The challenges of podcasting while female from the makers of Stuff Mom Never Told You
When Cristen Conger founded Stuff Mom Never Told You in 2009, there were very few female voices in podcasting. The two hosts of the podcast recently sat down with Podcast Playlist host Lindsay Michael. Conger said she was worried from the beginning about how a podcast with two female voices would be perceived.
"It was nerve wracking to be honest," said Conger, "women were considered 'niche' as hosts…we walked into it knowing that there would be more gendered judgements leveled against us."
She said this is why the preparation for each episode starts with extensive research. "This is something we initiated from the get-go. It was part of us developing credibility and going an extra mile to almost compensate for sexism."
"We also knew that two women talking would just be considered opinion." - Cristen Conger
This approach to research also helps Ervin and Conger remain neutral when discussing different issues. But, Ervin says that staying completely unbiased isn't always easy.
When working on an episode called Beyoncé's Feminism she said, "Even half-way into our recorded conversation about Beyoncé I was still kinda rolling my eyes. But, by the time we finished reading and researching about, not only Beyoncé as the person she is, but also her effect on people and fans and the conversation about Feminism. I was a total convert."
Both agree that podcasting has come along way in its relatively short history. Conger credits Serial as a tipping point.
"[Serial] is a general interest podcast, but it's hosted by a woman and she has a female producer that you hear from too and yet her gender doesn't play a role…there is now so much more attention to the value both for enrichment of your audience but also monetarily, of women hosted podcasts."