The ladies behind the Stuff Mom Never Told You podcast are back. Caroline Ervin and Cristen Conger’s new podcast, Unladylike, dives into stories about women who break the rules. Their first episode, “How to Pay for an Abortion,” aired on Tuesday. Each episode features personal stories, in-depth research and debunking of societal norms, all with a feminist lens.
“Our goal is to contextualize and unpack [information] to educate listeners about why things are the way they are,” Ervin said. “We’re not here to tell you how to live your life or tell you how to feel or think. If we give you the tools and the information, you can empower yourself. You can make up your mind and make your own choices.”
Ervin and Conger met in college, and have been self-proclaimed work wives since they started working on Stuff Mom Never Told You together in 2011. They created Unladylike together throughout 2017 while working on their new book “Unladylike: A Field Guide to Smashing the Patriarchy and Claiming Your Space,” which will be released later this year. They stopped hosting Stuff Mom Never Told You in late 2016 because they wanted to start their own independent podcast. Ervin said it’s important for them to have creative control over their work.
“We want to walk the walk and talk the talk,” Ervin said. “We were telling women who were listening to us to own their stuff and take pride in their work and themselves. But we were working for a lot of men who had the power to tell us yes and no. It didn’t add up.”
Each episode of Unladylike features topics that are not considered typically feminine.
According to Ervin, the show’s first season will feature topics like battling street harassment, embracing body positivity and the importance of female friendship. She said Unladylike also has an episode currently in the works about domestic work, and the tension women might feel while hiring caregivers — a topic not usually discussed casually.
“We want to promote women and non-binary folks claiming their space and being proud of themselves,” said Ervin. “Cristen and I asked ourselves, what’s the point [of the show]? The point is to build empathy, to stay curious and to raise hell.”
Build empathy, stay curious and raise hell.
In the era of Trump’s presidency and the unearthing of many sexual misconduct allegations during the rise of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, Ervin said it’s easy to feel defeated. However, she feels motivated by her work and the feminist conversations Unladylike is stirring up.
“Trump getting elected and the rise of the alt-right pulled the curtain back on what was already there,” she said. “There’s always been racism, homophobia and xenophobia. But working on this podcast has been massively inspiring. We’ve basically taken it upon ourselves as our job to investigate these issues and talk to people who are doing incredible things to push back. And they always have been [pushing back], but we haven’t always been listening.”
The podcast release was less than a week ago, but Ervin said she’s blown away by the positive reception so far.
While there is a lot of groundbreaking feminist media coming to the forefront, Ervin says she hopes Unladylike is filling a necessary space.
“I think there’s still room in the podcast sphere to have a show that’s both entertaining and educational, and hopefully will inspire people to take action,” she said.
Feminism and social injustices can be hard to digest when you first learn about them. But Ervin said the earlier people begin learning about tough topics, the better.
“Many young people consider themselves feminists or liberals,” Ervin said. “But until you know the realities of these issues and hear from people who are working in those spaces, you might not be able to be as effective in the movement. We hope to be like the cool big sisters to younger folks. Our goal is to say, ‘Hey, we’re not here to judge you or tell you what to do. We want to arm you with this knowledge so you can go forward, get angry and push back if you want.'”
New episodes of Unladylike are released every Tuesday, and can be found wherever you listen to your podcasts.