Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Podcast Spotlight: Stuff Mom Never Told You

It has been a very, very long time since I did a podcast round-up.  I still listen to podcasts very regularly, and many of them are fantastic, but I just found a new one that I love and I want to share it with all of you!

I serendipitously came across the Stuff Mom Never Told You site because I was trying to figure out if the Stuff You Missed in History podcast ever did an episode about Ida B. Wells, an intrepid African-American journalist who fought for women's suffrage and civil rights.

I did not get very far in my search because one of the first results that came up for me was the Stuff Mom Never Told You podcast list, and then I was so enthralled by the episode list that I stopped looking (though I do want to learn much more about Ida B. Wells!).  Stuff Mom Never Told You
"...gets down to the business of being women from every imaginable angle. Fueled by boundless curiosity and rigorous research, Cristen and Caroline are girls-next-door gender experts who skillfully decode the biology, psychology and sociology of ladies and gents, from their evolutionary past to millennial present, to better understand what modern womanhood is really about…because life is full of Stuff Mom Never Told You."
Um, amazing.  What a fantastic premise for a podcast.  And seriously, the topics are so interesting and I jsut want to listen to them ALL because, seriously, why is it so hard to find conversation/discussion/non-vitriol information about these things?  Let me give you a taste of the topics that had me drooling:
  • Exotic Beauty (about how the way white people describe people of color as being "exotic" is problematic and offensive)
  • Abolitionist Heroines (self-explanatory)
  • The Literary Reign of YA Fiction
  • Did WWII Really Help Rosie the Riveters?
  • How Teaching Became Women's Work
  • My Little Bronies (about men and boys who were obsessed with My Little Pony)
  • The Body Shaming Epidemic
  • Video Games and Women
  • Beyonce's Feminism
  • Hey Ladies! (about the baggage around the word "lady")
  • Black Women Striving for Suffrage (this was the Ida B. Wells result)
  • The Makers of Comedy (about female comedians)
  • Why are gender reveal parties so popular?  (YES!!  WHY?!?!)
And honestly, this is just a selection of the 5 most recent pages of podcast listings and there are fifty-seven pages!  Love.

So I listened to the Exotic Beauty episode, which talked a lot about Lupita Nyong'o and the way she is described in the popular press as an "exotic" beauty, which really just means that people view her as "other."  Interestingly, people also talk about her "different" background, mostly because she is African, but she actually comes from a wealthy family, was born in Mexico, and has a master's degree from the Yale School of Drama.  So ... actually, she has a pretty prime acting degree.  It's not like she just tumbled off a plane in Hollywood, knocked on someone's door, and then got an acting gig in an Oscar-winning movie.

The podcast went on to talk about how the fashion industry acts as though ethnic beauty is a "fad," saying things like "very plump lips are in right now" or that people really like "bronze" skin so self-tanners are selling really well.  But that's really just for white women who can change their looks; women born with very plump lips and bronze skin generally are still called "exotic" and do not meet the normal definition of beauty.  (Just Google "beauty" and scroll and see how many women of color show up vs. white women.)

And those are just a couple of highlights from the podcast.  There was so much more that was great in it!  And, in addition to the podcasts, there is a blog and a video series.  Hours of intelligent entertainment!

I do wish that, considering how many of the episodes above are about women of different backgrounds and races, there was a non-white host on this show.  It was a little strange to listen to two white women complain about exoticizing people of color and how upsetting that is, though I do appreciate them highlighting the topic.  I think that would be a really great addition to have a woman of color on the show, and then the episode topics and conversations could be even better.

But seriously, this podcast is awesome.  Put it on your radar!  Get smarter :-)


  1. There is something called gender reveal parties? Not here

    1. They're pretty new here, too (at least to me, as I am in my early 30s and am just now hearing about all the baby stuff). But they seem to be gaining in popularity. Basically, you have a party with some sort of secret thing (often a cake or a box of balloons or something), and then the mother and father-to-be cut the cake or open the box, and it shows either pink or blue, and that is how the parents - and all the guests invited to the party - learn the sex of their child.

  2. I'm hooked on RadioLab because of you and now you're giving me a new podcast to listen to!! I can't wait. I think it's weird too that the show is hosted by two white women. Hopefully later shows will have women of color on as guests or co-hosts. Have you ever read that Wells biography called Ida: A Sword Among Lions by Paula Giddings? I haven't read it yet but it is on my tbr list.


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