Curated by Sara Wachter-Boettcher and Katel LeDû, the hosts of Strong Feelings.
Sara Wachter-Boettcher is a consultant and author. Katel LeDû is the CEO of indie publishing company A Book Apart. Together, they’re best friends, business partners, and the hosts of Strong Feelings. Here, they share a collection of podcasts showcasing the power of female friendships.
Too sensitive. Emotional. Hysterical. Women’s feelings are often framed like weaknesses—something you’re tsk-tsked for at work and told to improve before your next review. But when you take the time to really listen to powerful women in conversation with each other, you realize that their vulnerability—their willingness to be real, to admit fear, to explore the stuff that makes them feel broken—isn’t a weakness at all. It’s actually a source of strength, the thing that allows them to face all of society’s toxic messages and trashfire politics, and come out the other side with their sense of self intact. That’s no small feat.
Take it from us: we’re ambitious, accomplished women. We run companies and keynote conferences. We can hold our own in pretty much any meeting. And we’ve also spent a lot of time crying in the bathroom. What we’ve learned is that those facts don’t stand in opposition to each other. They’re all part of building a life that’s satisfying, honest, and—at least some of the time—joyful. That’s why we started Strong Feelings: to create a space where we could process the highs and lows of our lives, and get real about everything from body image to burnout. One time, we even invited Katel’s therapist onto the show—and as a result, tons of listeners told us they felt more empowered to figure out their own mental health.
Thankfully, we’re not the only show embracing emotions right now. We put together this collection of podcasts hosted by pairs of women who aren’t just cohosts, but trusted confidantes—the kinds of friends who can say anything to each other, and who aren’t afraid to say it on the record. Whether you’re a woman or not, take a listen. Because this is what strength sounds like.
Hey, that’s us! Strong Feelings is a weekly show that digs into the intersections of work, friendship, and feminism—like what it’s like to collaborate with your friends on a book of satirical erotica, or how to deal when the worst mansplainer of all time shows up in your Twitter mentions. Each episode includes an interview with a badass woman you always wanted in your life: an author, artist, activist, or entrepreneur. We ask them how they got where they are, what they learned in the process, and what they do to find joy—even when they face backlash and BS. We like to think of it as a weekly dose of fun, feminist realtalk with the best friends you didn’t know you were missing.
One Bad Mother
We’re not parents, but we love One Bad Mother anyway (and if you’re a parent, you’ll probably love it even more). Hosts Biz Ellis and Theresa Thorn are refreshingly honest (and very funny) about the weird parts of parenting—as they say, “We aren’t all magical vessels!” One of the most amazing moments on the show was when Theresa opened up about having a gender-nonconforming child, and how she was processing the ways she needed to support her kid in truly expressing themselves.
Hosts Manoush Zomorodi and Jen Poyant used to work together on a different show: Note to Self from WNYC. But they quit their stable, interesting jobs to found a media company together, and set out on a mission to create a podcast on a brand-new, totally untested business model…involving cryptocurrency. When things don’t quite go as planned, Manoush and Jen acknowledge their challenges and open up about their fears: that they’ll go bankrupt, become bad mothers, and break their beautiful creative partnership. Plus, they do a great job explaining stuff like blockchain in ways that won’t make you feel stupid.
She’s All Fat
We’ve been trying to unlearn body issues and internalized fatphobia lately, and shows like She’s All Fat have been super helpful in the process. Hosts April K. Quioh and Sophia Carter-Kahn are dedicated to telling “fat stories from a femme perspective,” and they bring so much love and positivity to a topic that’s been treated with shame and derision for way too long. We love the way they’re willing to open up about topics like getting onstage as a fat person, handling hate mail, and finding relationships to food that aren’t rooted in diet culture.
Did we mention we love to cry? So of course we love this show hosted by writer Susan Orlean and actor Sarah Thyre. It’s all about walking toward—instead of running from—the things in art and culture that make us cry. We love that Susan and Sarah have the kind of rapport that makes you feel like you could be their best friend in an instant. And that extends to their guests, too—they invite them in right away, and make them feel comfortable being vulnerable. Also, it’s funny. Sometimes crying is funny.
No Country for Young Women
“This podcast contains the strongest possible language,” a woman in a very proper English accent warns at the top of No Country’s premiere episode. And this BBC podcast delivers on its promise. Hosts Sadia Azmat, a British comedian of Pakistani descent, and Monty Onanuga, her British-Nigerian friend, discuss everything from receiving unsolicited dick pics to observing Ramadan to exploring fetishes. We love how Sadia and Monty get real about “love and work in a white man’s world,” and take on the challenges and dilemmas of code-switching… or, as they call it, “when to switch on or off your ‘ethnic.’”
Call Your Girlfriend
Call Your Girlfriend was one of the first shows we heard where women really opened up to each other—and it’s still one of the best. Hosts Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow started the show in 2014 as a way to document their regular cross-country phone calls, and that intimacy is a huge part of what makes the show so great. What we love about CYG is the way Ann and Amina go deep on the news of the week, with a huge emphasis on feminist politics—but always from a personal, relatable perspective. Plus, they somehow got clearance to use the Robyn song as their intro music, so you’re pretty much guaranteed to want to dance while listening.
Want to create your own collection of shows that dovetails with your area of interest? Add shows to your Smart Folder on RadioPublic, then inform the Podcast Librarian of your collection: firstname.lastname@example.org.