Katharine Cook reviews The Guilty Feminist

I’m a feminist but…” is how comedian Deborah Frances-White begins each weekly podcast that centres around feminism today and the “insecurities and hypocrisies” that often come along with it.

This initial statement is always followed by a hilarious admission to an act that definitely doesn’t align itself with the feminist beliefs of Frances-White, or her co-host. My favourite example is the following: “I’m a feminist but I often find myself promoting this podcast by saying, ‘it’s about feminism but don’t worry it’s funny.’” This segment immediately and unapologetically addresses the stigma that faces feminists today.

The podcast’s combination of humour and politics, as well as being really, really funny, has the potential to engage many individuals who would otherwise be disinterested in any sort of conversation about feminism.

Each week is themed around different topics: intersectionality, menstruation, porn and nudity and, as well as the initial “I’m a feminist but…”, each host performs a short stand-up show, completes a relevant challenge to that week’s subject, and engages in a meaningful discussion about the topic with the podcast’s guest.

One of the most memorable challenges has to be from the first episode in which  Frances-White attempts nude modelling for the first time.

Founded in July 2015, the creators Frances-White and Sofie Hagen aimed to make feminism accessible to everyone, hosting discussions about relevant topics and creating a non-judgemental atmosphere where you can feel comfortable admitting your questionably feminist activities. Previous guests have included Desiree Burch, Sarah Millican, and the hilarious Susan Calman.

Hagen has since stepped down to work on her own podcast, Made of Human, and Frances-White is joined by a new guest host each week where they laugh their way through discussions around that week’s topic.

Throughout the past year the podcast has expanded massively: as well as each weekly episode, they organise regular live recordings, have attended many comedy festivals (including the Edinburgh Fringe Festival) as well as arranging ‘Include Yourself’ conferences, which encourage women to take up more space within work and education through a series of workshops that encourage leadership skills, confident language and negotiation from attendees.

The first of these conferences will take place on May 22 in Kings Place, London and, as Frances-White is always quick to mention, it includes free lunch.

With this podcast, Francis-White and Hagen have made a bold attempt to reduce the stigma that currently surrounds the ‘f’ word, thus making it synonymous with its genuine definition rather than its controversial ‘man hating’ stereotype.

I’m a feminist but…” is how comedian Deborah Francis White begins each weekly podcast that centres around feminism today and the ‘insecurities and hypocrisies’ that often come along with it. This initial statement is always followed by a hilarious admission to an act that definitely doesn’t align itself with the feminist beliefs of Francis-White, or her co-host. My favourite example is the following: “I’m a feminist but I often find myself promoting this podcast by saying, ‘it’s about feminism but don’t worry it’s funny.’” This segment immediately and unapologetically addresses the stigma that faces feminists today.

The podcast’s combination of humour and politics, as well as being really really funny, has the potential to engage many individuals who would otherwise be disinterested in any sort of conversation about feminism.

Each week is centred around a new topic such as: intersectionality, menstruation, porn and nudity and as well as the initial ‘I’m a feminist but…’, each host performs a short standup show, completes a relevant challenge to that week’s subject and engages in a meaningful discussion about the topic with the podcast’s guest. One of the most memorable challenges has to be from the first episode where Frances-White attempts nude modelling for the first time. Previous guests have included: Desiree Burch, Sara Pascoe, Sarah Millican and the hilarious Susan Calman.

Founded in July 2015, the creators Francis-White and Sofie Hagen aimed to make feminism accessible to everyone, hosting discussions about relevant topics and creating a non-judgemental atmosphere where you can feel comfortable admitting your questionable and not very feminist activities. Hagen has since stepped down to work on her own podcast, Made of Human with Sofie Hagen, and Francis-White is joined by a new guest host each week where they laugh their way through discussions about the week’s topic. examples include: intersectionality, menstruation, porn and nudity.

Throughout the past year the podcast has expanded massively, as well as each weekly episode they organise regular live recordings, have attended many comedy festivals (including the Edinburgh Fringe Festival) as well as arranging ‘Include Yourself’ conferences that encourage women to take up more space within work and education through a series of workshops that encourage leadership skills, confident language and negotiation from attendees. The first of these conferences will take place on the 22nd of May in King’s Palace London and as Frances-White is always quick to mention, it includes free lunch.

With this podcast, Francis-White and Hagen have made a bold attempt to reduce the stigma that currently surrounds the ‘f’ word, thus making it synonymous with its genuine definition rather than its controversial ‘man hating’ stereotype.

Image: The New York Times Archive

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