Maranda Pleasant: What are some of the things that make you feel vulnerable?

Ani DiFranco: Oh, wow. Everything. Waking up in the morning and interacting with people. I am a thinned-skinned type. I am very sensitive, very emotional. Vulnerability is kind of always a part of my day. It’s trying to find that balance. I’m easy to cry. I’m out there. It’s kind of a hard way to be, as all of us sensitive creatures know. I can’t even remember how your question started, but vulnerability is something that I negotiate every day.

MP: What is love to you?

AD: I think I have explored and experienced many different types of love in my forty-three years. About ten years ago, I met somebody who gives me unconditional love, and I have been hanging on to him ever since. It’s hard to define it. When we first started hanging out, I was always on the road. He would just hang out in the dressing room during the shows, and he wouldn’t even watch the shows. I was, like, “Do you think I suck? Are you even interested?” Then it sort of dawned on me that he was just there for me. His frequency and my frequency resonate. His inner person loves my inner person no matter what we do, and I have tested it plenty of times. F——g up and saying stupid stuff, and there it is still—his unconditional love. It’s something that I am capable of and I think everybody is capable of. He has been my great teacher. Ever since I met him, it’s my idea of love. Now we have two great kids and we get to pass it on.

MP: What are causes that you are passionate about right now?

AD: So many things. There are so many things that we have to be very concerned about. But I always come back to feminism. People look at me sideways now and are, like, “With everything going on, the destruction of the environment, these endless wars, this capitalism that has a stranglehold on our culture and our world, and you’re talking about feminism still?” At this point in my life, my feminism has evolved way beyond self-empowerment, and I see feminism as a path to peace on earth.

The fundamental imbalance that is behind all of the other social diseases is patriarchy. I do believe. As men and women, together, I really long to feel my society evolve its understanding since we’re one of the leaders in the F-word. I want us to grow our idea of feminism collectively and get both men and women involved in undoing patriarchy. It’s huge. It’s a huge job. It’s the ground that we walk on, it’s where we sit, it’s the language that we use. It’s a difficult undertaking, but without healing that and creating more of a balance between the sexes, we will never have balance globally.

I feel like I am going deeper and deeper into this place where I came from that I barely understood. My mother was a feminist, and she gave me some tools of self-possession and self-empowerment, but now that I have lived here for forty-three years, it’s, like, whoa, there is just so much more to do, other than become myself. I’m still talking about it. I still drop the P-word, “patriarchy,” on unsuspecting people in everyday conversations.

MP: Will you please keep doing that?

AD: Oh, I will keep doing that at least and hope for the best.


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