I refuse to abandon myself, or any of my sisters, in 2018. Hard stop.
The 2016 Presidential election and the year that followed may have permanently changed my DNA forever. What was once a deep hairline fracture of rage, sadness and fury cracked wide open, never to be put back together again. A lifelong gnawing feeling of distrust and disgust for our patriarchal society suddenly bubbled into lava, destroying everything in its path. On issues where I already cared deeply about, I became more than merely outspoken. I became indignant, resolved, and unrelenting. A force to be reckoned with.
I saw this transformation happen on the faces of friends and loved ones. In our bloodshot eyes I saw an intense power, so primal that, at times, it hurt to express it. Every arrow that we've suffered, and our mothers suffered, and their mothers before that (and before that) stung anew. We laughed in the dark like wild things.
We plopped our truths out on the table, bloody and seething, for all to gawk at. These intimate truths, often buried so deep we'd forgotten them, felt at times ripped form our own guts. We stood with gaping holes in our hearts, staring down the enemy as if to dare them to consider what we might have left to lose.
I saw/felt/witnessed this white hot heat at the Women's March, the many anti-Trump protests, and standing in solidarity with Planned Parenthood. We stood unmoved; my friend's new baby daughter curled up in her arms.
I looked at this baby girl and I thought about what kind of world I wanted for her in ten, twenty, fifty years. I thought about my own ancestors...women I never knew. What had they been through? What had all of them suffered through so that I could be here today, writing this blog or singing this song or marching with this mass?
THIS is what kept me going in 2017--this, and the colorful work of daring creative women. Not all acts of protest come with signs and chants. Some come with laughter, joy and levity. Some come with song and dance. This is just what I needed most some days.
We need each other more than ever now. We need to lick each other's wounds and bandage them up so that we can fight another day, together. Today, I present an end of year feminist podcast list that means something very personal to me. This was the year I started my own podcast, and I very much credit these voices for urging me toward action.
I write this list in the hope that perhaps you'll sit down and make something that, in some small way, reminds your sister/mother/daughter/grandmother/aunt/grand-daughter that she is not alone.
It could be silly, intimate, weird, wild, subtle, crazy, soft or raw. It could be a quiet message to one woman or a loud call to action for all of womankind. It does not need to be perfect, but it does need to be heard.
It needs to be heard now. In 2018.
Finally, let me close by saying (again):
Know that being who you are--exactly who you are--in the face of this presidency is an act of defiance.
The world will soon understand that those who refuse to abandon each other are, indeed, unstoppable.
* Note: Obviously, women are not the only ones that need protecting right now. I know this and I feel this and I get this 200%. The black, LGBTQ, and immigrant communities are very much part of this fight, and, I would argue, need more help than middle class white women wearing pussy hats. That said, I focus on women because this is my personal experience, and where my passion resonates the most clearly. Enjoy their sonic gifts below.
The Feminist Voices that Kept Me Alive in 2017
#1 Sooo Many White Guys
This podcast literally makes me LOL while doing the dishes/walking the dog/whatever, which is not something I normally do. I am an inside-laughter for sure (I know, shocking, right?). I needed a good, long laugh in 2017. This podcast felt like warm soup. There are a few things about this thoughtful yet bubbly show that really hit my heart in the right way. 1) Hilarious host and standup comedian Phoebe Robinson and executive producer Ilana Glazer (of the amazingly uplifting show Broad City) really LIKE each other. They're friends first, and that vibe totally shines through. Sure, Phoebe interviews some MAJOR celebs, including some white dudes (er, Tom Hanks, for example), but there's more to this show than the interviews. I think this show is a great example of why we need more gal-on-gal gratuitous friendships in the public eye, especially when those friendships create such powerful change. We also need more women of color (and more women in general) advocating and standing up for/cheering on other women in their respective fields. 2) Watching Phoebe rise from comedian and television writer to kick ass best selling author and co-host of the popular Two Dope Queens podcast/live show (see later in this list for more on that show) to being the queen of her own podcast ... it just has been incredibly inspiring. She's funny, she's smart, she's endearing, she gives zero fucks, she laughs at her own jokes A LOT, she's vulnerable, she unapologetically loves the band U2 and none of this should surprise you at all. Newsflash: Women can be all of these things at once and still change the fucking world. LISTEN HERE.
# 2 Sagittarian Matters with Nicole J Georges
Every time Nicole J Georges matter-of-factly states: "Hi. I'm a queer, feminist, vegan cartoonist" on the intro portion of her sweet, hilarious and fierce podcast, Sagittarian Matters, Marc Maron gets another grey hair in his hipster beard. Hey. I love WTF as much as the next gal (I really do), but there is something to be said about a strong, equally self deprecating and pet-obsessed queer woman asking not typical white dudes about their art, too. Because. You know. We also do art and might have something useful to say about it??? Although Nicole interviews quite a few cartoonists (which I love, I mean...my husband owns a comic book shop, so our 'read' piles are freakishly thick), she also talks to amazing people of ALL stripes in ALL creative fields. (Also check out her two graphic novels, Calling Dr. Laura and Fetch). Thank you Nicole for being an advocate for prune lovers everywhere (RIP A PRUNE, DUDE!), a shining beacon of boundary-setting and self care, a no-fuss advice giver, and also just a really funny hostess. We need your voice now. To this day, I cannot listen to Marc ask, "So, who are your guys?" Without thinking of Nicole's wry wit. Plus, her gender fluid chihuahua, Ponyo, makes a fine producer and uplifting mascot if there ever was one! Boomer can suck it.
#3 Two Dope Queens
Yay! Yas Queen Yas. #YQY! Phoebe makes a second appearance on the list because (duh) she's too amazing and prolific and I might want to be her when I grow up. Two Dope Queens is recorded LIVE in Brooklyn with co-host Jessica Williams, who is sarcastic AF and a little mean (like, in a great, funny u2-hating way). Just start listening. You will understand what I mean immediately. Williams wrote for The Daily Show before doing her own thing, and now she has a new Netflix flick under her belt, which is all pretty god damn impressive for a self-processed introvert (yeah, she's just 27-year-old, too). Phoebe and Jessica are a bit like the Millenial's version of Bert and Ernie---a lovable duo that will go down in history as better together (Jessica is the straight man to Phoebe's insane antics and it just works so well). Again, the female friendship is on full display here in colorful plumage. They get real and they talk about real political/humanitarian/racial/gender issues, but that doesn't mean they can't have fun while dragging the haters. I also really love the LIVE aspect of this show, because you can really feel the energy, and even the camaraderie both on stage and in the audience. Comedic guests include some of my fave ladies, like Maria Bamford (Lady Dynamite) and Tig Notarow, to name a few. The best part for me? Discovering a slew of new, usually less visible comics that I'd never heard of, from all walks of life and backgrounds. There are so many really GOOD comics out there that aren't constantly talking about their dicks 24/7. Shocking. The only problem with this show is it somehow makes me feel like I want to try standup, which I really truly don't. Like, at all. It just sounds SO fun when Pheebz and J Willy banter on stage. They are just so cool, effortless, and 100 percent savage. Fuck with these queens, and they will #dragyourbody. LISTEN HERE.
Hippie Witch: Magick for a New Age
I'm a little scared to share this one with you all. Why? I mean, the name of this podcast alone showcases SO many alarm bells. Hippie. Witch. Magick. New Age?!!! Holy shit. Who even are you Hayley? Sigh. I am just a complicated person like the rest of you. My guilty pleasures are broad and binge-able, but I don't consider this uplifting podcast a "guilty pleasure" at all, despite the rather intense crystal-loving name. Here's something you may not know about me. I was raised by atheists, I consider myself agnostic, but I also like to dabble in a little magic now and then. What self respecting feminist witch doesn't? Also: Why can't we refuse the BS of organized religion AND have some magic/fun in the world? What we don't know so vastly overpowers what we do know - this is true. If you've ever listened to AM Coast to Coast radio (you know, the late night UFO show) you understand why I love listening to self help practitioners talk about Tarot cards, astrology and the like. It's FUN. It's weird. It's exciting. It makes the world seem big and lush and filled with magic. I actually find some New Agey stuff like The Law of Attraction and "shadow work" personally interesting and, frankly, pretty useful, albeit when taken with a grain of salt. Put out good shit = get good shit, right? The problem is when you drown in the woo woo kool-aid. Don't do that. Instead, I invite you to sip at the water cooler, and maybe even learn how daily intentional rituals and self-care practices (aka "spells") can help you understand your inner demons, get in touch with your true desires, and tackle the stuff on your to-do list that's been literally lingering there for years. The main crux of this podcast is about attaining the "kick ass life of your dreams," and host Joanna Devoe has an endlessly compassionate heart. She isn't trying to sell snake oil. She just wants to connect. I used to listen back in the day, when she would literally call-in to Blog Talk Radio on her cell phone and ramble a short, impassioned rant before signing off with her signature, "Until we meet again, Peace!" Now, she's got a pretty decent microphone and editing software. She's interviewing fellow witches and healers from all round the L.A. area and beyond. I still like to think of her as my low key new agey friend, though...you know...just sitting on her couch, petting her cat and calling in to tell me about the astral plane or whatnot. LISTEN HERE
More Ladies that saved my ass
Note to Self
Manoush Zomorodi is a warrior goddess and she may be our last hope in a tech crazy world gone mad. Not many women occupy the tech space with such power, and Manoush is TAKING UP SPACE with her down-to-earth musings, whip-smart scientific experiments, probing questions and charming vulnerability. She is a mother as well as a respected thinker, author and podcast guru. (Still considering doing the Bored and Brilliant challenge, but have not had the nerve to try yet. Maybe 2018? 2019? Have you done it?) LISTEN HERE
Rock n Roll S.O.S.
OK, these are not podcast hosts, they are lady-powered bands. But these are bands that I listened to ON REPEAT throughout this year. Their sonic rebellion is salve for my soul. I recommend them all.
Tacocat - That rare moment when empowering lyrics make you want to shake your body and roll in glitter!
Lisa Prank, - I am a pop punk addict and proud. So is she, or at least that is what I imagine. Her music is unabashedly poppy, twee, and extremely nourishing to me.
BLEACHED, - I admire the fact that Bleached put out a zine supporting Planned Parenthood this year. Plus, they fucking shred. You already knew this.
The Spazzys - This is an old early 2000s Australian pop punk band I got into this year. They make me want to live boldly, and cut my hair like Marky Ramone.
Maya Songbird - One of the most unique vocal/electronic performances I've experienced in a long time. #REGALSLUT
The Flytraps - Metal goddess rock n roll that will make you feel about 10,000 feet tall (the KISS boots help).
The Total Bettys - Their album Peach is like a drunken tear-soaked diary entry for all the world to see. I want to be that brave.
Sweeping Exists - Dark, dramatic, gender fluid horror glam rock for your tired soul.