I’m a feminist, but — when TwoEsforMee recommended The Guilty Feminist podcast in April, and then again in July, it wasn’t until she bugged me a third time two weeks later that I actually listened to an episode.
We are inundated with media recommendations. Friends share things on social media. Family members gush about their latest podcast find. Everything we read and listen to comes with promos for more things to read and listen to. How many times have I heard those lame promos for podcasts where Two Funny Ladies Talk About Lady Stuff!?
Okay, so perhaps I shouldn’t be so embarrassed about blowing off TwoEsforMee’s recommendation. All that matters is that after listening to one episode of The Guilty Feminist, I binge-listened to all the available episodes without taking a break.
Why should you listen too? Why isn’t this just another version of Two Funny Ladies Talking About Lady Stuff!? Let me persuade you.
They have a mission
Podcasts often have goals or themes, but The Guilty Feminist and its creators — comedians Sofie Hagen and Deborah Frances-White — have a mission. They want to crush the patriarchy. Yes, we’re all here to laugh and have a good time, but we’re also fed up with patriarchy and are ready to do something about it. You won’t find a declaration of war on the website, but the creators’ fundamental desire for change gives their material focus and a compelling sense of purpose.
Everything I said about crushing the patriarchy is true, but the casual listener might not notice right away. Both Sofie Hagen and Deborah Frances-White are professional comedians who are good at their jobs. They approach patriarchy-crushing with smart, knowing humor without descending into the goofiness that often comes with Two Funny Ladies Talking About Lady Stuff! They’re mad as hell but recognize that real-world patriarchy-crushing gets messy and absurd. We have to laugh sometimes and this laughter provides an entry point for many people who don’t realize we’re laughing to avoid crying.
They have a winning formula
Unstructured conversations can be great for exploration and unwinding but they aren’t the most effective tool for crushing the patriarchy. The Guilty Feminist stays effective using a 5-segment episode format that leaves the listener entertained, challenged, moved, educated, and inspired.
Segment 1: The co-hosts open their live-shows with several “I’m a feminist, but” confessions. The opening lines of this blog post demonstrate the approach. Another personal example might be: I’m a feminist, but — when I go for runs, I always pick up the pace to impress men mowing their lawns. These amusing little confessions establish a safe space for listeners while also demonstrating patriarchy’s insidiousness.
Segment 2: Next, the co-hosts each perform a brief stand-up set on the week’s theme. In the Shoes episode for example (episode 20), Deborah Frances-White delivers a cunning take down of our society’s assumption that half the population should conduct their lives on stilts. The ladies are in their element during these segments and offer incisive social commentary alongside the laughs.
Segment 3: Between the show’s bi-weekly live taping events, the hosts each attempt a personal challenge related to the episode’s theme. In the Boobs episode for example (episode 13), Sofie Hagen went grocery shopping without a bra and Deborah Frances-White walked around for a day wearing 6 padded bras to exaggerate her busty-ness. Other challenges have ranged from taking on online trolls to making unapologetic phone calls asking to form creative partnerships. Back at the show, the ladies recap their successes, failures, insights, and lessons for the future. These discussions provide a very personal and practical view on feminism and offer inspiration for others looking to explore feminism or promote it in their own lives.
Segment 4: Following the challenge discussions, the hosts bring on a special quest to provide additional perspective on the day’s topic. My favorites include: Episode 19’s (Internet) moving discussion with Emma Holton, an online human rights activist, victim of non-consensual pornography, and leader of the Consent project; Episode 6’s (Exercise) inspiring discussion with Jessamyn Stanley, a plus-size yoga instructor and body positive activist; and Episode 12’s (Worth) shocking discussion with comedian Sarah Millican regarding a horrifyingly sexist TV review that tied her value as a person to her appearance, relationship status, and family status.
Segment 5: Finally, the hosts usually close the show with a few audience questions. These audience interactions add extra voices to the mix and often provide new connections to daily realities and sources of inspiration.
They get you engaged with your personal feminism
While I would surely enjoy a podcast that discussed the nuances of feminist theory, The Guilty Feminist’s innovation is to recognize the practical difficulties that come with feminist principles and to provide a comfortable space to discuss these difficulties and find renewed inspiration. With the podcast’s personal confessions, social commentary, feminist challenges, guest perspectives, and community engagement, its difficult not to find new perspectives or little projects to try. Whether you pursue a goal unapologetically, start to appreciate your body in new way, or simply start recognizing all those “I’m a feminist, but” moments, you will leave the podcast a more active, engaged, and entertained feminist.
Join the guilty but active revolution today!