I’m not sure how I stumbled over the Guilty Feminist podcast. It was a happy day circa 2016. The show was then hosted by Deborah Francis-White (who still runs it) and Sofie Hagen. A typical show would be them discussing topics like food, apologising, exercise and self worth with guests. And lots of jokes. This show became my regular dose of comfort and sanity.
‘I’m a feminist but…’ sums the show up well. It’s a section with confessions that explore feelings of guilt at not being a good feminist. Women making jokes whilst owning their opinions and also sticking two fingers up to the idea of perfection. I would often sit there listening, nodding along and feeling better. But there was a real message behind it. This show brought some of my repressed feminist views back with a bang.
I loved the accessibility of podcasts. They were free to listen to whenever I had time and I started to look forward to them as part of ‘me-time’. They didn’t require me to go anywhere or be presentable. I could listen in bed, in the bath, on the way to work, you name it. To my work-addled and socially anxious brain, there was a relief in this type of leisure.
I religiously listened to radio programs as a teenager (Late Night Love, Steve Lamacq’s Evening Session) but as an adult I struggled to find my station. I felt stuck somewhere between Radio 1 (young, increasingly too shouty) and Radio 4 (intelligent, posh, clearly for the older crowd). There was no middle ground so radio dropped off my radar. Podcasts have now filled that gap, giving me multiple versions of ‘my station’. And I keep finding new ones.
I still love the Guilty Feminist but I have added others to my playlist. I followed Sofie Hagen on to her Made of Human podcast. I particularly loved the intros Sofie did which were a stream of consciousness before the interview. Her guests often spoke about personal and traumatic subjects in a gentle and relatable way.
I moved on to Emma Gannon’s Ctrl Alt Delete and found an archive of interviews with people I find interesting including Lena Dunham and Cindy Gallop. Emma’s podcast style is really natural and the topics she covers always feel very current. It’s a reliably insightful listen.
More recently I found Elizabeth Day’s How to Fail. This podcast flips the interview format nicely because although the guests are very accomplished, the format requires them to talk about their failures. It helps to hear that even outwardly successful people didn’t get everything right and there are some great reflections of lessons learned.
It’s clear that I like one-to-one interviews on my podcasts! I even started to revisit Desert Island Discs on iPlayer recently because that’s the original of the genre. And it has music which is even better! If only more of the guests were younger…
I got so inspired by all this podcasting that I had a go at making my own. Creative Story is a short series made using an app called Anchor. It’s very easy and you only need your mobile phone. I enjoyed doing it and would love to devote more attention to it in future, if I can juggle the competing priorities.
Any podcast recommendations?