Meet self-proclaimed “Feminasty” Erin Gibson and “Homosensual” Bryan Safi, two comedians who take a “weekly look at all the issues important to ladies and gays…and treat them with much less respect than they deserve.” These are the hosts of the sarcasm-dripping, startling-laughter-in-public inducing feminist podcast Throwing Shade, a sometimes problematic, ranty, usually extremely relevant, sometimes incredibly not, glorious hour-long event that the media gods have graced us with on this here patriarchally-dominated earth. Their weekly topics of pertinent issues cast a wide, intersectional feminist net, ranging from various weekly discussions on the absurd, bigotry-ridden, ludicrous “bathroom laws” popping up across the nation and creating further discriminatory barriers for the transgender community, issues of the sexist wage gap stemming from a discussion of X-Files’ Gillian Anderson’s fight to be paid as much as her male co-star, and other less discussed topics like the appalling state of childcare in our country and its affect on families, providers, and children. The duo has no filter, and do not discriminate on their attackees, ranging from pop culture figures like Sam Smith and Gloria Steinem to political figureheads including various racist/homophobic/sexist/etc. governors and state officials, political candidates, corporations, and high schoolers (aren’t they just the worst?).
I am drawn to this podcast in ways I can identify and others that I can’t. Do I just want to be befriended by them, brought into the studio for some quality patriarchy-bashing fun, throw out the f-bomb x 200 and go on passionately-charged rants, while simultaneously delivering inappropriate puns and stories about cute dogs? Well, yes, this is what I always desire. In reality, I am extremely interested and drawn to Gibson and Safi’s use of organic and witty humor as a platform for these extremely pertinent issues relevant to my world, my body, and my soul, along with those who are oppressed in the multiple and various ways in our society. By delivering their anecdotes and winding rants with an element of humor, combining them with evidence of statistics, quotes, and background of actions committed by specific groups and people, the podcast creates an important persuasive message for its listeners.
Yet, as much as I drool and obsess over Throwing Shade, its hosts, and their topics, I don’t find myself listening tension-free. They are both well-educated on feminist history and notions, but I feel as if they play a big part in perpetuating white feminism. They speak candidly to their experiences, both from towns in Texas, Safi openly gay and Gibson able to unflinchingly share sexual and romantic experiences. Still, they are both cisgender white folks, and that can be limiting on the various topics that are of need of serious discussion and critical thinking, especially involving such things as the criminalization of specific identities. Another major issue in need of criticism was one only recently brought to my attention by a friend- the appropriation of the term “throwing shade.” Traditionally, the term was developed by black gay men as part of a language cultivated and used to express themselves, as well as to challenge the stereotypes promoted by white gay men and straight black communities respectively. It would be nice to see recognition of this misuse of a vernacular from the podcast and its hosts, and consider a name change- since the use of the term is one in which they lack cultural connection or, presumably, historical understanding of.
Despite this, I freakin love the sometimes raunchy, intelligent, anti-humor Erin and Bryan bring to this podcast and how it makes me both cringe, chuckle, gasp, and want to rage against the freakin government/patriarchy/constructed societal roles/etc. Praise consciousness-raising.