2. Enya has sold 75 million records worldwide and is the best-selling Irish solo musician of ever

3. Having performed in 10 languages, Enya celebrates and respects women of many cultures, including cultures that are made-up and only exist in Middle Earth

4. Flouting the rules of conventional femininity, Enya has short hair

5. Flouting the rules of “not looking like you do all your clothes shopping in the Signals catalog,” Enya looks great in capes

6. Enya has won four Grammys and been nominated for one Oscar, which she only didn’t win because some sexist chuckleheads at the Academy fell prey to what I think is called “the old payola” and gave the prize to a song from MONSTERS, INC, a movie for children that scores an approximate F- on the Bechdel test

7. Enya has a song on Pure Moods, favorite CD compilation of feminists everywhere

8. Enya also has a song with the consent-respecting title “Only If You Want To

9. Using money she earned entirely by herself, Enya outbid Michael “Lord of the Dance” Flatley and bought her own castle

10. And she named it “Manderley”

11. And also she fortified the hell out of it against violent stalkers

12. If Boadicea, mythical warrior-queen of the British Iceni tribe, isn’t a feminist subject for a song then I DEMAND to know what is

13. Enya classifies her music’s genre as simply “Enya” because she has a strong sense of brand and refuses to submit to the conventional categories of society

14. The gender-bending implications of using Enya’s “Only Time” as the only soundtrack badass enough to score Jean-Claude Van Damme doing splits between giant trucks could fill a dissertation and I really hope someone actually writes it

15. Finally, Enya has an asteroid named after her. If you need something to look up to, you can literally look up to Enya.

Previously: Further Ways In Which Beyoncé Is Problematic

Blair Thornburgh is a writer in Philadelphia.