Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Ani Difranco's song "Imperfectly" speaks true femininity by Kelly Lever

Before this blog I had only hear of Ani Difranco but never hear any of her music. After reading books like “The Dance of the dissident Daughter” By Sue Monk Kidd or “Body Outlaws: Rewriting the Rules of Beauty and Body Image” edited by Ophira Edut. Ani’s speaks with such potent words that truly spread an important message about being a woman. Ani has a poetic style while also mixing many different music genres such as folk, jazz, and rock. I have chosen Ani’s song entitled “Imperfectly” off of her album “Imperfectly” released in1992.
In the song “Imperfectly” Ani Difranco touches on issues of body image. In Ani’s opening to this song she states:
I'm okay
If you get me at a good angle
And you're okay
In the sort of light
And we don't look
Like pages from a magazine
But that's all right
That's all right
She goes on to talk about how as we age we get a little farther away what is considered “perfect”. Ani states “it is better to be dusty than polished”. A woman shouldn’t feel so attached to an ideal image of what a woman “should” look like in our society. Her lyrics in a lot of her song address different issues of women oppression in this patriarchy culture. In an interview with Kim Ruehl Ani states:
"...patriarchy is inherently imbalanced. I don’t think there’s any such thing as peace within patriarchy. I think men are great, they have all kinds of awesome ideas about the individual and individual rights and this is very useful stuff for things like Democracy. But individualism leads to hierarchy, which leads to aggression; so I think just the masculine sensibility is not enough to guide us to peace.” (Ani Difranco interview with Kim Ruehl)

Ani believes that in everything there is balance and that in this culture it is so heavily weighted to male with little to no representation of female. Her content is very feminist base. Judging from this song “Imperfectly” Ani believes women should feel love and acceptance, and not feel likethey have to measure up to anyone standards. Her music has brought me a clear image of a woman who is truly outspoken and righteous in her stance. Ani Difranco is a women who stepped outside of the mainstream ideas of what a woman should be or speak about and offers other women like myself a musical atmosphere full of feminine positivity.
I'm okay
If you get me at a good angle
And you're okayIn the sort of light
And we don't look
Like pages from a magazine
But that's all right
That's all right
I crashed your pickup truck
And then I had to drive it back home
I was crying
I was so scared
Of what you would do
Of what you would say
But you just started laughing
So I started laughing along
Saying, it looks a little rough
But it runs okay
It looks a little rough
But it runs good anyway
We get a little further from perfection
Each year on the road
I guess that's what they call character
I guess that's just the way it goes
Better to be dusty than polished
Like some store window mannequin
Why don't you touch me where I'm rusty
Let me stain your hands
When you're pretty as a picture
They pound down your door
But I've been offered love
In two dimensions before
And I know that it's not all
It's made out to be
Let's show them how it's done
Let's do it all imperfectly

Kim Ruehl’s Interview -Ani Difranco: "Feminism – Not Just For Babes Anymore’’ http://folkmusic.about.com/od/anidifranco/a/AniInterview.htm

by Kelly Lever

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Thank you for this thoughtful perspective on one of many of Ani Difranco's poignant lyrics. I have been a fan of her music for about 13 years, and she is one of the most profound poets and authentic heroes of our time. I don't say that lightly because, like most true heroes, that can often be a very lonely road. Her strength to live her life her way and not compromise her integrity and purpose to a record label's agenda shows a level of character that pushes us all to think and hopefully act.

Her poetic style stretches words far beyond the confines of everyday language and draws the listener to painful but honest places. We have all been there and she reminds us that she is "not a hero" but she sings what she can't say. She sings what other women can't say. And when her voice lifts and weaves and traverses and dives into that softness of her small frame, she carries with her every woman who has known isolation, fear, abuse, anger, rejection, shame, and failure. But she doesn't let us stay there. She points out the absurdity that we live with and reminds us that we are who we are and no less. That our value and our abilities are far greater than we have been credited or credit to ourselves. She reminds us that we don't have to sell out our authentic selves for what the culture or democracy or feminism or patriarchy have prescribed for us.
The most powerful gift that she has been able to share with the world is her joy in being who she is. May we all be that brave.