Changing Our Tune: Happy Earth Day

Liz Stygar is both a graduate of the Women’s Studies Program and, now, a faculty member.  (She regularly teaches WMST/SOC 308, “Women, Gender, and Society,” one of the most popular courses in the program.)  Here, Liz suggests a soundtrack for this Earth Day, feminist hero Ani DiFranco’s “Which Side Are You On?”

Maybe you once read a feminist argue that if women ruled the world, we would live in a more peaceful place and we would have more connection to nature (hence, Mother Nature).  I’m going to argue the same point here.  I strongly identify as a feminist-environmentalist and I’m ecstatic to share a deeply thought-provoking musical call to political activism!

For well over a decade now I’ve been a BIG FAN of Ani DiFranco.

If you’ve heard of her, it’s likely you’re a fan as well (this is feminist blog, right!?!?)  If you’ve never heard of Ani, I’m thrilled to introduce you. I think of Ani as a political poet (AND she owns her own record label: Righteous Babe Records, seriously she’s an amazing feminist).

DiFranco’s newest album, Which Side Are You On? explores intersections of feminism, environmentalism and conservationism, and racial equality; of course, this album is highly political.

In this important election year, I’d like to share the goose-bump provoking title track from Ani DiFranco’s album, Which Side Are You On?  Here is a YouTube clip of the song as it sounds on the album, and a YouTube clip of her singing the song live.  Here too are the lyrics from her website.

The song’s chorus was originally written by Pete Seeger as a protest anthem several decades ago.  DiFranco wrote the verses to echo her sense of where the country stands at this moment.

The lyrics that best bring to light the intersection of feminism, environmentalism, and equality:

“lord knows the free market is anything but free it costs dearly to the planet and the likes of you and me”

“my mother was a feminist she taught me to see the road to ruin is paved with patriarchy so let the way of women guide democracy    and from plunder and pollution let mother earth be free    feminism ain’t about women that’s not who it is for it’s about a shift in consciousness that will bring an end to war so listen up you fathers listen up you sons and tell me which side are you on now”

“so are we just consumers or are we citizens are we going to make more garbage or are we going to make amends? are you part of the solution or are you part of the con? tell me which side are you on now”

“america who are we now our innocence is gone? forgive us mother africa HIStory’s done you wrong      too many stories written out in black and white come on people of privilege it’s time to join the fight   now   are we living in the shadow of slavery or are we moving on?”

Which side are you on?


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