Janis Joplin: “Women is losers”


Big_Brother_&_the_Holding_Company_debut    bigbroholding

One of my favorite albums has to be Big Brother and the Holding Company from 1967. It was Janis Joplin’s studio debut and has gained a special place in rock n’ roll history and in my heart. Joplin’s voice gives me chills! Well, not only her voice, her life and her clothes and her story also have that effect on me.I admire the impact she has had in many women’s lives. One song in particular has always caught my attention: “Women is Losers”. Every time I hear this song I can’t help but wonder what personal story she might have used as inspiration for it. Some feminist theorists have looked at these lyrics and her life and have either praised or criticized her for what she represented to the feminist movement of the 60’s and beyond. She had a brief and troubled life full of addiction and excesses, which is often used to diminish her contributions, but in her disregard for the proper, her sexual liberation and artistic creation, this amazing woman has set a precedent for being a badass.  No matter how you look at her personal contributions to feminism, the rasp of her voice and the depth of this tune serve as constant reminders of what women have had to endure and continue to fight for to this day. It has not been documented whether Janis was active in the feminist movement of her time, but we can see with these lyrics that at least she understood what it was like to be a female in a male dominated culture. I have found that feminism has become a dirty word for modern women everywhere, even those who may be considered feminists in their core beliefs and values are often afraid to be labeled as feminists (I am trying to eloquently share my position on this and will get back to you soon), but whatever we call this task of raising awareness and empowering women to be free and do what they will, Janis is a great example of how transcendent passion and soul can be regardless of your gender.

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