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The Feminist Present
62 minutes | May 4, 2022
Episode 35 - Angela Garbes
Angela Garbes is the author of Like a Mother, an NPR Best Book of the Year and finalist for the Washington State Book Award in Nonfiction. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Cut, New York, Bon Appétit, and featured on NPR's Fresh Air. On this week's episode, she and Laura laugh and cry as they discuss her new book Essential Labor, which explores care work and mothering as social change.
54 minutes | Apr 27, 2022
Episode 34 - Nell McShane Wulfhart
Nell McShane Wulfhart is a frequent contributor to the New York Times travel section and wrote the column “Carry On” from 2016-2019. She has written for Travel + Leisure, Bon Appétit, Condé Nast Traveler, The Wall Street Journal Magazine, and T Magazine. She is the author of the Audible Original Off Menu. She joins Laura to discuss her new book "The Great Stewardess Rebellion" and the untold feminist history behind flight attendants in America.
59 minutes | Apr 13, 2022
Episode 33 - Ry Russo-Young
Ry Russo-Young is an award-winning film director whose work includes the movies Before I Fall and The Sun is Also a Star. Ry joins us this week as we discuss her newest work, the three-part HBO docuseries Nuclear Family, which investigates the prolonged impact on Ry’s family of the four-year legal battle between her lesbian mothers and the sperm donor who sued them for parental rights. We talk about everything from the craft complexities of telling your family's story to the importance of honoring our queer elders.
52 minutes | Mar 16, 2022
Episode 32 - Melissa Febos
Melissa Febos is the critically acclaimed author of Whipsmart, Abandon Me, and Girlhood. She joins Laura and Adrian for a candid and captivating conversation on her newest book Body Work (out 3/16). They explore the craft and complexity of writing truthfully about our lives and loved ones.
69 minutes | Mar 2, 2022
Episode 31 - Taylor Harris
Taylor Harris is the author of the affecting memoir This Boy We Made, which details her family’s journey through the American medical system in search of a diagnosis and treatment for her son Tophs. In this discussion, we explore the function of faith, anxiety, parenthood, medical mysteries, and institutional racism. Harris’s essays have appeared in TIME, Catapult, The Washington Post, and many other publications. She teaches writing at Penn State University.
60 minutes | Feb 23, 2022
Episode 30 - Alex Marzano-Lesnevich
Alex Marzano-Lesnevich is the author of the award-winning book The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir. Alex joins TFP this week to discuss the historically controversial lesbian novel The Well of Loneliness: is it really a lesbian novel, or perhaps more of a trans novel? Have we moved beyond the tragic queer love story? And how has our interpretation of this classic text changed in the last 100 years?
61 minutes | Jan 26, 2022
Episode 29 - Moira Donegan on The Feminine Mystique
Friend of the podcast Moira Donegan is an opinion columnist for Guardian US who longtime TFP fans will remember from our first season. Moira makes a glorious return to discuss her recent deep dive into Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique.
65 minutes | Oct 27, 2021
Episode 28 - Jeanette Winterson
Jeanette Winterson CBE is the author of 27 influential feminist texts, including Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit, Sexing The Cherry, Gut Symmetries, Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal?, and most recently, 12 BYTES: Where We Might Go Next. In a special event partnering with the independent bookstores Politics & Prose and Books & Books, Jeanette joined Laura and Adrian to talk about how 12 BYTES engages feminist history in its probing consideration of artificial intelligence.
62 minutes | Jul 14, 2021
Episode 27 - Sarah Marshall + Alex Steed
Sarah Marshall and Alex Steed are the hosts of the podcast YOU ARE GOOD (formerly WHY ARE DADS), the film podcast unafraid of feelings. With Laura and Adrian, they dive into the odd complexity of REVERSAL OF FORTUNE, the 1990 film adapted from law professor Alan Dershowitz’s 1985 book.
68 minutes | Jun 30, 2021
Episode 26 - Meera Menon
Meera Menon is the director of two feature films: EQUITY (2016), starring Anna Gunn as a high-powered Wall Street broker, and FARAH GOES BANG (2013), which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and won the inaugural Nora Ephron Prize from Tribeca and Vogue (and which Meera co-wrote with one of your loyal hosts). She’s also a sought-after director in episodic television, with directing credits on Dirty John, You, The Walking Dead, The Man in High Castle, Queen of the South, Halt and Catch Fire, Snowfall, and the upcoming Ms. Marvel. Adrian and Laura made a trip down memory lane to revisit the iconic NOW AND THEN (1995) with Meera, which helped to inspire FARAH GOES BANG.
63 minutes | Jun 23, 2021
Episode 25 - Merve Emre
Merve Emre is associate professor of English at the University of Oxford. She is the author of Paraliterary: The Making of Bad Readers in Postwar America 2017), The Ferrante Letters (2019), and The Personality Brokers (2018). She is the editor of Once and Future Feminist (2018), The Annotated Mrs. Dalloway (2021), and The Norton Modern Library Mrs. Dalloway (2021). Merve chatted with Adrian and Laura about the troubled masterwork that is BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA (1992).
78 minutes | Jun 16, 2021
Episode 24 - Terry Castle
The wildly talented Terry Castle, Walter A. Hass Professor in the Humanities, has taught literature at Stanford for almost 40 years. She was once described by Susan Sontag as “the most expressive, most enlightening literary critic at large today”, and detailed her friendship with Sontag in the classic essay “Desperately Seeking Susan.” Her many books include The Literature of Lesbianism: A Historical Anthology From Ariosto to Stonewall and The Professor and Other Writings. Laura and Adrian splashed around in Terry’s deep well of Patricia Highsmith knowledge for this rousing discussion of class, race, and the queer gaze in THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY (1999).
66 minutes | Jun 9, 2021
Episode 23 - Annalee Newitz
Annalee Newitz is pretty much nerd royalty. They are the author of the novels The Future of Another Timeline and Autonomous, which won the Lambda Literary Award. As a science journalist, their work appears regularly in the New York Times and New Scientist, as well as in The Washington Post, Slate, Popular Science, Ars Technica, The New Yorker, and The Atlantic. They co-host the Hugo Award-winning podcast Our Opinions Are Correct, founded io9, and served as the editor-in-chief of Gizmodo. Annalee joined Adrian and Laura to dish about their most recent book, Four Lost Cities: A Secret History of the Urban Age: how its archaeological interpretations hearken back to their Ph.D work in literature, what lessons present cities might learn from ancient ones, and their “polyamorous” approach to working on multiple projects simultaneously.
67 minutes | Jun 2, 2021
Episode 22 - Inkoo Kang
Inkoo Kang, recently announced as the Washington Post’s newest TV critic, was also named the best critic of 2021 by the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards for her work at The Hollywood Reporter. Inkoo co-hosts the All About Almodovar podcast, and has previously written about film, TV, and culture for Slate, MTV News, Los Angeles Times, Atlantic, and many other places. Laura and Adrian had a blast watching and discussing the 2013 Swedish teen film WE ARE THE BEST! with Inkoo, veering into productive detours about benign neglect in parenting, canonical hairstyle changes, what we binge-watched as nerdy teens, and much more.
56 minutes | May 26, 2021
Episode 21 - Susan Stryker
Susan Stryker is an author, professor, filmmaker, and heroine of the trans and queer rights movement. Her extensive bibliography includes two editions of The Transgender Studies Reader and Gay by the Bay: A History of Queer Culture in the San Francisco Bay Area; her documentary films include Christine in the Cutting Room, an experimental short film about Christine Jorgensen, and most recently, The Lady and the Dale, released in early 2021 by HBO. Adrian and Laura talked to Susan about performances of gender in the triumph of cinema that is MISS CONGENIALITY (2000), focusing on its constructions of drag, queer fictive kinship, the metrosexual of the 90s-00s, and the beauty-industrial complex. Also, Laura makes a shocking confession about a secret from her past.
55 minutes | May 19, 2021
Episode 20 - DiRetrospective Pt. 2
Laura and Adrian joyfully reunite in part 2 of this guestless double-wide kickoff to The Feminist Present’s third season. And we have a new, cinematic theme! In addition to the book nerd chatter you’ve come to count on from us in the present, for this season we’re also reflecting on the past: we’ve invited a bunch of brilliant feminists to talk about ‘90s-’00s “chick flicks” with us, allowing them to define that term however they wish. We begin here with a crucial two-part deep dive into the era’s complex representations of gender: a retrospective of Leonardo DiCaprio’s iconic and iconoclastic career from 1993-1997. We journey through the eight films DiCaprio made during this groundshifting period: in part 1 we discuss This Boy’s Life, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Basketball Diaries, The Quick and The Dead, and in part 2 we cover Total Eclipse, Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet, and finally, of course, Titanic.
68 minutes | May 12, 2021
Episode 19 - DiRetrospective Pt. 1
Laura and Adrian joyfully reunite in this guestless double-wide kickoff to The Feminist Present’s third season. And we have a new, cinematic theme! In addition to the book nerd chatter you’ve come to count on from us in the present, for this season we’re also reflecting on the past: we’ve invited a bunch of brilliant feminists to talk about ‘90s-’00s “chick flicks” with us, allowing them to define that term however they wish. We begin here with a crucial two-part deep dive into the era’s complex representations of gender: a retrospective of Leonardo DiCaprio’s iconic and iconoclastic career from 1993-1997. We journey through the eight films DiCaprio made during this groundshifting period: in part 1 we discuss This Boy’s Life, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Basketball Diaries, The Quick and The Dead, and in part 2 we cover Total Eclipse, Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet, and finally, of course, Titanic.
78 minutes | Dec 9, 2020
Episode 18 - Cheryl Strayed
Cheryl Strayed is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling memoir Wild, the New York Times bestsellers Tiny Beautiful Things and Brave Enough, and the novel Torch. She’s also Laura’s favorite living author. Laura barely kept her shit together talking with Cheryl about unconditional positive regard as a feminist value, the writer as teacher, and how breadwinners can’t afford to have writers’ block.
68 minutes | Dec 2, 2020
Episode 17 - Lyz Lenz
Lyz Lenz is the author of two books, the latter of which, Belabored: A Vindication on the Rights of Pregnant Women, was released while she was fleeing an Iowa derecho mid-pandemic with her two young children. She was, until very recently, a columnist for the Cedar Rapids Gazette; her work has also appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Columbia Journalism Review, and in her popular newsletter, “Men Yell at Me.” Lyz talked to Adrian and Laura about releasing Belabored amidst multiple disasters, the hardcore survival instincts of Midwestern women, and becoming a writer on the internet.
59 minutes | Nov 25, 2020
Episode 16 - Sister Roma
Sister Roma, the “most photographed nun in the world,” has been an influential member of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence since 1987. The Sisters are an Order of queer and trans nuns that debuted in San Francisco on Easter Sunday 1979; originally formed to draw money and attention to the AIDS crisis, the Sisters have spent over four decades in radically compassionate service to, in their words, “those on the edges.” Laura and Adrian got super emotional talking to Roma about the political value of drag, how the COVID-19 pandemic recalls that of HIV/AIDS, the Sisters’ tireless support for feminist causes, and real-life Sister encounters in San Francisco.
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