Music Matters: Hang with Me

Hiya, Internet!

I'm Sarah. You might have read my work in the print editions of Bitch before (or in various other places), but I'm particularly excited about joining this party because I get eight weeks of focusing on possibly the biggest love of my life: music.

That's right. I'm a political junkie, but I'm lucky enough to have a day job now where I get to indulge all the ins and outs of my political consciousness. (And let me be honest, I spend many an hour ranting about the failings of the system over a glass of wine or three.)

But as the title above says, I believe that music matters.

And music matters not just because there have been brilliant protest songs that strengthened Civil Rights marchers or striking workers as they fought for their rights. Not just because musicians like David Bowie and Grace Jones were pushing gender boundaries long before the majority of Western culture was ready for it, and not just because Johnny Cash played in prisons.

No, music matters because it sustains us. Because it makes us happy and it makes us dance.

I'm not a musician, not a dancer, but I couldn't live without music and dancing. It's forged bonds in my life across decades and oceans, given me the energy to go out and knock on just a few more doors on election day with the flu, and kept me from breaking down in tears—or pushed me just over the edge when I wanted, needed that catharsis.

Music matters. It's one of the first things censored and controlled, whether by repressive regimes or just parents that don't understand. It shapes generations, defines aesthetics and mores for millions of people.

All music matters. From the fluffiest pop song to the most serious political critique, from Lady Gaga to your high school band. Because I'm a woman and a feminist, and Bitch is a feminist magazine, I'll be looking more specifically at gender in pop music, but I don't believe that pop music has to be specifically feminist to have meaning and importance to us. In other words, I've got a lot to say about a lot of bands and artists, but I'm pretty much never going to tell you that you're a bad person for liking something. And I'd love to hear why they matter to you, in comments!

I have a paraphrase of something Emma Goldman once said tattooed on my left forearm. "It's not my revolution if I can't dance to it." That's the closest I come to a Rule for Life. Emma was a feminist and an anarchist; she spent her life fighting for women as well as for political change. And she loved to dance.

We need dancing in our revolutions.

by Sarah Jaffe
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5 Comments Have Been Posted


I am really looking forward to this series, Sarah!

I read this and instantly had

I read this and instantly had "Hang With Me" by Robyn playing in my head. Love it!
I'm recently caught up on my Robyn and have been binging on it and I Blame Coco these past few weeks.
I love that Robyn writes dancy tunes that actually have great lyrics. When I was youtubing the other day, I found that she'd collaborated with this new chick, Coco Sumner (yes, Sting's daughter) on a song called "Cesaer" and I was hooked! Coco writes such great lyrics and also mainly has dancy songs that I used to not be into because lyrics make such a difference to me. I also like that she and Elly Jackson of La Roux both play with androgyny with their dress; La Roux's definitely more chic male in her dress though she's got a sweet high voice meanwhile Coco's kind of off center and has a deep, smokey voice.
But I digress!
I love them!
p.s. I could go on and on about my love for Amanda Palmer, totally one and only. look her up on youtube & twitter ;)


I love reading these because they're so in depth and so many issues come to the surface and I'm introduced to perspectives I never considered.

Yay for music!

Yes! Music shapes and is shaped by our experiences! I would say that all music matters, but all music is not equal. I avoid music that is angry or cynical.

Lots of Indigo Girls + Gospel and other hymns = healthy mind and spirit

To oversimplify perhaps a tad...

One of my all-time favorite

One of my all-time favorite quotes! Can't wait to read all of what you have to say!

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