This is the first installment in our new interview series, Young People Doing Stuff. We’re going to focus on young people making things happen for themselves, by themselves, with knowledge they worked to acquire. If you know of someone doing something that needs some recognition, email us.
Conversations around feminism and patriarchy are usually reserved for classroom talk at liberal arts colleges where professors of Gender and Women Studies are leading the conversation. And once the period ends, so does the discussion. The Left Ovaries, however, are looking to change that and keep the conversation going.
Who are The Left Ovaries? It’s the kick-ass, extremely clever, name for a feminist podcast made up of 6 twenty-something women tackling both personal and shared issues women face daily. With only a season of airtime, they’ve already explored topics regarding pornography (“Porn-O You Didn’t”), identity intersectionality (“Is Your Feminism Intersectional?”), and patriarchy (“Fu*k Patriarchy, Get Money) in addition to other topics about what it means to be a feminist in today’s culture.
The Daily Twenties had the opportunity to chat with Bianca Rosen, a 23 year old graduate student at USF, and a member of the The Left Ovaries to get the scoop on their mode of cultural engagement.
How did it all start?
We’re all actually friends from the 6th grade. It started with the three of us: Erin Breen, Shelby McNabb and myself. We also all have sisters that are close in age, so it’s the three of us plus Erin’s sister, Claire, Shelby’s sister, Mackenzie, and my sister Bella. And we’ve all been best friends growing up.
We often found ourselves talking a lot about social issues we’re witnessing that are intertwined with gender and race and age and so many other factors. We thought, we should really start a podcast and really sit down and open these dialogues that are not solely coming from the male centered perspective that we see a lot of the time in mainstream media but really from women about women’s experiences.
On getting the ball rolling
In December 2015, I was telling a older colleague about my interests and my passion about battling gender inequality. She told me that what is most impressive to employers who are hiring is young people just going out there and starting something.
And I was thinking, I’m not going to just wait around for 20 years and hope to fall into my dream job. I want to be doing it right now. So that was the final push.
Plus my Dad is a record producer so we had the means of recording it. We figured, let’s get in the studio and do some recording and figure this out. That was January 2015 that we got the ball rolling on it and ever since it’s been going and going really well.
On how it has evolved
It definitely has evolved in that we are all struggling to find our voices as individuals. As a group we realized that when we’re talking naturally we’re always talking over each other and a lot of it is not suitable for the podcast or our audiences. So we’ve learned how to talk personally, because our podcast is rooted in personal experiences, but also professionally.
We had to learn how to be articulate but also at the same time not sound too jargon-y so people who aren’t necessarily Feminists Studies or Sociology majors can understand what we’re saying. And we really have to strike this hard balance but I really think we’ve found this voice that we’re all comfortable with and worth exploring.
How diverse is the conversation?
There’s a lot of agreement. We would probably like there to be more disagreement…I mean we don’t want to be fighting… but I think it would be interesting to see more points of view and that’s why we interview people.
And we are all white and cis-gendered people from the same demographic so we really try to acknowledge our privilege and have other people’s voices in the podcast, so we try to get different opinions that way, but in general we mostly have the same point of view. We clash maybe sometimes but rarely.
What about having a male perspective?
After our first episode a male friend approached us and asked if he could be interviewed for the show. And we found that kind of problematic. When you’re listening to a podcast with all men or you’re listening to a talkshow with all men, listeners are not like “where are the women? Where is the woman to make this a balanced conversation?”
So we haven’t had any male interviewees yet because right now we’re really focusing on people’s experiences who are left out of the dominant narrative that we see.
But we can definitely see that changing as our story evolves. For example, right now we’re working on a dating episode and we’re hoping to have someone who has experienced same-sex dating. So we’re going to have some of our male friends who date men share their experiences.
On their audience
Our audience is mostly the feminist community so we’ve gotten mostly warm reception but a lot of the time we get called out on our privilege and we always try to acknowledge and address it in our conversations but mostly we’ve had a lot of positive responses.
Our most successful social media platform is Twitter. A lot of us are constantly tapping into our networks since there’s 6 of us and we all go to different universities and programs.
We’re on iTunes and we have about 300-500 downloads per episode and we currently have 7 episodes. And our goal is to get bigger and bigger.
Where did this genius pun come from?
We thought of it when we were freshmen in high school. We made a punk band called The Left Ovaries and last year when we were thinking about a name, some brought it up and we decided that that name was gold, and we need to keep it around. So it stuck.
So what’s the future for the Left Ovaries?
We’re all passionate about the podcast and what we’re doing about battling gender inequality and just inequality in general so our hope would be to make this a career at some point. Or at least part of our careers because we all have our passions.
I’m particularly passionate about the anti-rape movement, Shelby is passionate about mobilizing women in leadership roles, so I think a lot of us want to be doing this for a while. We’re obviously doing other things at the moment, but we definitely want to see this grow to shift how people view and think about women’s experiences and influence how they’re talking about them in general.*
You can listen toThe Left Ovaries on iTunes by following this link: http://apple.co/1RaNeI6
And you can follow them on Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheLeftOvaries
And Ig: @theleftovaries
*Transcript edited for length and clarity
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