N eed some entertainment for your commute? Want to switch up your music routine? Try one of these 10 podcasts that keep it real, raw and entertaining.
Ctrl Alt Delete
What it is: Hosted by the former social media editor of British Glamor Emma Gannon, this podcast mainly covers our relationship with the internet, but also covers topics like social media, feminism, creativity, health, career and everything in between. By interviewing new guests every episode, Gannon’s breadth of conversation topic is vast and always relevant.
Why You Should Listen: Our relationship with the internet is constantly changing and evolving. As we spend more and more time online, it is important to step back and discuss (or listen to discussions) about how it affects us and our mental health. Ctrl Alt Delete is also great because of the different and inspiring guests that provide varied perspectives every episode, and Gannon draws on her own experiences to discuss the online world.
Best Episode to Start With: #107: Lucy Sheridan: How To Stop Comparing And Despairing Online.
What it is: A podcast about coming of age. While Megan Tan is no longer making episodes of Millennial, it is still a wild, real-time story about growing up. Tan began making the podcast after she graduated college, and she covers topics like money, starting a creative business, pursuing a career and just general life change.
Why You Should Listen: Each episode is a wonderful story that pulls on your heart strings and urges you to keep listening. If you are a college student or an emerging young professional, this is the podcast for you.
Best Episode to Start With: #1, Welcome to Millennial. As Tan says in the beginning of every episode, you should start at the very beginning. It truly is a story, and you don’t want to skip over a chapter.
What it is: A scripted serial by NYT best-selling
author Allison Raskin. This is the first-ever comedic soap opera podcast, loosely based on the real town that Raskin grew up in. While it is a scripted podcast, Raskin keeps it real with humor and characters that resemble people we all love to hate.
Why You Should Listen: This story is so well produced that it sucks you right into the story. If you need to get away from your own life, you can escape to Golden Acres and soak up all of their drama instead of your own.
Best Episode to Start With: 1. Poly Employers.
Anna Faris Is Unqualified
What it is: Anna Faris delivers a laugh-out-loud advice podcast covering the many topics she doesn’t know much about. Faris interviews different celebrities and takes calls from listeners.
Why You Should Listen: Listening to this podcast is like listening to advice and lessons from an older sister or best friend. Sometimes we dole out advice we are unqualified to, sometimes it flops and sometimes we come across sound realizations. Plus, Faris is hilarious.
Best Episode to Start With: ep 132: Kelly Ripa
Terrible, Thanks For Asking
What it is: Nora McInerny faced multiple devastating personal losses within a very short time period. In this podcast, she speaks with others who are also struggling with grief.
Why You Should Listen: McInerny allows her guests to answer the question “how are you?” with how they are truly feeling. In this podcast, expect honest, emotional conversations every episode. Listen to this if you need some sort of catharsis, or are struggling with sadness of your own.
Best Episode to Start With: 33: Witness.
Where Should We Begin With Esther Perel
What it is: Esther Perel is a relationship therapist that brings 10 anonymous couples in search of insight before her audience. Each relationship has its own real issues for us to learn from, and feel empowered within our own relationships.
Why You Should Listen: By documenting the real problems within these relationships, Perel is the definition of keeping it real and raw. There are tears, harsh words and revelations to be uncovered in this podcast.
Best Episode to Start With: There’s You There’s Me and There’s Us.
2 Dope Queens
What it is: Hosts Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams bring three guest comedians to every
episode and hold discussions on race, gender and social issues in addition to romance, hair journeys and living in New York. Robinson and Williams bring humor to the serious nature of these topics.
Why You Should Listen: Robinson and Williams make a point for highlighting women, people of color and LGBT comedians.
Best Episode to Start With: #37 Sitting Too Close To Queen Latifah.
Thirst Aid Kit
What it is: A love and sex podcast hosted by Bim Adewunmi and Nichole Perkins that unabashedly describes their celebrity crushes, thirsts and desires. It is funny, honest, relatable and allows the fangirl in us all to shine.
Why You Should Listen: These women are battling society’s expectation for women to stay shy about their sexual desires. Oftentimes, the shy, meek woman holding onto a crush is what is society expects. Adewunmi and Perkins throw these expectations out the window and unapologetically discuss their thirsts. Plus, we all need to talk about how hot Chris Evans is sometimes.
Best Episode to Start With: Chris Evans (feat. Chris Evans).
By The Book
What it is: Hosts Jolenta Greenberg and Kristen Meinzer agree to live their lives according to the rules of self-help books for two weeks. Sometimes, the results are hilarious. Occasionally, they run into life-changing advice and steps. It’s where you should go if you’re skeptical about a self-help book - or want to explore its effects.
Why You Should Listen: Greenberg and Meinzer are likeable hosts, who explain the books they are living by methodically – so you are sure to know how they’re about to change their lives and why. By the Book also naturally brings societal commentary about what it means to better oneself, and what you can do to get there.
Best Episode to Start With: The Five Love Languages or You Are a Badass.
What it is: This podcast breaks down the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types. You will learn about your own mind, skill, talents and how to create the best version of you.
Why You Should Listen: If you’re obsessed with learning about yourself and others, had all your friends fill out the Myers-Briggs test or just want to improve yourself – listen to this. Hosts Joel and Antonia discuss you, you and your relationships and career path, as if they know you intimately.
Best Episode to Start With: The one dedicated to YOUR personality type. They will dissect your innermost feelings.
It's the question on everyone's tongues. It's what motivates every conversation about whether or not Liz Warren is "electable," every bit of hand-wringing that a woman just "can't win this year," and every joke about menstrual cycles and nuclear missiles. Is America ready for a woman president?
It's a question that would be laughable if it wasn't indicative of deeper problems and wielded like a weapon against our ambitions. Whether thinly-veiled misogyny or not (I'm not going to issue a blanket condemnation of everybody who's ever asked), it certainly has the same effect: to tell us "someday, but not yet." It's cold comfort when "someday" never seems to come.
What are the arguments? That a woman can't win? That the country would reject her authority? That the troops would refuse to take her orders? That congress would neuter the office? Just the other day, The New York Times ran yet another in a long series of op-eds from every major newspaper in America addressing this question. However, this one made a fascinating point, referencing yet another article on the topic in The Atlantic (examining the question during Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential bid), which cited a study by two Yale researchers who found that people were either the same or more likely to vote for a fictional male senator when told that he was ambitious; and yet, both men and women alike were less likely to vote for a woman when told that she was ambitious, even reacting with "feelings of moral outrage" including "contempt, anger, and disgust."
The question isn't whether a woman could be president, or whether a woman can be elected president – let's not forget that Hillary Clinton won three million more votes than the wildly unqualified man currently sitting in the oval office – it's whether or not it's appropriate for a woman to run for president, in a pre-conscious, visceral, gut-check way. In short, it's about misogyny. Not your neighbors' misogyny, that oft-cited imaginary scapegoat, but yours. Ours. Mine. The misogyny we've got embedded deeply in our brains from living in a society that doesn't value women, the overcoming of which is key for our own growth, well-being, and emotional health.
Why didn't we ever ask if America was ready for Trump?
That misogyny, too, is reinforced by every question asking people to validate a woman even seeking the position. Upfront, eo ipso, before considering anything of their merit or experience or thought, whether a woman should be president, that, if given the choice between a qualified woman and an unqualified man, the man wins (which, let's not forget, is what happened four years ago). To ask the question at all is to recognize the legitimacy of the difference in opinion, that this is a question about which reasonable people might disagree. In reality, it's a question that reason doesn't factor into at all. It's an emotional question provoking an emotional response: to whom belong the levers of power? It's also one we seem eager to dodge.
"Sure, I'd vote for a woman, but I don't think my neighbor would. I'd vote for a woman, but will South Carolina? Or Nebraska? Or the Dakotas?" At worst, it's a way to sort through the cognitive dissonance the question provokes in us – it's an obviously remarkable idea, seeing as we've never had a woman president – and at best, it's sincere surrender to our lesser angels, allowing misogyny to win by default. It starts with the assumption that a woman can't be president, and therefore we shouldn't nominate one, because she can't win. It's a utilitarian argument for excluding half of the country's population from eligibility for its highest office not even by virtue of some essential deficiency, but in submission to the will of a presumed minority of voters before a single vote has ever been cast. I don't know what else to call that but misogyny by other means.
We can, and must, do better than that. We can't call a woman's viability into question solely because she's a woman. To do so isn't to "think strategically," but to give ground before the race even starts. It's to hobble a candidate. It's to make sure voters see her, first and foremost, as a gendered object instead of a potential leader. I have immense respect for the refusal of women like Hillary Clinton, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, and pioneers like Carol Mosley-Braun, going as far back as Victoria Woodhull, to accede to this narrative and stick to their arguments over the course of their respective campaigns, regardless of any policy differences with them. It's by women standing up and forcing the world to see us as people that we push through, not by letting them tell us where they think we belong.
One of the themes I come back to over and over again in my writing is women asserting independence from control and dignity in our lives. It's the dominant note in feminist writing going back decades, that plea for recognition not only of our political and civil rights, but our existence as moral agents as capable as any man in the same position, as deserving of respect, as deserving of being heard and taking our shot. What then do we make of the question "is America ready for a woman president?" Is America ready? Perhaps not. But perhaps "ready" isn't something that exists. Perhaps, in the truest fashion of human politics, it's impossible until it, suddenly, isn't, and thereafter seems inevitable.
I think, for example, of the powerful witness Barack Obama brought to the office of president, not simply by occupying it but by trying to be a voice speaking to America's cruel and racist history and its ongoing effects. By extension, then, I think there is very real, radical benefit to electing a chief executive who has herself been subject to patriarchal control in the way only women (and those who others identify as women) can experience.
I look at reproductive rights like abortion and birth control, and that is what I see: patriarchal control over bodies, something no single president has ever experienced. I think about wage equality; no US president has ever been penalized for their sex in their ability to provide for themselves and their families. I look at climate change, and I remember that wealth and power are inextricably bound to privilege, and that the rapacious hunger to extract value from the earth maps onto the exploitation women have been subject to for millennia.
That's the challenge of our day. We've watched, over the last decade, the radicalized right go from the fringes of ridicule to the halls of power. We've watched them spit at the truth and invent their own reality. All while some of our best leaders were told to wait their turn. Why, then, all this question of whether we're ready for something far simpler?
Why didn't we ever ask if America was ready for Trump?