The Liz Phair Question | Year In Review | Chicago Reader

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The Liz Phair Question

Liz, why do you always seem to be taking your clothes off?

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"It's just me. What did my boyfriend say? I have "a healthy and vibrant sexuality." And it totally just comes through in my work.

"I didn't know that my image and my art were all one until I went back and thought about who I was as a person, and always I was the bedroom performer, always concerned about visual images.

"My family has films of me at the age of two...on summer vacation, taking my clothes off. We have pictures of me at five, streaking around the neighborhood with my best friend Russell in nothing but Winnie the Pooh boots. I've always, always, always just been...you know those babies that just like being naked better?

"Why do I do it in public? To me there's just a teensy possible movement going on. There's a magazine--oh, God, I forgot the name of it....In it they had a grouping of all female [recording] artists this year, done in covers where they all were shirtless. There was Janet Jackson, Polly Harvey....There was me. All these women were cropped at the bust. There's something very classical about all of them juxtaposed this way.

"But it's definitely a movement, definitely a statement. Even if we don't know we're making it, we're totally making it. It's totally part of my nature to be partly exhibitionist. I think women are starting to feel like our natures are good again. We're starting to feel like we want to join whatever rock movement will indulge our nature without immediately incorporating all the destructive forces.

"I don't want to be a goody two-shoes. I never have been. I want to be myself. The debate's back and forth about feminism and women's bodies and how they are portrayed. At some level, it must come down to your own living room. Like, do you feel ashamed of yourself? Are you ashamed of what you like and what you do?

"I write sexual lyrics because I have sexual thoughts. I guess with me there's a movement afoot for people to loosen up without shaking apart. I could be dead wrong. We could be about to enter the 50s in the 90s."

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Yael Routtenberg.

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