Podcast highlights: Unladylike

I listen to a lot of podcasts. In this series of highlights, I recommend a few of my favourites to subscribe to now, plus a couple from the archives. Get listenin’!

My favourite podcasters are back with the launch of their new show, Unladylike.

 (c) Unladylike, 2018
(c) Unladylike, 2018

Cristen Conger and Caroline Ervin have been huge influences in my life. Their previous podcast, Stuff Mom Never Told You, did so much work on deconstructing the history of women’s oppression and was always so thoroughly researched and refreshingly honest. Their thoughtful critique and recognition of their own positionality as cis, white women when talking about every topic confronted things in myself I hadn’t considered in depth before. At 21, they pushed me to confront the aspects of my feminism which were problematic – white, ‘feminism is about choice’ kind of talk that is ignorant to the multitude of experiences that feminism must stand for. They pushed me to consider other women’s experience and constantly forced me to do better, to act better, and to never claim ignorance or naivety as an excuse. And they made me angry with what they taught me. I urge you to listen to the cliteracy episode of SMNTY. I remember being so frustrated that I had never been taught my own anatomy properly because nobody (see: men in charge of grants) had ever thought it was important enough to research thoroughly.

For Unladylike, which is part of their multi-platform media launch, the format has changed a little. What stands out is the work that must have gone into seeking out other women’s experiences and voices to include on the show. This doesn’t necessarily mean every woman’s experience is represented, but that’s not the point. The point is letting these women speak their own truth into microphones. Their debut topic is abortion, specifically the question of how to pay for one in the USA and Mexico. The stories that the three women share are so varied as to highlight the differences between people facing this situation, and it takes these experiences beyond the realm of anecdote or statistics. You hear their stories and their feelings on the experience, from joy to frustration-at-the-medical-bill to real trauma. The interviews are conducted with honesty, sensitivity, and frankness about the economics of what is so often discussed as a moral, emotional ‘choice’.

I would have been so happy with more C&C in the same model, going through important topics and deconstructing them… but the ambition of Unladylike is greater than that. What remains the same is their strong commitment to research and candid approach to what might seem like difficult topics. This combination makes Unladylike not just the return of Cristen and Caroline to the podcasting game, but a stronger and multifaceted show that is part of something bigger. Their web presence is a gift to your social media feed or inbox – they have a Tinyletter that rounds up that week’s good things for women and takedowns of current events. With Unladylike, Cristen and Caroline are carving out space for women’s voices to be heard (literally), always alongside their unique excavation of the entangled, muddy histories of these topics. Navigating the claptrap and tracing these histories serves to inform action and conversation today.

New episodes drop every Tuesday. I can’t wait for the next one. Listen to the first episode here.

For past episodes of Stuff Mom Never Told You (the new hosts are brilliant and have great episodes too if you want to check them out), I can’t recommend enough: cliteracy, crazy women, empowertising, feminist transphobia, and the cult of new domesticity.

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