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The Meaning of Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”

While most people know “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” as Cyndi Lauper’s breakout hit in 1983, the song was actually written by Robert Hazard in 1979. Lauper was able to make some subtle changes to the song’s lyrics to turn it from a punk-inspired tale of male escapade, to a pop hit and feminist anthem.

Despite the changes in lyrics, Hazard maintained a full songwriting credit for the song. Either way, Cyndi Lauper made it her own, and spoke to an entire generation with this easy-going song with undertones of feminist breaking of societal norms.

Robert Hazard – “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” (1979)

“Girls Just Want to Have Fun” Origins

Before we get into a lyrical breakdown, here are quotes from both Hazard and Lauper about the song and its origin story.

Robert Hazard said this in 1986:

I changed all the lyrics over the phone with her. Originally, it was from the guy’s point of view. We had to make a lot of gender changes. She took the first verse and second verse and switched them. Why, I have no idea. Melodically, it’s exactly the same.

She actually had the guts to say in interviews that she wrote part of it. We sent her a cease and desist order. She did come to me with one line. I used to say, ‘All my girls are going to walk in the sun.’ And her line was ‘I want to be the one to walk in the sun.’ The original version was a guy talking about his girlfriends. A gender switch is a common thing and no one takes credit for it.

Robert Hazard on changing the lyrics to “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” 1986.

Cyndi Lauper said this in an interview with Yahoo Entertainment in 2018:

The first time I heard it, I understood how I could sing from my point of view and make it a call to solidarity for women. In the 1980s, women were still struggling to be seen as equal to men. When the women’s movement really started earlier in the ’60s and ’70s, I felt so empowered and it was thrilling to me. But in 1980s, it seemed that a lot of the hard work by people like Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem was being forgotten, and women were once again accepting the status quo. We had gotten far — but not far enough — so I sang “Girls” for all the women around the world to remember our power.

Cyndi Lauper on hearing Robert Hazard’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.”

During this time period, the women’s movement had seen a lot of success, but there was still a lot of work left to be done. “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” celebrates that without ignoring the old world still having a grip on things.

“Girls Just Want to Have Fun” Lyrics Meaning

With the backstory in place, we can dive into the lyrics to fully understand what this song is about.

Verse One

I come home in the mornin’ light
My mother says, “When you gonna live your life right?”
Oh, mama dear, we’re not the fortunate ones
And girls, they wanna have fun
Oh, girls just wanna have fun

First verse to “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper.

Cyndi sings of staying out all night, and having to answer to her mother upon arrival. There is a potential reference to “Fortunate Son” by Creedence Clearwater Revival in the third line, except in this case it speaks to women being the less fortunate of the two genders.

And then, we have the repeated lyrics that drive the song, which is all about girls going out to have a good time and cut loose. With freedom being the key component.

Verse Two

The phone rings in the middle of the night
My father yells, “What you gonna do with your life?”
Oh, daddy dear, you know you’re still number one
But girls, they wanna have fun
Oh, girls just wanna have

Second verse to “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper.

Then, it’s her father calling to criticize her lifestyle. She reassures him that he’s still the number one man in her life, but she also wants to have a good time while she can. This implies a promiscuous lifestyle, or at least a rejection of traditional norms.


That’s all they really want
Some fun
When the workin’ day is done
Oh, girls, they wanna have fun
Oh, girls just wanna have fun

Chorus to “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper.

After they’re done working, women want to cut loose and have a good time. The same way that men do. This line continues to echo the feminist thread.

Verse Three

Some boys take a beautiful girl
And hide her away from the rest of the world
I wanna be the one to walk in the sun
Oh, girls, they wanna have fun
Oh, girls just wanna have

Third verse to “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper.

Sometimes, women end up in unhealthy relationships with a man who tries to limit their freedom. Lauper sings about how she wants to have freedom, even if she is in a relationship. She wants to be out in the sun, having a good time.

The rest of the song is a happy-go-lucky repetition of how girls just want to have fun. There isn’t much hiding beneath the surface in this one, folks.

Watch the music video below.

Cyndi Lauper – “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” Video (1983)