By Myra Khan
“Quarantined, all alone, Mother Nature’s on the phone:
“What have you been doing? Don’t forget, I am your home,
Virus come, fires burn, until human beings learn,
From every disaster- you are not my master.”
On April 14, 2021, singer and songwriter Marina (formerly known as Marina and the Diamonds) released her second single from her upcoming album, “Ancient Dreams in a Modern Land.”
The single, “Purge The Poison,” is an upbeat, feminist pop anthem reminiscent not only of the style of Marina’s older albums but also of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start The Fire.” “Purge The Poison” comes five months after Marina unexpectedly released the first single of the album, “Man’s World,” in the midst of an ongoing pandemic.
Both singles have struck a chord with old and new Marina fans alike, largely because of the blatant ecofeminist messaging of her new songs.
Ecofeminism can be defined as feminism which relates the struggles of women (and other marginalized groups) under patriarchy to the exploitation of the Earth under the same system.
Modern patriarchy in Western countries is rooted in a form of uncontrolled capitalism which continues to drain and pollute the Earth’s natural resources. Instead of caring for the Earth, this system encourages companies and governments to extract as much economic value from nature, prioritizing power and wealth over health and community.
Marina is no stranger to including strong feminist messages in her songs, with past albums tackling body standards, slut-shaming, internalized misogyny, and more. Her music seeks to empower women, people of color, the LGBTQ community, and other marginalized groups who are routinely silenced.The environmentalist pairing, however, is a new one.
Marina’s new lyrics include references to the California wildfires, the COVID-19 pandemic, the public shaming of Britney Spears in 2007, the hypocrisy of powerful religious leaders, the #MeToo movement, American neo-imperialism, and the overall destruction of the planet.
The central theme of both songs is that all of these different forms of violence and oppression are intimately linked. The system which exploits women for their sexuality is the same system that deforests the land and pollutes our oceans and the same which devalues brown and Black lives.
Marina argues that all of the world’s evils are old and rooted in history.
However, these old evils have festered for so long that they are now forced to the center of our attention. Racism and misogyny have gotten to a point where we must take a stand. Issues like police brutality and sexual violence aren’t going anywhere until we do something about it.
Climate change is hurtling towards a point of no return, with limited time left to act.
Fortunately, Marina’s music offers notes of hope. Through her songs, we are told that the world we live in is not the only possible world. We don’t want to live in a “man’s” world, because a world without the violence of patriarchy can be our reality. The planet does not belong to those who would see it destroyed.
Marina’s feminism is, in many ways, exactly what the world needs to hear right now. When cynicism often dominates conversations of politics, it is the seemingly naive idealism of sentiments like Marina’s which give us the power to fight. This imagination of hope is the most important message that Marina sends us in her music.
The belief in a better, more equitable society is crucial for modern activism. Believing that we have the power to heal ourselves and the world, to create systems of progress and altruism, is what will empower oppressed groups to achieve such a dream. A world of love, a matriarchy, cannot be created through movements of hate.
Matriarchy, as a feminist concept, is based around the rule of domesticity, healing, and community, not oppression led by women instead of men. In other words, the opposite of violence is not a different kind of violence, but rather egalitarianism: the doctrine that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities.
Achieving matriarchy requires us to restructure not just political organizations but also cultural and social values, to learn to value the planet and each other.
As Marina explains in “Man’s World,” we must recognize the power of the natural world and femininity. The two are intertwined and value coexistence. Only then will we be able to save ourselves from the poison in our system.
Though the remaining songs on the album are yet to be released, we eagerly anticipate hearing more of Marina’s wisdom on June 11, 2021.
No doubt, the talented singer will have many more feminist tracks for us to be humming and pondering throughout the summer. I recommend that we listen with our hearts as much as our ears.
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