This year I got into podcasts, which really wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t start one with the lovely Serena Chen. Excuse me while I do a shameless self-plug before we get into the voices I have enjoyed this year.
A show about life and tech through a feminist lens. We’ve covered dating, space, sports, the job hunt, advertising, fashion, and fandom. Episodes are planned talking about privacy, video games, and the pay gap. Of everything I’ve created, this is the one that I am most proud of. Every episode I listen to while writing show notes, I’m blown away by how intelligent my co-host Serena is, and how intelligent I can sound.
Making Things of Interest has helped make me a better person and has been a wonderful journey in creating something good with a wonderful friend.
The whole McElroy Family of Products
Okay look. I’m just going to tell you about my favourites because otherwise this would take literally forever, and I’m not even going to bother about going into MBMBaM because plenty of places on the internet do that already (it’s a comedy advice show, it’s great, they’re great, every so often they yell about how the friendzone isn’t real, listen).
The Adventure Zone. The Adventure Zone is the three McElroy brothers and their dad playing D&D.
One of the reasons I get so grumpy about everything being written/created/starring men is because as a general rule, men are really bad at telling women’s stories or creating compelling female characters and I want to engage in stuff about me. The Adventure Zone is a living, breathing instance of #notallmen (or rather #possiblyeverymanexceptGriffinMcElroy #heisanangel #thebabiestbrother). In the third arc (Petals to the Metal) two (female) characters are created by the Dungeon Master, Griffin, and their character development and story makes me cry every. single. time (trying to avoid spoilers but every single time, my dudes). I’ve been so shocked by stuff in this show that I’ve yelled on public transport. Sometimes I am having too many feelings so have to pause the podcast for a bit. There are so many lesbians. There’s a boy detective. There are character voices. And there’s a whole lotta mystery.
It is incredibly funny, emotionally engaging, and listening to the growth of both the characters and the men playing those characters is transformative. There’s a lot of LGBTIQ+ characters, and on the promotional material for The Adventure Zone comic getting criticised for being hella white, this is what Justin McElroy said (Taako the wizard and Garyl the semi-spectral binicorn):
The other two life-changing McElroy products I’ve got behind this year are Sawbones and Rose Buddies.
Sawbones is a medical history podcast so, right up my alley. It has served as a great refresher for things I learned/avoided learning in undergraduate, as well as some new cool facts about old timey medicine. It’s hosted by Justin and his wife, Dr Sydnee McElroy.
Rose Buddies is a bachelor/ette fancast by Griffin and his wife Rachel McElroy and I cannot explain why I like it but I do. They recap episodes of the bachelor and provide a commentary on it. I do not watch the Bachelor/ette. Whenever there is a new episode of Rose Buddies I am filled with joy. Go figure.
Rose Buddies also got me into Terrace House, which you’ll hear more about later.
Science Vs – Wendy Zukerman
Do you want to hear an Australian be excited by science? I experienced the first season of Science Vs on a friend’s recommendation this year and have absolutely fallen in love with Wendy being a chirpy investigative reporter and drilling down to the bottom of some long-standing scientific controversies, mysteries, and some more current events. I’m not always on board with the weight given to everything but it is some of the most even-handed science journalism I’ve seen in a while.
Women on the Line – Areej Nur, Amy Middleton, Nicole Curby, Emma Hart, Aoife Cooke
After being featured with my co-conspirator Jess Vovers on WotL at the beginning of the year, I started regularly listening to this weekly show (technically a radio show but who has a radio these days) from 3CR. It’s a lovely half hour where you can hear about good women doing great things.
Motor Mouth – Yassmin Abdel-Magied, Michael Lamonato
I could care less about racing, but not much less – and yet somehow, Yassmin’s 8-episode podcast series with ABC was enjoyable and brought a nice highlight to my week. Even if you don’t think it’d be your thing, the hosts make it easy – and enjoyable! – to join them for the ride that is this podcast.
Just a Spoonful – Kaitlyn Plyley
Kaitlyn Plyley is one of the most thoughtful, well-spoken people I’ve ever had the honour to sing All Star by Smash Mouth with. It’s fortnightly discussions between Kaitlyn and young people with chronic illnesses or disabilities. It’s inspiring and reassuring to hear from other people trying to balance energy, illness, and a chronic desire to do more.
On the Rag – Alex Casey, Zoe Scheltema and Michele A’Court
Sometimes you just gotta hear some kiwi voices talking feminism that aren’t your own. On the Rag scratches that itch so, so well.
@ everyone who has made lists of “Great podcasts” (The Cusp, Business Insider) that are predominantly men: this wasn’t difficult, you’ve just gotta stop listening to the same stuff all the time. I don’t have a rule against listening to men yarn at me (see my love letter to The Adventure Zone above) but I don’t really have time for “two white dudes tell me things I already know“.
Things that have been recommended to me this year include 2 Dope Queens, Invisibilia, and Lady to Lady, so keep an eye out for them in 2017 if I ever get around to the fun part of my to-do list.