Since its first episode in 2015, The Guilty Feminist podcast has explored topics such as periods, promiscuity and activism through a feminist lens, always recorded with a live audience. It was started by comedians Deborah Frances-White and Sofie Hagen, with guest co-hosts stepping in when Hagen departed. Tonight, we have actor Susan Wokoma, who’s long been an entertaining presence on the podcast. Our guest is Stranger Things and Enola Holmes star Millie Bobby Brown, while singer-songwriter Grace Petrie closes the show.
The pros of a live podcast recording? The chance to feel part of a club, something The Guilty Feminist strives for by building in-jokes and promising the juiciest things you’re about to hear won’t make the final edit. We’re invited to share recent feminist triumphs and sing along to Petrie’s rousing anthems.
The cons? It’s not just the juicy bits that will get cut – there’s plenty of slack in any podcast recording. Your experience is also dictated by how interesting you find the episode’s guest.
There appear to be a lot of Brown’s fans in tonight. A large chunk of the show is given over to discussing her work and being a young woman in the public eye, and answering audience questions. She just turned 18 but has already produced a film and started a skincare brand alongside her acting work. She was only 12 when she decided she wanted to put the Enola Holmes books on screen (Wokoma jokes that she was busy picking scabs at that age). Until recently, Brown thought “feminist” was a bad word. Now, she’s fired up by her own experiences on male-dominated sets, being objectified by the media, and her Unicef work on girls’ education.
The Q&A segment is standard celeb interview territory but humour is sprinkled throughout. Everyone shares an “I’m a feminist but …” line (the podcast’s signature), with Brown offering: “I’m a feminist but when I’m on my period I want the day off.” We get some light Boris-bashing, plus standup from the co-hosts. Wokoma is fun and charismatic, sharing memories of her own 18th birthday and 10 moments that made her feel like an adult, from buying cutlery in Poundland to suffering her first three-day hangover. Frances-White is lighter on laughs, but draws vocal agreement replaying an encounter with a sexist film exec and she is thoughtful on why we still need feminism – and the show’s well-tested format provides plenty for the entry-level feminist.