Janis Joplin Opened Doors as a Feminist Icon

The Opus concludes its dissection of Pearl by revisiting the Women's Liberation movement.

The Opus - Janis Joplin
The Opus – Janis Joplin

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    Consequence of Sound and Sony present The Opus, an exploration of legendary albums and their ongoing legacy. For Season 12, host Jill Hopkins (The Moth Chicago, Making Beyoncé podcast) will explore Janis Joplin’s posthumous final album Pearl.

    The movement was called “Women’s Liberation”, and it pushed the needle of social change more rapidly than mainstream America was ready for in the late ’60s and early ’70s. The shift was palpable: The need for empowering feminist heroines prompted many Americans to look towards artists, athletes, and entertainers when politics came up short.


    Janis Joplin was one such name. With a life lived aggressively free of the trappings of stereotypical feminine expectations, the late musician was as much of a revolutionary as Abbie Hoffman or her beloved Odetta. Today, Joplin’s sexuality and her unwillingness to hide it serves as a reminder by third-wave feminists of how far we’ve come in America.

    In the fourth and final episode on Pearl, host Jill Hopkins speaks of the shine and the struggle inherently involved in a feminist uprising, the songs that told Joplin’s stories of love, sex, freedom, and pain, and the singer’s place within the revolution. Special guests include Joplin’s biographer Holly George-Warren (Janis: Her Life and Music), legendary rock writer Steve Huey (Yacht Rock), and Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Grace Potter.

    Stream above to find out.


    Original music by Tony Piazza.

    If you missed past seasons of the series, you can find a full archive of The Opus here.

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