Nina Simone’s ‘Four Women’ is one of the top feminist song of all time. In the Nina Simone depicts four different stereotypes of black women, and claims in each verse to be a different character with entirely different physical and personality traits. In shifting her identity freely between verses, Simone makes it clear that the stereotypes she invokes do not describe her true identity — and emphasizes that she is, in fact, free to choose exactly who she is.
Along with its subversive quality, the song also represents the struggle of a woman caught between conflicting definitions of who she should be: “Between two worlds do I belong,” Simone sings, as if the true nature of femininity is unknowable. Simone ends the song by playing the character of Peaches, a woman who remembers the history of slavery, whose “manner is tough” and who is ready to rise up. The triumphant and altogether virtuosic piano solo that follows makes it clear that Simone comes closest to finding herself in the character of the revolutionary.
-Excerpt from Spinner.com