For some feminist help with one of my Echo pieces, I reached out to Carmen Rios and Jillian Gutowitz, co-hosts of The BOSSY Show podcast. We discussed the many tropes of fourth-wave feminism, Drake theories, and out-woking people online—but this Q&A excerpt is taken from our talk about approaching those intimidated by feminism and some not-so-feminist guilty pleasures.
Lauren: How do you guys interact with people who are confused or intimidated by feminism, like the people who think feminism is this big complex thing?
Carmen: I feel like that’s maybe part of the audience that our podcast is for.
Carmen: Like those people who are like, “I can tell this stuff is fucked up, but I don’t necessarily understand the entirety of the movement to fix it.”
Jillian: Totally, I mean that’s the whole reason we started this was because we wanted to be educational but also approachable, so people who definitely don’t know anything and are interested to learn and don’t want to feel intimidated or excluded or, this is like too advanced of a conversation or something that they don’t know anything about…we’re trying to create that space for people who are new to this to start talking about it and to not be intimidated by it, because it is very intimidating. I say it to Carmen every week when we’re writing an episode, I’m like, “I don’t feel like I know enough about this to talk about it.” We’re all kind of learning and figuring it out, and we have guests who come in that don’t know too much, and so we kind of figure out what we feel comfortable talking about, figure out a way to make it comfortable for them to talk about things without feeling like they’re uninformed. We had one guest recently who sat down with us after the podcast and asked us about feminism and what we think about feminism, and we had a conversation about it because she was curious, and obviously wants to get more involved but doesn’t know how.
Carmen: I feel like a lot of the work I’ve done…I did organizing on my campus, a lot of the work I do is definitely intra-movements with people who are already vaguely identify with feminism. I do think a lot of my work too seeks to break down feminism into digestable little bite sized, easily understandable things. There’s so many issues, especially right now, there’s so much happening, it’s really overwhelming. But I think if you present things to people as like, “OK well here’s one problem, right? In this massive constellation of problems, here’s one of them and here are ways we can tangibly approach it and ways that we can take action around it and what a solution looks like.” I think when you do that, it not only helps people recognize that they are feminist, but I also think it helps people feel a lot less powerless. That’s what so empowering—and I love that we approach the show on an issue-by-issue basis. If we were to just sit down every week and be like, “Here’s everything that’s wrong, let’s talk about all of it,” that’s just so overwhelming. Literally I listen to shows like that, and they make me cry. There’s a lot to deal with right now, between the stolen election and the blatant racism and the sexism, there’s just a lot going on. I think that is what makes the show fun, too, is this idea that there’s still room to talk about the solutions and stuff because we’re approaching it at just one issue at a time.
Lauren: Do you guys have any examples of “bad” feminist guilty pleasures/practices?
Jillian: I was literally going to say, I am the biggest fan of horrible rap music. The more disgusting and sexist it is, the more I turn it up, and it’s awful. Sometimes I just have to turn my brain off and not listen to the things they’re saying so I can enjoy listening to rap music.
Carmen: That’s great. I buy cheap and probably not ethically made goods, OK? Like my entire wardrobe is from Forever 21, I am proud. I also listen to rap music but on an even larger scale. I’m constantly making fun of myself because I listen to and interact with a lot of media that’s by and about dudes, which is weird because I hate men. But my guilty pleasure—this is a shitty show but I watch it a lot—Frasier and like, I love Wes Anderson movies and I fuckin’ listen to the Red Hot Chili Peppers unironically. This is all very embarrassing and very true information about me. For me, it’s like engaging with a lot of media by and about white men, and then also engaging with a lot of sexist music, stuff like that.
Jillian: Movies, there’s a lot…as a woman who dates women, there’s a lot of really gross sexist stuff out there that’s sexualizing women whether it’s like an action movie, that I tend to enjoy because I’m a woman who enjoys women. I know that it’s objectifying and they’re objectifying women, and it’s disgusting, but I like it.
Carmen: I’m pretty raunchy and disguting, soo…I mean, I’m just reclaiming it.
Jillian: Exactly. The way that Carmen and I talk about our dating lives is probably disgusting.
Carmen: That’s true, no one’s perfect!