Alanis Morissette was born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Morissette was brought up Catholic.1 She has since said that her upbringing was in a “a chauvinistic, patriarchal environment”2 and that the Bible is “patriarchal and sexist.”3 Then, commenting on meeting the pope, she called herself a “post-Catholic.”4

Clearly, she’s outwardly critical of Christianity, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a sense of humor about the whole Catholic thing. She was cast as the role of God in the film, Dogma, a funny, satirical jab at Catholic mythology and tradition.5

Now, she’s a Buddhist6 who has traveled extensively through India, played benefit concerts for the Dalai Lama and included a song about the 8-Fold Path on her second album.7 But, she says her spirituality is both beyond and within religion:

The spirituality that I experience sometimes touches on religion, in that I resonate with the thread of continuity that permeates through all religions. But in terms of it being a concretized, organized part of my life, it’s not. It’s kind of outside of and within religion, my sense of spirit.8

Angry girl politics

Morissette is often associated with angry feminists. Much of this is probably due to her first album, Jagged Little Pill, and more specifically the song, “You Oughtta Know,” which angrily decries men who mistreat women.9 Furthermore, she said:

Women are so powerful they’re scary, and the incentive to squash this has been going on for so long that some of us actually believe we’re subordinate.10

Having only become a U.S. citizen in 2005,11 you’d think Morissette’s involvement in U.S. politics would be minimal–but as early as 2001, she was contributing to U.S. politicians’ campaign funds. And the politicians she supports? Democrats.12

She’s no moderate either, leaning a bit left on issues like the environment13 and gay rights.14 Plus, she was highly critical of the Bush administration–particularly the Iraq War.15

Despite her being an obviously socially-aware and interested person, though, I still don’t think she knows what “ironic” means.

  1. Alanis Morissette On Anger, Fame and Motherhood. WAMC. []
  2. Alanis Morissette on fame and feminism. The Guardian. []
  3. Alanis Morissette – Biography. IMDb. []
  4. Alanis Morissette got called names by Catholic clergy. Cele Bitchy. []
  5. Dogma (1999) – Full Cast and Crew. IMDb. []
  6. Alanis Morissette. NNDB. []
  7. Be Pure and Tell the Truth: Our 5 Favorite Musical Buddhists. Houston Press. []
  8. The Hot Seat: Singer-Songwriter Alanis Morissette. Timeout. []
  9. Alanis Morissette Lyrics – You Oughta Know. AZ Lyrics. []
  10. Alanis Morissette on fame and feminism. The Guardian. []
  11. Alanis Morissette becomes U.S. Citizen. Today. []
  12. Alanis Morissette’s Federal Campaign Contribution Search Results. Newsmeat. []
  13. Alanis Morissette on activism and the environment. Europarl. []
  14. Alanis Pays Tribute To Gay Fans On Reworked Ironic. Contact Music. []
  15. Alanis Morissette – Biography. IMDb. []