Ani DiFranco: 'Feminism is not only for women'

 

When I first started writing songs and being very explicit, it was hard But one of the main things people respond to in my writing is that "just say it" attitude of my songs. There really is nothing personal or private, it's all universal, if you can just find the courage to be open about your life.

My song 'Amendment' explores a subject matter you don't hear in songs – civil rights for women I've had conversations with young artists, and [they've said], "Your envelope-pushing emboldened me." It's great to hear, but I wonder how far I can take it. If it's my job to go out on a limb in order to encourage others to climb the tree, how far along that limb can I go?

Patriarchy is a fundamental imbalance underlying society And it's one we rarely address because it's so universal. But as I get older, I see that peace is a product of balance. You can't start with imbalance and end with peace, be that in your own body, in an ecosystem or between a government and its people. What we need to strive for is not perfection, but balance.

Feminism is not only for women It's something everyone can participate in, and evolve together, as the first step in the right direction. I see feminism as a tool to achieve that balance and peace.

I've been in dialogue with Occupy [washington] DC There are some incredibly lucid, articulate political thinkers involved – we're plotting some action together. I'm just excited there are people out there getting involved and willing to bring about social change.

I feel lucky that I built an audience by word of mouth rather than corporate muscle. Running my own record label has been very challenging, but a great blessing. I experienced a lot of condescension and exclusion, but then the music industry imploded, and now people look at me with envy.

Taking three years instead of three minutes to make a record is helpful: they're much better that way.

One word: mom That's my main job now. That's the be-all-and-end-all of my big slowdown. It's the best thing that ever happened to my work: to be taken away and come back refreshed.

Ani DiFranco's new album, '¿Which Side Are You On?', is out on 16 January

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