30 July 2008

Introducing FemmeCast

FemmeCast is one of the hottest bits of fat activism I've come across in a long time. At the moment it's a podcast but it looks as though it could grow into something much more. Don't know what a podcast it? It's an audio recording, like a radio show, that you can download from the internet onto your iPod or MP3 player and listen to at your leisure. The FemmeCast is currently up to episode three, and a new one gets released every few months or so - though I wouldn't gripe if it was more regular than that.

You'd think that a podcast directed at queer fat femmes, made by a bunch of pals on the East Coast of the US, would have limited appeal, so it's a testament to the folks behind this project that they have made it accessible to and inclusive for/of people outside that milieu. Presenters and correspondents stretch Femme to the limits and demonstrate the diversity behind the label. I like that. What I also like is that listening to the podcasts make me feel as though I belong to something bigger, and that the people on the recording, some of whom are my friends, aren't so far away from me after all. It's activism that transcends geographical distance as well as identity better than many other initiatives I've seen.

In my opinion, Femmecast owes a lot to DIY, punk and zine cultures. It's rough around the edges, and that's a boon, not a criticism. It feels real, there's a lot of humour in it, and you get the feeling that anyone with a computer and a recording device could make something similar. That's only partly true, it helps if, like the FemmeCast crew, you have a firm handle on pop culture as well as piping hot politics.

I think this is the thing that makes FemmeCast rock so much, the ease with which the podcast integrates the personal and the political. A light fashion segment, for example, about wearing a bikini has rich undertones to do with how one presents a fat body to the world; another piece talks about oppression and intersectionality; presenters share stories about bitter break-ups; there's comedy and culture too, and sex, and friends, and music, and...everything.

Give your ears a treat and tune in. Instructions for doing so, and information about the production, are here: www.femme-cast.com

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