New year, new me, same old podcast addiction. The medium is producing stronger work than ever, with countless topics, and I love them all. I have at least 60 podcasts on my subscription list—although, in fairness, they don’t all run continuously and I don’t listen to every episode of every show. Anyway, I’ve given plenty of recommendations for podcasts in the past, but the start of the new year seems like the perfect time for a few more. Here are some great listens full of learning and growth to spark your curiosity and inspire your fresh starts.
There’s nothing I can say about my delight for the casting of Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Doctor on Doctor Who that hasn’t already been said. For an alien creature that can canonically change genders with their various regenerations, it’s beyond time for the Doctor to be female after a string of a dozen males. For one of the biggest science-fiction works in the history of sci-fi television, it’s a cool move to put a woman behind the wheel of the TARDIS (doubly so in conjunction with a new showrunner finally replacing the increasingly odious Stephen Moffat). And, unsurprisingly, it’s brought out the worst in internet trolling.
The Doctor is a Man. No, the Doctor is a Time Lord. Why does it need to be Politically Correct? Well, the probability of a coin coming up heads a thirteenth time after 12 in a row is pretty unlikely (unless you’re in a Tom Stoppard play), so it’s really more about being Scientifically Correct. And the classic: they’ve ruined my childhood! Look, I know the show is about time travel, but you know that’s just pretend, right? The Doctor can’t really go back to the ’70s and erase all your childhood memories of the colourful scarf and the celery lapel and the bad special effects.
There are a lot of sexist memes on the internet, which makes sense, it being the internet and all. Sexist memes combine two of the internet’s favourite things: memes and sexism. Most are some variety of the same theme, usually meant to explain that girls who pretend to like cool things are just lying liars who are only pretending to like cool things, most likely to attract boys. See: Fake Geek/Gamer Girl, the Bernie v. Hilary campaign positions sign, and about a hundred others.
When the denizens of this too-large corner of the internet are not talking about how horrible it is when girls like “boy” stuff, they’re talking about how horrible “girl” stuff is. For example, makeup and the “take her swimming on a first date”/”this is why men have trust issues” meme, which I find to be one of the most infuriating. You can see an example below, but basically it’s two pictures of a girl, one with and one without makeup. In the “with makeup” photo, her skin is flawless, eyebrows groomed, face all-around made up in a conventionally attractive way. In the “without makeup” photo she has sparse eyebrows, undereye circles, blemishes, maybe some hyperpigmentation, If she was the kind of girl to wear makeup every day, this picture would be the one of the day where everyone asks her “Are you sick?”
Apparently, it’s some sort of huge betrayal to a certain section of men on the internet for women to wear makeup because it’s a “lie”—as many women have so correctly pointed out, if these men think that winged black eyeliner is a natural feature, they deserve to feel hoodwinked—but there’s something about these memes that I find even more discomforting.
Like most of the internet-using population, this week I watched a video of a woman walking around in New York City for 10 hours, and the 100+ instances of street harassment she encountered.
[Note: I am choosing not to link to the video because I find it suspect that “for whatever reason,” to quote the creator, nearly all the white street harassers were edited out. Instead watch this Daily Show clip where the always-awesome Jessica Williams discusses the same topic.
Like most women, even before I watched the video, I knew what I would hear. “Hey, beautiful,” “Smile,” “You don’t wanna talk?” “Bitch.”
I’ve heard these things before. I’ve heard them in big cities and small towns; when I’ve looked my best and when I’ve looked my worst; at night on a near-empty street and during the day in a crowd; with friends and when I’m by myself; by nicely-dressed guys and guys who look like they’ve never showered; in English, Spanish, and a sort of animalistic grunting; in voices that are pretending to be nice and voices that aren’t even trying.
I don’t think I get harassed any more than the average woman—and that’s what worries me. And I don’t think I have anything to say that couldn’t be said by most other women, and that’s why it needs to be said once more.
I know this may be coming a few weeks too late for my fellow female football/soccer fans, as the leagues have already been going since August in most countries. Hopefully you’ve been struggling through, but it’s international break and I’m bored without football so whether you follow that or the other football or baseball or hockey or any of those other SUPER MACHO MANLY SPORTS, here’s a little guide for being a “real” fan: