Great Feminist Talks to Access Online
As feminism is such a broad-ranging topic and one that encompasses a wide variety of subjects and opinions, it can sometimes be difficult to find online feminist content that you really want to engage with. Especially over the past ten years or so, feminism has flooded popular culture (again), appearing on everything from Beyoncé’s seminal self-titled album to cheap t-shirts in H&M. This makes it more of a challenge to seek out genuinely interesting and trustworthy sources, especially when searching the world wide web, a resource well known for its unreliability and magnitude.
However, the internet has also been instrumental in distributing ideas and information to people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to access it. Whether you go online for entertainment, communication, information or creativity, there is something for everybody. It has the potential to be a fairly democratic space. Personally, I like to check out the latest headlines on BuzzFeed, catch up with distant friends, relax in the evening at PokerStarsCasino, and use Pinterest to make mood boards for my next project. The possibilities to be found online are endless, and that applies to engaging with feminism as a wider concept too. Feminism often comes from grassroots movements which have found the internet an invaluable tool in coming together and disseminating their message further.
Here we’ll take a look at some of the best feminist conversations that you can access online, without having to think about travelling or paying any money.
TED.com is a fantastic resource for talks on all sorts of subjects. There is a massive online library of videos to watch as well as podcasts, blog posts and even e-books.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – We Should All Be Feminists
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian novelist whose 2012 TEDx talk titled ‘We Should All Be Feminists’ has been viewed over 5 million times on YouTube; the transcript was published as a book in 2014 and was met with rave reviews from critics. Her 2009 TED talk ‘The Danger of a Single Story’ has been viewed over 20 million times on TED.com.
‘We Should All Be Feminists’ is a great introduction to the concept of feminism, how it fits into everyday life and into society as a whole. Adichie speaks from her own experience growing up in Nigeria and links this to a wider discourse about feminism and gender in Africa, and in the world at large. She speaks about discovering other people’s attitudes to the concept of feminism and about her realisation that she, herself, is a feminist.
Roxane Gay – Confessions of a Bad Feminist
Writer Roxane Gay is perhaps most famous for her 2014 collection of essays, ‘Bad Feminist’. In this, her TED talk from 2015, she dissects her own use of that phrase, ‘bad feminist’, and looks at how all types of feminism should be encouraged and embraced.
She highlights all the ways in which she, as a woman and a feminist, feels under pressure to behave in order to be seen as ‘doing it right’. Gay discusses the current habit of grading people’s feminism according to ever-changing sets of rules and the eagerness with which feminists in the public eye are branded ‘bad’ or lacking in some way. It’s an interesting look at how the term ‘feminist’ can and is weaponised against people who are simply trying their best in a society that is constantly stacked against them.
Whether you use Apple’s Podcast app, Google Podcasts, or a website’s online player, podcasts are a great way to enter the discussion.
The Guilty Feminist
The Guilty Feminist podcast was created in 2015 by comedian Deborah Frances-White and Sofie Hagen; it is now hosted by Frances-White and a changing rota of guest hosts. Similar to Roxane Gay’s TED talk about being a ‘bad feminist’, the premise of the podcast is to discuss all of the transgressions that people make from being a ‘good feminist’ including hair removal, subscribing to stereotypes and weight loss or gain. You can access every episode at The Guilty Feminist website or through the usual podcast channels.
Feminist Frequency Radio
Feminist Frequency is an NPO that has grown exponentially since founder Anita Sarkeesian first started producing videos under the name in 2009. It now includes video series, podcasts, resources for media makers and blog posts under its umbrella. One podcast, Feminist Frequency Radio, is a weekly discussion between three hosts – Anita Sarkeesian, Carolyn Petit, and Ebony Aster – about the latest movies, TV and games from a feminist perspective. It celebrates the progress being made in the media and offers constructive criticism about how other areas could change for the better.
The resources spoken about in this article are regularly updated with new episodes and new talks, and so represent a continuation of the modern discussion around global feminism. To supplement these short episodes of information you can also access full-length feminist documentaries like ‘Miss Representation’ and ‘Feminists: What Were They Thinking?’ through progressive online streaming services like Netflix and YouTube.