NEW YORK -- Alanis Morissette is feeling a little more appreciated as a woman these days, and her new album, "Havoc and Bright Lights," is a reflection of that.
"(There's) the whole shifting of the misogynistic, chauvinistic, patriarchal thing into what this new climate is slowly becoming, which is the celebration of the alpha-empowered woman," she said of today's culture. "There's a new climate that I'm noticing, I don't know if you are, of women just being loved and respected and honored in a way that even 10 years (ago) I didn't notice."
Her new outlook may also be due in part to her role as a mother: She and her husband, Souleye, had son, Ever, in December 2010, and the Grammy winner says that becoming a parent has been a "head and heart spinner" for her: "I always wanted it, but I didn't know the degree to which it would heal."
Morissette is a fervent defender in so-called "attachment parenting" which, among other things, advocates that children be breast-fed until they wean naturally, which may take them into the toddler years and beyond. She spoke about her stance and more in an interview with The Associated Press.
Q. You now have your own family. What has that experience meant to you?
A. I have a song (on the album) for my husband called "Til You" and it's the whole idea of how excited I am that I met someone who shares enough of the same values as me that we can do it together. I talk about my son and husband in the chorus and the verse is really about me seeing I can't take care of my son if I don't take care of myself. I could get away with not taking care of myself as a bachelorette but as a mom I can't.
Q. How did you learn that?
A. I learned it postpartum because there was no way I could do attachment parenting, breast-feeding, nurture my marriage ... have the bandwidth to keep all that going without learning how to heal my own relationship with myself.
Q. Are you surprised by the debate surrounding attachment parenting?
A. I get curious if someone's really off-put by it or horrified or judgmental. What part of it is gross? Is it you think there's some impropriety sexually? Is it you think boundaries need to be walls? What is it that you hate so much about it? And it really has been telling me in a way that is both enlightening and saddening. ... It's just shown me how traumatized America is with regards to not being open to intimacy, the horror that kind of connection, touch -- I think we're a severely under-touched society. Everyone thinks there's some kind of sexual impropriety going on when it's actually just connection and intimacy and nurturance.
Q. What do you believe your son gets out of having this kind of approach?
A. I think a common misperception about attuning and tending to a child's needs so constantly is that they don't grow in their independence, but I think that the opposite is true. The more their needs are consistently met during that first stage of development, the more interdependent and functional they are in, be it their future marriage or future friendships. They learn that connection is safe and they learn to stand on their own two feet in a way that I know all parents ultimately want for their kids. The way (of) achieving that has been a little confusing in pop psychology I think.
Q. You're on social media, but are you addicted?
A. No, but it's inspiring. The challenge for me is to have an experience that isn't filtered through the mindset of, "Should I put this on my website, should I tweet this?" Can I just have an experience that is not tweeting?
Q. Isn't it interesting to think about where social media is now and wonder what things will be like for your son say, 15 years from now?
A. Yes, the challenge will be to foster connection. ... We went to a restaurant and you sat down and the table was a laptop that you touch (the) screen and you could shop while you order your food ... I thought, "This is the end of civilization as we know it." You go to this restaurant specifically when you have a lunch with someone you don't want to talk to (laughs).
Q. What do you think when you see old videos of yourself from the "Jagged Little Pill" days?
A. I think, "She's cute -- nice hair, she looks a little greasy." (laughs). She's like a little sister almost.