Tori’s quotes on American Doll Posse

Friday 26 August 2011, by Cécile Desbrun

It was her shock at Bush winning a second term after the presidential elections of November 2004, she says, that made her step back and reconsider her position as a songwriter.

“I couldn’t believe it, and I began to think, ‘Where were the women in all of this?’ As a mother you’re always wary of external intruders, but what about internal threats and not seeing that certain rights have been eroded? Look at how the Christian Right reacted to Janet Jackson exposing her breast at the Super Bowl – it was as though she’d started a nuclear war. A certain morality gets imposed and women are divided among themselves. I thought, ‘How do I get to these women, and what would the Christian Right abhor most?’ The answer was to bring on the mother gods, who are not subservient to patriarchal authority in any way.” (The Independent, May 14, 2007)

“My American Doll Posse characters all started with my reaction to the last election. I didn’t understand where the women were. Because if the women were active and aware, they would have seen this particular administration is not supportive of the ideology of women. On whatever side you stand, you have to be honest and care about the generations of women past, present and future. It bothered me that so many questions weren’t being answered by the masses, so I started to think maybe women are being distracted. Maybe we are stepping into these definitions and stereotypes of ourselves that have been set up, but set up by whom? We don’t know! So, I started to analyze clichés of women. I decided to broaden the stereotypes and went pre-Christian. I thought, Let’s find women with complexity. I looked to the Greek pantheon where women were their own authority. This is what really drove me.” (Instinct, January 2008)

“I wrote this in America — I had to. I have a little beach house in Florida, and I’m there more than people realize. But I keep a low profile. I don’t show up anywhere, because I don’t want to be observed. I’m the observer, you see. And how can you be collecting your information and studying your subject if the camera’s turned on you all the time? That would blow your cover.”

Q: What were you watching for?

“To see how American women were interpreting what is happening to our country, how we’re perceived in the rest of the world. And I was fascinated by what I found. Some didn’t really see how it affected their day hour by hour; some did. But the one thing that I felt I had to do was ask myself why so few are doing so little. That’s what propelled me.” (American Way, July 2007)

“I started developing the album when I was on the road with The Beekeeper. I started developing it internally. It’s based on the Greek pantheon. It was an ah-ha! moment after 15 years, and it came about because I read a lot of books about ancient male and ancient female archetypes. These days we look to the red carpet for our archetypes, but Anna Nicole Smith was a damaged Aphrodite. When you really look at it, you begin to see how really complicated things are. You don’t want your Queen of the Underworld hiding drugs in her glove compartment.” (San Antonio Express-News, November 21, 2007)

“The first song I wrote for the album did not make the album. But that’s okay. If she hadn’t kicked the doors down for the others then the project might not have been what it is. She was very important and the other girls have a lot of time for her. Maybe she’ll show her face.” (WE TV, April 2007)

“It’s about David Bowie and Freddie Mercury and Robert Plant and Jim Morrison. They were great conjurers and they were tapping as much into the feminine character traits as the male ones.” (The Sunday Times – Australia, June 7, 2007)

“The main message of my new album is: the political is personal. This as opposed to the feminist statement from years ago that the personal is political. I know it has been said that it goes both ways, but we have to turn it around. We have to think like that. I’m now taking on subjects that I could not have been able to take on in my twenties. With Little Earthquakes I took on more personal things. But if you are going to be an American woman in 2007 with a real view on what is going on, you need to be brave, and you need to know that some people won’t want to look at it. There’s so much that’s not expressed in a country that should be the land of the free, and at the same time there’s so much concern, it’s beyond concern. For me the new album is about representing the American women that I see and meet, but that right now is not the world’s view of American women. And there are those in the American media and right wing that try to shame these women for speaking out. And you know, I’m a minister’s daughter, so if you try to shame me, my mojo grows!”” (, February 2007)

“In the past it often were the fool and the court jester in the room who had the most political power. They were the effective ones… and this is all about being effective. I’m not interested in the old farts that Neil Young probably reached with his album [Living With War]. I’m after their teenage daughters. This is about rousing 18-year olds to wake up and make choices. I want them to realise what their future will be in 20 years time, unless they start voting for whom they truly want in power.” (, February 2007)

“Frankly, as a woman, and as a woman who wrote ‘Silent All These Years’, I needed to stand up. It seemed to me that, sometimes, the material wanted to be overtly political. Sometimes the material wanted to be cheeky and seductive. Sometimes it wanted to be heartbreaking and deal with the inner world of women. The way to really combat the right wing is to not be subservient to them on any level, particularly when it comes to ideology. Therefore, you better offer up another ideology that can combat theirs, and as a preacher’s daughter, I understand their ideology inside and out. Frankly, they’ve all hijacked Jesus and his message. I’m sorry, but ‘Love thy neighbor as yourself’ is nowhere to be found, especially in our current regime, who, in the name of God, is sending our young men and women to die over there [in the Middle East].” (, April 5, 2007)

“I hope people who listen to the album will understand my conclusions. However, I am not trying to convince anyone. I simply try to facilitate a reaction. Also because the younger generation is too self-focused to take notice of the world that surrounds them. Take a girl today: she’s too preoccupied with trying to get a physically acceptable body to get politically involved. I try to talk to them, to get inside their problems, with songs like ‘Fat Slut,’ in order to understand them and then hopefully get them out of that rut.” (, April 12, 2007)

“This record is rebelling against the two extremes of how the world currently views American women. From female vulgarity – the types who flash their panties and release sex tapes – to women who take on male personas to compete in business and politics. These are the type of women the world sees as the American female. The record is an opportunity to reclaim the segmented pieces of the female psyche that were cut up within them centuries ago, and reunite them.” (Mojo Magazine, April 2007)

” [On] most of the records, there’s usually a center focus. But this was not that, and therefore, because there were so many varied styles coming in, I brought the band in early, knowing that we had to develop them from the ground up, and that some of these songs were much more guitar-biased than they were singer/songwriter-biased. I guess it was the producer in me that had to say, ‘OK, the singer/songwriter’s going to have to take a back seat some of the time here,’ and I was really fine with that. After so many records, it’s good to change it up.” (, April 5, 2007)

„The idea of the Posse is that you have women who are focused on very different forms of expression, and all of these are facets of my being. If you’d asked me about this years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to explore it in this manner. I didn’t see that possibility. But now I’m of the mind that there are a lot of repressed sides to us. We all make choices, we all have an image that we project—but it’s not the only one.” (ARTISTdirect, May 10, 2007)

“There is a little dark comedy happening with that. Of course, my daughter is completely into (the American Girls dolls), because she’s 7. So there is a bit of humor in there.” (Palm Beach Post, November 19, 2007)