In 2002, Christina Aguilera gave women an empowerment track that “made us a little big stronger.” Flash forward to 2019, and there’s a new tune to add to your “Fighter” playlist; this time, it’s from Disney.
The Walt Disney Company certainly has another hit on its hands with the new live-action remake of Aladdin. While the plot follows the traditional story you’re used to, the addition of one song in particular is proving to be more than just another showtune.
La La Land songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul are responsible for “Speechless,” which has been dubbed a “power ballad” by outlets such as Entertainment Weekly. But the song is far more than another track on a list of Disney hits. The powerful lyrics speak to anyone who has felt oppressed or abused, and the song is an anthem for anyone who has ever felt as though they didn’t have a voice.
Princess Jasmine, portrayed by actress Naomi Scott (pictured above), wants to become Sultan more than anything. However, the wicked Jafar is quick to remind her of her place as a woman in Agrabah. Determined to stand her ground and to speak up for what she believes is right, Jasmine belts out “Speechless” as she comes to the realization that she still has her voice. She will use the power of her voice to institute change, and to make people see the world — and her — differently.
“Try to lock me in this cage / I won’t just lay me down and die / I will take these broken wings / And watch me burn across the sky / Hear the echo saying / I won’t be silenced,” read the lyrics.
These poetic lyrics resonate with victims of abuse, and could certainly give strength to someone who is searching for the courage to speak out — to tell his or her story. Whether in a physically or emotionally abusive relationship, the feeling of being silenced can be overpowering. Those who feel “speechless” often experience unshakable emotions of depression and despair. It’s certainly not easy to stand up to an abuser — and sometimes it isn’t safe. But “Speechless” gives us something to hold on to; it gives us hope.
Whether it’s a challenging relationship with a significant other, a parent, a boss, a friend, or a bully, believing in your voice — and the power it has — can change your circumstances. The power of your convictions can change your life for the better, should you refuse to be made mute.
If you’ve been in an abusive relationship, the song holds true for you, as well. You may know what it’s like to lose your voice — and you know that you won’t go “speechless” again.
“‘Cause I’ll breathe when they try to suffocate me / Don’t you underestimate me / ‘Cause I know that I won’t go speechless / All I know is I won’t go speechless.”
Agrabah may be nothing more than a fictional place, but Jasmine stands up for anyone who has ever felt like they are being silenced. In many ways, she’s the princess we need the very most.