On Valentine's Day, Americans spend $17.6 billion on gifts. That’s roughly the same amount as the entire budget of NASA in 2014. Yeah. We are serious about buying stuff to express our love.
For this show, we explore the connection between romance and consumerism. Professor Lisa Wade, the editor of very fun website Sociological Images, explains the weird gender dynamics of Valentine's Day gift-giving, an original essay details the once-popular tradition of sending people nasty notes on Valentine's Day, and writer Kate Redburn argues that "the chief beneficiaries of gay marriage will be Crate & Barrel, not the queer folks with the most desperate need." Plus: listeners share their creative ideas for celebrating relationships (and yourself) without spending much money.
Even if you despise Valentine's Day, you'll find something to love on this episode. Listen below.
On Backtalk, hosts Amy Lam and Sarah Mirk discuss top pop culture stories of the week, offering snappy feminist analysis on the issues, people, and media that are making headlines right now. This week, we dig into new ABC sitcom Fresh Off the Boat, Serena Williams' 14-year boycott, and the best part about the Super Bowl (Missy Eliiott, obviously).
This episode of Backtalk is brought to you by the Gender Studies Symposium at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. Scheduled for March 11-13, the symposium is a free series of lectures, workshops, panel discussions, and performances exploring issues of gender and sexuality. Learn more about this year's free schedule of events at go.lclark.edu/gendersymp.
More ways to listen to and download the show are below the cut.
The movements that have arisen recently to challenge racism and violence in our justice system have created not only discussion and outrage, but a cultural shift. Out of racism and violence and sexism has come creativity: songs, chants, art, policy ideas, creative ways to push back against power and reimagine the way our world can be. On today’s show, we’re looking at the culture that has grown from recent protests—in Portland, in New York, in St. Louis, San Francisco, and Cleveland—from art made on the streets to songs that wind up at the Academy Awards.
First, writer Tasha Fierce reads an essay that will be published in the upcoming Law & Order issue of Bitch exploring the history of black women leading civil rights movements—from the 1960s all the way to Black Lives Matter. Then, we listen through a growing archive of protest chants and think about how future historians will look back on today’s protests. Finally, musician and writer Jordannah Elizabeth makes us a mixtape of current protest music.
For the first episode of Backtalk, Amy and I dig into President Obama’s State of the Union, smart responses to the increasing pile of allegations against Bill Cosby, and the surprisingly good TV show Jane the Virgin.
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Internet culture gets derided and dismissed—especially by the out-of-touch people who run a lot of our mainstream media. How often have you heard the punchline of a joke turn out to be “Twitter” or "Youtube"? That gets old fast. Especially, since, in reality, activist media-makers are doing really creative and powerful work online. In recent years, people who care about social justice issues have honed their skills at distilling important issues into short, engaging videos and memes—the best of these are nuanced and fresh, but grab viewers who will never break open a giant book about racism or attend a heady lecture about feminism. A growing number of talented writers are using YouTube, Twitter, and Tumblr in a way previous generations have used pamphlets, speeches, and consciousness-raising groups.
This episode of Popaganda is sponsored by She Bop, a women-owned, female friendly sex toy boutique for every body located in Portland, OR and online at sheboptheshop.com. Popaganda listeners receive 15% off for any online order—just use the coupon code BITCHVIRAL. Portlanders, you're in luck! She Bop's SE Division Street location is now open—make sure to check out!
Individual show segments and more ways to listen below the cut!
Reflecting on an entire year of pop culture is difficult business. Luckily, we have help from five fabulous Bitch contributors who call in to tell us about their favorite books, movies, TV shows, and graphic novels of the year. Grab a pencil—you’re going to want to write down some titles of work to seek out.
Then, we talk with the one and only Cheryl Strayed about what it was like to turn her memoir Wild into a film starring Reese Witherspoon. In this interview, Strayed talks about feminism, Hollywood, and her hatred of high heels.
Individual show segments and more ways to listen are below the cut!
If you’ve been paying any attention to the news, you know that the last few months have been a hard time to be a geek girl. Media critics and gamers who have spoken up about sexism in the video game industry have been subjected to online harassment that has escalated into death threats. People who care about pop culture and video games—as well as other geeky pursuits like comics and tabletop games—have devoted a ton of emotional energy to dealing with these aggressive haters. So for today’s show, we’re flipping the script. Instead of giving all this nastiness any more of our time and energy, we’re focusing on six women who are doing awesome work to make geek culture better.
We take a trip to a Magic: The Gathering tournament, get a download from hip-hop artist Sammus about how to turning classic video game soundtracks into brand-new beats, hear game designer Elizabeth Sampat break down sexist myths about women in the video game industry, listen to a Destination DIY profile of an artist who lasercuts mobiles of internet memes, and sit down with nerd-rock sister duo The Doubleclicks to talk about making bad news into heart-warming songs.
This episode of Popaganda is sponsored by If Only Cats Could Talk, an experimental film documenting the true story of two all-American cats eager to explore the world beyond domesticated life.
Individual show segments and more ways to listen are below the cut!
Why do we fear change? Revision is essential to the work of writers, artists, musicians, and activists. On this episode inspired by Bitch's current print issue, we explore revision in three different artistic mediums. First, we talk with writer Stephanie Abrahamabout how the star of classic sitcom "I Dream of Jeannie" morphed from a Baghdad-born genie to a mainstream Florida housewife. Then, we sit back and listen to Hrishikesh Hirway of the podcast Song Exploder talk with musician Julia Holter about how she puts together a song. Finally, Bitch Media's Art Director Kristin Rogers Brown discusses designing magazine covers and what to do when good art ideas go horribly wrong.
Discussions of sex work often get mired in a couple basic questions: is it "good" or "bad"? Are sex workers empowered or not? But sex workers are a diverse group—their experiences aren't all good or bad. On this show, we try to reframe the issue by exploring the legal and financial realities of sex work.
For example: How does a dominatrix do her taxes? What kinds of healthcare do sex workers need? How would decriminalizing sex work change peoples’ lives?