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The Female Perspective: Podcasts, My New Love

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


After a week off due to a really persnickety migraine, I am back with a blog this week! I wanted to spend a little bit chatting about some of my favorite podcasts because guess what, I really did just discover them! I know I’m a bit behind but as a writer and transcriptionist, I don’t have time during the work day to listen to podcasts and when I drive or exercise outdoors I like to rock out with some awesome tuneage.

What happened was that with the winter weather I started exercising indoors and all of a sudden I realized I could finally listen to the podcast my super cool friends have been talking about, Serial. I was instantly hooked on it. Though you will notice that Serial is not on my list. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great program and I am very much enjoying the 2nd season’s delving into the Bo Bergdahl case, but Serial has plenty of airplay and I wanted to focus on 2 very cool and possibly kind of unknown podcasts that I have been really enjoying.

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The 2 podcasts I talk about below I find interesting for 2 reasons;

  1. I am a writer so anything that gives me insight into the human brain is fascinating to me. Both of these podcasts talk about people, technology, the mingling of the two as well as dealing with the life around us in an informative and fun way.
  2. They host(s) are not annoying or rude. They are respectful to their guests and they ask really great questions, not the typical boring interview questions and what’s more, they listen to what their subjects have to say. In all my transcription work I can tell you that is a rarity. So many interviewers interrupt their subject and that, in my humble opinion, is really annoying.

Anyway, here are my 2 favorite podcasts!

Reply All

"Reply All" - a podcast about the internet ... and so much more!
“Reply All” – a podcast about the internet … and so much more!

Part of Gimlet Media, Reply All is a fun podcast that’s about technology and how we use it in our lives every day. Hosted by PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman, it was launched in 2014 and claims to be about “the internet” (yep, that’s all they’ll say, that it’s about the internet) but the fact is, it’s about so much more than that. I heard about it while listening to the classic of all podcasts, This American Life and had to check it out.

I recently just listened to an episode where one of the hosts and a friend take micro doses of LSD and it is utterly fascinating. Not because they get tripped out and stupid, but because of their amazingly long thought process about if they should even take the LSD (they do it to see if they can “unlock a better version of themselves”) and their fear around doing so. I won’t ruin the episode for you but it’s really good and fun. I also learned that there is an entire website devoted to helping people who are tripping out handle their high and stay calm. Who knew!?!?!

Reply All is about the internet and what it does for us and how it harms us (the Yik Yak episode is a poignant reminder of the damage words can do, but also how words can help) and how we, as internet consumers, can do a better job of utilizing the technology at our fingertips.

Death, Sex & Money

"Death, Sex & Money" hosted by Anna Sale
“Death, Sex & Money” hosted by Anna Sale

The other podcast I wanted to mention was actually recommended via Reply All and I am glad I checked it out. Death, Sex and Money is fantastic! Hosted by Anna Sale, she has that ability to really talk to people and help them to open up about (what else!?) death, sex and money. As Sale says, her podcast is “about the big questions and hard choices that are often left out of polite conversation.”

She did a fantastic series of episodes from New Orleans on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Sale hosted 5 episodes about all different aspects of the Hurricane and ensuing aftermath. She talked to a rapper, a doctor, a coroner and more about what Katrina did to their lives and how they continue to work through the trauma that disaster caused them. Well worth a listen. If you’re interested, click here for the first episode of her “In New Orleans” series.

Sale also did a poignant episode with Dr. Jonathan Clark. If you don’t know who he is, he is the husband of astronaut Dr. Laurel Clark, who was lost in the Columbia shuttle disaster in 2003. As I pumped away on my elliptical machine, I started to cry as he recounted the day she died. An amazing 30 minutes of podcasting about death and starting over.

Sale has a natural ability to get to the nitty gritty of the “stuff” we may not want to talk about, money, sex, death and all that goes into those discussions. Death, Sex & Money is well worth your valuable time if you want to hear how other people handle those conversations.

Both of these podcasts are available for download and have new episodes coming out weekly. I started at the beginning for both and have been enjoying catching up as I make my way through the treasure trove of shows. If you are looking for some new entertainment on that long commute or during your exercise time, check out Reply All and Death, Sex &  Money, then come back and tell me how you liked them!

What podcasts do you enjoy? Let me know in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: Call Her Caitlyn and Treat Her Like a Woman! Sounds Good in Theory.

Welcome! This is a Tri-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.

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A beautiful, powerful woman.
A beautiful, powerful woman.

I felt the need to jump on the Caitlyn Jenner/Bruce Jenner story this week because of one video I saw from the ever awesome Jon Stewart. He made a point that even I missed.

In case you haven’t seen it:

http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/oekklq/brave-new-girl

Thank you, once again, Jon Stewart for bring to light the fact that now that Bruce has become her true self, she is no longer a strong, powerful athlete, she is now a woman and is subject to the appraisals and judgments that all women face. Welcome Caitlyn. It’s annoying and it kind of sucks.

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Steward also makes an amazing point, not only is the media comparing Caitlyn to other women, but the media is making sure to take down other women all at the same time. Way to go. And yes, they are awful.

I personally feel that what Jenner has done is extremely brave and a step forward for all Transgender people. They are often forgotten in the minefield that is American culture today. So wrapped up in civil rights for all races, for women and for homosexuals that we have forgotten this segment of the rich and beautiful place called America. Transgendered folks pick possibly one of the hardest paths to follow with no reward other than their own personal body and mind freedom (which, don’t get me wrong, is HUGE). A transgender person gets shunned out of using a bathroom for fear of…what exactly? What do people think is going to happen to them in a bathroom? Peeing? Pooping? Is the transgender going to “rub off” somehow?

The fact is, as much as I detest all things Kardashian, I applaud Caitlyn Jenner for her bravery and her openness about her new body and her new life. I wish her only good things and I truly hope that she (along with women like Laverne Cox) continue to pave the way for all of the transgender community. They are brave in a way that I cannot even fully fathom. Let’s treat them as the powerful souls they truly are.

Now, if only the media could stop treating women, all women, like pieces of meat to be fawned over and judged. I am sick and tired of watching them tear down women in the name of “complimenting” other women. I find the Jenner transition fascinating because we can actually see the divide between men in the media and women in the media epitome in one person. Before becoming Caitlyn, Bruce Jenner was a highly respected athlete, a powerful man who people respected and spent time discussing his power and his athletic ability. Now, as Caitlyn, Jenner is held up to a totally different standard. How good she looks, who she look better than and so on and so forth.

It’s disgusting.

But how do we stop it? The sad and simple answer is that we cannot. We cannot control the media or the narrative. What we can do is to not do to each other what the media does to us. We can talk about a woman in terms of her athletic prowess, her power and her strength while also talking about her beauty and we can treat men the same way because honestly, men are beautiful too. We just cannot possibly call them that for fear of making them look, sound or feel “too feminine.”

This double standard has to stop.

For now though, I applaud Caitlyn Jenner and wish her well on her new life.

What do you think about the whole Caitlyn Jenner story? Is Jon Stewart right? Is there a way to change the narrative in the media about women? Sound off in the comments!

A reminder to those pigheaded enough to not be able to see Jenner as anything but a man.
A reminder to those pigheaded enough to not be able to see Jenner as anything but a man.