Mary Harron

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Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 129

[Joan Armatrading] is sexually ambiguous, and that is what all independent women are nowadays, whether they are heterosexual or not.

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The ambiguity comes from the conflict between independence and need. In "Down To Zero" we see her needing side…. In "Steppin' Out", we see the side that is masculine, freedom-seeking, even ruthless.

The problem of wanting to express passion while maintaining your self-respect is one that really speaks to women. Unfortunately, this same tension undermines her performances. She is intelligent, worried; almost too controlled to be exciting. Only on one album—"Joan Armatrading", released in 1976—did she seem to take hold and deliver. She triumphed in "Love And Affection", where male and female merged completely.

Mary Harron, "Albums: 'Steppin' Out'," in Melody Maker (© IPC Business Press Ltd.), September 15, 1979, p. 28.

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