P!nk's first single was released in 2000, back when I was 17 years old, and I adored it instantly.
I was (and still am!) a "Uk Garage" girl, and this single was a big hit with the garage-stype beat. I'd honestly not really seen a woman like her. She's only 3 years older than me, which added to her accessability. I wasn't shown women with cropped pink hair. She clearly had a kick arse attitude I was attracted to, before I knew that feminism was as neccesary now as in the 70s.
P!nk was the first artist that I owned more than 2 albums of I think, I bought the CD of each and every album she released. I still enjoy them all.
Her lyrics stood out as having something that needed saying. She sung and created videos that seemed to reflect the reality of life. Sexism, self esteem, eating disorders, broken families, gay rights, self harm etc, rather than just merely scratching the surface by just sticking to love stories.
She defied what society seemed to find acceptable for pop stars. She had short hair, strong muscles and was uncoventionally pretty, rather than the cookie-cutter beautiful we'd come to expect.
What's perhaps most interesting, is that as a teen, I always half presumed that P!nk was a lesbian. The only experience society had shown me of strong women, with cropped hair, who didn't seem to appeal to what I'd be taught men liked, were gay women. She seemed willing to buck a trend in a way that excited but confused me.
Clearly, 15 years on, I'm aware that having short hair doesn't mean you fancy women, but actually P!nk continues to stick her finger up at what her industry dictates. I still admire her and think she's pretty brilliant.
Do young people have anyone like P!nk to push the boundaries in such a positive way these days? I'm presuming GaGa is a possibility? She lacks the humour and humility that P!nk has, but I guess she stands for something.