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Top 7 French Feminist podcasts

March 10, 2020

C’est le mois de la femme! We’re celebrating International Women’s Month this March with a series of articles about French feminism. Are you a fan of feminist podcasts like “2 Dope Queens,” “The History Chicks,” or “Call Your Girlfriend”? You’ll be happy to know that ever since France’s #MeToo Movement (called #balancetonporc), French feminist podcasts have become more and more popular! They’re a great way for students to practice French and learn about social issues in contemporary francophone culture. And even if you’re just beginning to learn the language, you can still listen to episodes that are released in both French and English, like “La Poudre”! 

By Sophia Millman

 

Les Couilles sur la table

couilles sur la table
Hosted by Victoire Tuaillon, “Les Couilles sur la table” (in English: “Testicles on the Table”) is often as funny as its title suggests. Tuaillon considers what it means to be “masculine” in this day and age, and explores gender issues in surprising and entertaining ways. Starting with a question as simple as, “Why do men love cars?”, Tuaillon brings in a sociologist, author, or even comedian and explores the question with them in depth. What’s so interesting about Tuaillon’s show is that she interviews men as often as women, asking the men at the end of the episode if they would calls themselves feminists. Listeners will be surprised by the range of answers provided!

Episode length: 50 minutes

Where you can find it: Binge Audio and on iTunes

Our favorite episodes: Episode 39 (Parler comme un homme), Episode 34 (Jacquie, Michel et les autres), Episode 24 (Les orgasmes masculins), Episode 4 (Masculinités noires)

 

Mansplaining


Every other Wednesday, journalist Thomas Messias releases an episode of “Mansplaining” that examines male privilege through a cultural lens. Side note: there’s actually a French word for “mainsplaining” and it’s mecspliquer. It’s a portmanteau composed of expliquer (to explain) and mec (the French slang word for man). Messias’s podcast is a great introduction to issues surrounding gender in France, and, on top of that, it introduces listeners to a variety of French films. The episodes are also quite short, which makes them ideal for French learners. 

Episode length: 15 minutes

Where you can find it: Slate and on iTunes

Our favorite episodes: Episode 2 (Le corps des mecs, tout le monde s’en fout), Episode 5 (En finir avec les bandes de potes), Episode 21 (Dans la tête de Jean-Marie Bigard), Episode 31 (Julien Clerc, Michel Sardou, Cookie Dingler: ces chansons faussement féministes) 

 

Miroir, Miroir 

miroir miroir
Hosted by Jennifer Padjemi, “Miroir, Miroir” invites listeners to consider taboos surrounding the female body and to question the body’s representation in popular culture. “Miroir, Miroir” empowers listeners by deconstructing false feminine ideals (to be thin, white, heterosexual etc.). You’ll learn about grossophobie (the social stigma surrounding obesity) as well as how society treats disabled bodies. Padjemi also explore topics like the relationship women of color have with their hair as well as why there’s so much shame surrounding the vagina. Ultimately, you’ll come away these episodes being more kind to yourself and to others. 

Episode length: 30 minutes

Where you can find it: Binge and on iTunes

Our favorite episodes: Episode 3 (Quand le handicap invisibilise la personne), Episode 13 (Cheveux crépus, une coiffure à soi), Episode 14 (Dis moi qui n’est pas la plus belle), Episode 24 (Le mythe de la Parisienne) 

 

La poudre

la poudre
In 2016, former Elle editor Lauren Bastide launched Nouvelles Ecoutes, a company that produces feminist podcasts. The first show she hosted was “La Poudre,” which has become the most famous feminist podcast in France. For one hour, Bastide interviews an author, artist, politician or celebrity, asking her if she considers herself a feminist and why. “La Poudre” has gained international recognition, and most episodes are now produced in both French and English, which makes the show perfect for French learners! Each season also comes with a few fun bonus episodes like “La Poudre lit,” in which Bastide’s guests recommend their favorite books. 

Episode length: 1 hour

Where you can find it: Nouvelles Ecoutes and on iTunes

Our favorite episodes: Episode 4 (Leila Slimani), Episode 6 (Amandine Gay), Episode 38 (Anne Hidalgo), Episode 62 (Maggie Nelson)

 

Quoi de meuf


Also produced by Nouvelles écoutes, “Quoi de meuf” is more militant than “La Poudre.” Certain episodes address topical issues like the “Ligue du LOL” scandal, while others analyze pop culture. The podcast’s host, Clémentine Gallot, often invites bloggers and other journalists to the show, and she also answers questions from listeners. Gallot values cultural diversity, and this is a great podcast to listen to if you’re interested in hearing the perspectives of women who come from a variety of different backgrounds. Gallot values le féminisme intersectionnel: that is, the way classism, homophobia, racism, and transphobia intersect with feminism. 

Episode length: 1 hour

Where you can find it: Nouvelles Ecoutes and on iTunes

Our favorite episodes: Episode 26 (Ce que le féminisme fait au dating), Episode 17 (Boys will be boys?), Episode 69 (Où est la littérature érotique féministe?)

 

Un podcast à soi

podcast à soi
The day before New York Times reporters released their investigation into the Harvey Weinstein Affair, French journalist Charlotte Bienaimé launched “Un podcast à soi.” Its title derives from Une chambre à soi, the French translation of Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own. Bienaimé weaves together women’s personal stories, excerpts from feminist literature, and academic research to explore questions related to contemporary feminism. Bienaimé also produces Les Pieds sur terre,” a French radio program inspired by This American Life. Fans of the US show will definitely enjoy the format of “Un podcast à soi,” too, since each episode centers around a specific theme, like sexual harassment or the housework gender imbalance. 

Episode length: 1 hour

Where you can find it: Arte Radio and on iTunes

Our favorite episodes: Episode 1 (Sexisme ordinaire en milieu tempéré), Episode 15 (Le Prix du sexe), Episode 18 (Sexualité des femmes, la révolution du plaisir), Episode 23 (Le pouvoir des mères)

 

Yesss


Graphic designer Anaïs Bourdet became known throughout French-speaking countries when she launched the website Paye Ta Schneck. On the site, women could publish stories about their experiences being sexually harassed in the street. Bourdet received thousands of testimonies, but eventually shut the site down because she found it too depressing. (You can listen to an interview with her about the site on Les Couilles sur la table!) Bourdet has since made a podcast that documents and celebrates women who responded to sexist attacks. Each episode follows a “warrior,” who talks about her experience in an uplifting way. 

Episode length: 45 minutes

Where you can find it: yessspodcast.fr and on iTunes

Our favorite episodes: Episode 14 (Warriors et bouffe), Episode 17 (Warriors en grandes écoles)

 

Other podcasts you might like:

Les amours de Zoé: In brief 3-minute episodes, 30-years-old Zoe talks intimately about her life and sexuality. 

Exhale: One of the first podcasts dedicated to black francophone women. Once a month, hosts Marty and Adama address themes related to health, sexuality and the work-life balance. 

La menstruelle: This podcast is devoted entirely to les règles (your period). What’s normal? Why are they sometimes irregular? Why is the period so taboo?