From history to tech to murder, these eleven women-hosted podcasts are taking podcasting to another level and are in my heavy rotation every day:
By The Book: Each week, hosts Jolenta Greenberg and Kristen Meinzer read a self help book and live by it to the letter. It’s irreverent, addicting, and honest, and the genuine fun and affection these ladies have for each other and this project is infectious. Check out my longer review of this show here, and their most recent episode on The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.
Call your Girlfriend: It took me five or six episodes to get into the groove of this one, but their recent one on moving (the hosts are close friends who moved to different cities) was such a truth-bomb-fest it made me stop and type out what they were saying at least twenty times on my notes app, interrupting my dreaded elliptical workout while making me reflect on all the tough, necessary, not-so-lonely-after-all life lessons I’ve earned from re-starting my own life in so many new cities.
The History Chicks: Their back catalog of hour-long deep dives into women in history from Cleopatra to Julia Child goes all the way back to 2011, and I was all in for the way they tell these stories, with such humor and such awareness of the worlds each woman existed within. My recent new-to-me-faves are on Zelda Fitzgerald, Dorothy Parker, and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
Unladylike: This titles of each episode of this new podcast from the former hosts of Stuff Mom Never Told You all start with “How To,” and topics are challenging, taboo-busting feminist stories and interviews. Recent faves: How to Ride a Bicycle, featuring an interview with a PhD turned bike messenger, and How to Get a Yoga Body with Instagram star/all bodies can do yoga advocate Jessamyn Stanley.
Stuff Mom Never Told You: Classic episodes of this show (hosted by the current Unladylike hosts) go all the way back to 2009, and I love making playlists of whatever lady-centric topics I was in the mood for at the moment: migraines to Ruth Bader Ginsberg to Marriage vs. Ambition. This show will make you see both the everyday chores of womanhood and the Bigger Issues like work-life balance and fertility in a new, challenging way.
Note To Self: Host Manoush Zomorodi has a way of asking questions about the intersection of technology and all the messy things that make us human that’s so thoughtful and challenging; you can tell her guests sometimes have never considered the questions she poses to them. I can’t stop thinking about an episode from this week (originally aired in 2015) on the Invisible Girlfriend app.
Another Mother Runner: I’m coming out of Midwest indoor-workout hibernation, when I need as much you-got-this motivation as I can get to get my butt bundled up and outside into the March mud and wind. These ladies are the vibrant, encouraging community I need. Listen while you lace up your shoes, if you need company while you nurse an injury, listen if you feel like you’re failing at getting out the door for whatever reason. These women have been there, and they’re right there with you.
My Favorite Murder: This juxtaposition between the horrifying, darkest-side-of-humanity these hosts discuss and their addictive, funny dynamic is why they’re stars. They have an encyclopedic knowledge of all things murder and a perfect sense of when axe or serial killer jokes will work best. I don’t always listen to murder podcasts, but when I do, it’s this one. For a deeper dive into the murder-podcast genre and its appeal, especially to women, check out this terrific New York Times piece.
Death, Sex, and Money: Anna Sale’s interviews and reporting on the big three of things-it’s-not-polite-to-talk about just keep getting better (and it was always amazing). Every single show cuts right to the most important, most difficult, and therefore most fascinating things about people. Check out DSM’s recent Opportunity Costs series on class and Lena Waithe interview, both thought-provoking gems.
The Longest Shortest Time: I’d especially recommend this if you’re a parent who feels like your particular path to or through parenting is weird, or like you haven’t yet run into someone with your particular version of a kid-getting-or-raising experience. This podcast digs to find the stories that haven’t been told yet about parenting, from accidental gay parents to a theatrical makeup artist who brings her toddler along, but also always comes back to the universality of even the most unconventional stories.
Fresh Air: I feel like Ter-Ter (as Jessica Williams called her during one of my favorite interviews) sometimes gets left off lists of badass podcast ladies because she’s SO famous and amazing, but she’s a freaking interview magician, the face you see in the lady dictionary when you look up “she makes this look easy.” But also: whenever she talks to other women about their choices and lives, the way they’ve navigated everything from sexism to motherhood, she just does it with such nuance and honesty.