Olivia Rodrigo attends the 2023 Video Music Awards at Prudential Center on September 12, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey.

In Olivia Rodrigo’s recently released sophomore album Guts, the opening track is “All-American Bitch,” a satire of the expectations and double standards expected of being a woman in American society. The 20-year-old sings towards the end of the track: “I’m grateful all the time, I’m sexy and I’m kind. I’m pretty when I cry.” The song’s title was inspired by Joan Didion’s Slouching Towards Bethlehem. In a conversation with Phoebe Bridgers for Interview magazine earlier this month, Rodrigo revealed that she was inspired by Didion’s experiences in San Francisco in the ’60s. “She was talking to some hippie who ran away from home, and he called his mom an all-American bitch. And I was like, ‘That’s the f—ing coolest phrase I’ve ever heard,’ so I had to write a song about it.”

What Is An “All-American Bitch?”

In a new interview with People Wednesday (September 13), Rodrigo further explores these feelings through her music. “I think there are so many expectations placed on women — you’re always supposed to be grateful and calm and gracious and poised,” she tells the publication. “Growing up, I really struggled with the conflict of having all these feelings that I felt like I couldn’t externalize and this expectation that I wanted to be this good girl.” The singer-songwriter says a day after reading the Didion essay, she sat down at the piano and wrote it. “You never know the trajectory a song is going to take.”

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However, Rodrigo admitted that writing a follow-up to her hugely successful, Grammy-winning Sour was challenging. There was pressure to top her debut. Despite that, the High School Musical alum came to terms with not trying to write another hit. “I think that I truly can’t write a song and pander,” she said. “Good songs don’t come out of me writing to please other people. All my best songs come from me just wanting to express something for myself and wanting to process a feeling just for me.” The “vampire” singer says at the song’s inception, “It’s just very insular. I can’t think about the other stuff.”

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