Forgiven: Alanis' Uninvited Sexuality

By Anna Brandt
contributing editor Alana Kelleher

Since her United States debut in 1995, Alanis Morissette has led us down her very own road of spiritual, psychological, and sexual development. You Oughta Know first hooked us with its aggressively blunt and openly wounded lyrics, and Alanis then spread herself for the public: spiritually naked as the day she was born. Alanis' greatest attraction was her complete honesty. Millions upon millions of teenaged girls (and those who wished they were teenaged girls) bum rushed music stores so that they could vicariously release their angst through her.

Alanis' greatest secret was that everyone who bought her album had fallen under her spell: we were all completely head over feet for her. The girls, the boys, the middle aged men; we had all been sucked in by her prowess. She invited us to feel so with her lyrics, her beauty, her recklessness. She wasn't just a definitive moment in musical history, she opened the door for all the chicks with guitars just as Madonna opened the door for the pop divas. She indeed has prowess.

Her history is filled with calculated moves: as a pop diva in Canada, she was destined to be a sex symbol. Her first U.S. release included open usage of the word "fuck"... on top 40 radio. In the public eye, as the first lady of angst rock meets pop alternative, she was bound to be overexposed. And let's face it, anyone in the public eye (with possibly the exception of Prezzy Clinton) is a sex object (and even he.....) Her understated sexuality was plastered all over magazines and newspapers and television and MTV. In none of these pictures did Alanis look flawless or drop-dead-gorgeous. This was her beauty. We could all identify with the woman who was imperfectly perfect. Her imperfections were everything we wished of our own imperfections... and more. They were her claim to fame, and they were how she sucked us in.

Enough about me, let's talk about you for a minute. While the general populus was busy falling in love with Alanis, Alanis was busy falling in love with herself. Or so it seemed. Alanis was struggling with her own sexuality. She closed herself off to her fans as soon as she realized that she was becoming an object. Perhaps this was the safe way out, but because she did not completely close herself off (the tease of her naked in the bathtub in the video for You Learn, Live), she was completely unsuccessful in this venture and did not prevent millions of people from falling for her.

We, the millions, then struggled through Alanis' sexuality with Alanis. And it seems as though we have reached the proverbial end of the road; Alanis' new song, Uninvited, is full to the brim with questions of sexuality. We have reached a plateau. Alanis has seemingly decided she is bisexual. And, speaking for the millions of teenaged girls, that's just fine with us.

Click here for the lyrics. Stop and think.
For an interpretation of the lyrics click here.

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