Carrie Lyell meets the hosts of a new podcast on a mission to put women front and centre of politics and reclaim the word bossy.
Jill Gutowitz and Carmen Rios are debating who is funnier. Not in an “I’m funnier than you” way. Each is putting forward a compelling argument for why the other is funnier than them, but to be honest I think they’re both pretty hilarious. We’re chatting on Skype – Jill is at home, Carmen in her car – and throughout our 45 minute conversation, it’s clear how important it is that they lift each other up. But it’s not just each other that Gutowitz and Rios are championing. As producers and hosts of The Bossy Show, a political talk show aimed at young women (listen now, wherever you get your podcasts), their goal is arming women with the intellectual weaponry to battle some of the biggest issues facing marginalised communities right now.
The show, which launched back in January, came off the back of Trump’s victory, and both Gutowitz and Rios admit there would be no show if it was Hillary Clinton chilling in the White House right now. “We talk about it all the time on the show,” says Gutowitz. “The only good thing to come out of this tragic presidency is the activism specifically from women. A lot of white women who were once quiet are now in flames of rage, which is a good thing, standing up for marginalised groups. Even though we all hate this, it did inspire some sort of change in America.” Indeed, Trump’s victory has set many disengaged millennials on a path to wokeness – especially women – and we’re the ones leading the resistance, says Rios, as the most politically active group in the US. But while you’d think that would be good for those of us who want to tell our stories, it’s actually men that are benefitting. “Women are the people who are under attack and who need to be lifted up and centred right now and yet what’s happening is there’s just a bunch of fucking bros sitting around talking about politics,” laments Rios. “The people making money and getting attention and building their pro files off of this really painful moment in history for women are men.”
Gutowitz agrees, incredulous at the fact that theirs is the only political podcast aimed specifically at young women and that the big media companies – spearheaded by men – are the ones profiting from feminism. Both she and Rios talk at length about the “endless roadblocks” they’ve faced in trying to get the show off the ground, including competitiveness from “young teen media outlets” who are “reluctant to share the love”, despite having high profile guests like singer Lauren Jauregui on the show, who those same outlets cover every time she so much as sneezes. But the biggest obstacle, they say, has been sexism. Surprise, surprise. Men online “demand conversation” and others attack them for their speech patterns. And they’re told they don’t have the authority to speak on political issues, despite it being their lived experience as queer women, because we’ve all been socialised to believe men in suits know best when it comes to, well, anything. “What’s become really scary and apparent over the last seven months is that people really don’t want to hear young women talk about politics,” says Gutowitz.
Read the rest of this feature in the September issue of DIVA, available now at divadigital.co.uk.
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