The explosion of podcasts as a popular medium has definitely been good news for women who want to get their voices, and their opinions, out into the world — and the results can make for some very feminist, very funny listening. Every podcast lover with a feminist bent should have a few options on standby to keep her going, whether on her commute, while doing boring tasks, or just when she needs insight and a giggle. And luckily for you, we've collected 7 of them. Think of it as overhearing the most fascinating, frank and sometimes filthy conversations ever.
We're assuming here that you already have the most famous female-run podcasts, like the massively successful "2 Dope Queens", on standby, and are out looking for more. The good news is there's something out there for all your interests as an equality-loving person, from discussions of nerd culture to in-depth arguments about precisely why Andre 3000's accent is so sexy. (Yes, great sex is feminist, and if you doubt that point, you need to listen to a few of these broadcasts.) Made by women around the world and available for free, these seven options are just the thing to spice up your daily listening, spread among your friends, and spark conversation and debate.
1. Ladies, We Need To Talk
This one comes from Australia, and is run by Yumi Stynes, a radio and TV host who's been in Australian media for several decades. She and her friends, with a few experts thrown in, broach what are still, even among hyper-liberal people, "taboo" topics about female experience: menstrual products, vulvas, masturbation, and emotional labor have featured in the past. It's also hilarious, and will teach you some obscure Australian slang: "vampire mice" for tampons may change the way you talk about your period forever.
2. Guilty Feminist
What does it even mean to be a feminist? Are you allowed to shave your legs?! Luckily for us, Guilty Feminist, run by comedian Deborah Frances-White, is here to sort it out for us. She and her guests in the United Kingdom often record live in front of studio audiences, and talk hilariously about their struggles with living in a hugely unequal world ("I'm a feminist, but my toddler son calls Weetabix Pick-a-bitch, and I've done nothing to correct him, as I think it's better than the original name"). Do not listen while you're trying to do anything serious, as you'll be cracking up the entire time.
Basically, this is the place to go to hear eloquent people nerding out about passions, and the hosts, Tricia Bobeda and Greta Johnsen, invite some amazing guests to explain why they're a nerd about something — particularly highly qualified, super-cool women, from astronauts to poet laureates. Their latest podcast is an interview with Margaret Atwood about Harvey Weinstein and "difficult" women, to give you a flavor of the caliber of people they attract. Bobeda and Johnsen embrace the idea of unembarrassed devotion to any pursuit, from astrophysics to directing films, and encourage women in particular to take their passions seriously.
4. Guys We F*cked
This is the "anti-slut shaming podcast," perfect for women who love sex, want to talk about it, and are extremely annoyed by people who think that's not actually feminist. The two New York-based comedians, Corinne Fisher and Krystyna Hutchinson, talk about everything from censorship and pornography to hilarious sexual experiences, and feature interviews with sex-positive activists. They've got a book, over a million listeners and some amazing NSFW stories. This is NOT the podcast to send to your grandmother, unless she did a lot of partying in the '60s, but it's one hell of a palate cleanser for dry, stuffy podcasts.
5. She Who Persisted
If you want frank feminist discussions about sexism in academia, queerness asexuality, the bonkers history of witches and a whole lot of nastiness (in the "nasty woman" sense of the 2016 election), this biweekly podcast is for you. She Who Persisted is run by four women, Beatrice, Elizabeth, Bethany and Heather, who gallivant through feminist discussions on serious topics, invite experts on everything from postpartum depression to Biblical sexuality to give their takes, and manage to make tricky and complicated material both digestible and funny. Some of the early episodes require payment, but the vast majority of the 21 episodes are free.
Produced by Rewire, this is a "storytelling" podcast that invites women to discuss the crucial importance of reproductive choice and healthcare on their lives. It provides platforms to everybody from abortion care providers and midwives to women whose pregnancies have been directly affected by reproductive law in the U.S., and it's more pertinent to hear their words than ever. It's also deeply intersectional and doesn't shy away from really tough conversations. A valuable listen that will give you a lot to think about.
7. What Would A Feminist Do?
You may have heard of Jessica Valenti, who founded Feministing.com and published numerous books including 2016's Sex Object. This is her podcast series for The Guardian, covering intersectional feminist issues worlwide and inviting a huge array of interesting, powerfully passionate women to talk about how they're changing the world. It hasn't been updated since March, but the back catalogues are free and fascinating listening, discussing everything from princesses and pink to sexual violence.
2017 has been, in many ways, kind of a sh*tshow, but between #MeToo, the success of women across the American legislature, Wonder Woman and a host of other important touchstones for gender equality, it's never been a more remarkable time to be a feminist and listen in to what's happening worldwide. Get tuned in.