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Monday April 15th

OPINION: Podcasts are insightful yet often perpetuate toxic stereotypes and agendas

<p>(Photo courtesy of <a href="" target="">Wikimedia Commons</a> / By Subashish Panigrahi / Feb. 9, 2017)</p>

(Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons / By Subashish Panigrahi / Feb. 9, 2017)

By Keasia Jenkins

Podcast culture is taking the internet by storm. From celebrities to ordinary people with a microphone, it seems as though everyone is creating podcast channels and sharing their opinions with the world.

Many different genres of podcasts touch on relationships, lifestyle choices, affirmations, inspiration, crime and so many more topics that can cater to whatever you want or need to hear at the moment. 

Though many podcasts are harmless and can offer insightful life advice, many others feed into negative or harmful stereotypes about different groups of people. Podcasts like “Emergency Meeting” and “The Pregame Live Show” feed into the idea of stereotypical gender roles. Their hosts believe that the genders should stay rigid in their boxes and that anything outside of the binary is a sign of a failing society. Such podcasts have fostered unfavorable fan bases and negatively influenced groups of young people. 

The internet is a very influential place — hence why we have influencers — that can inspire the good and bad in people. Podcasts are public forums that allow for discussion, whether it be positive or negative, and they can inspire or incite groups of people. They have demonstrated the power of words.

With this, podcasts can harmfully be used to push out any agenda that a person may have. “The Ben Shapiro Show” pushes out damaging rhetoric regarding race relations and politics in America. Anyone with an opinion can start a podcast and gain traction which is not always a good thing.

This is not to say that all podcasts are harmful, as I listen to many different ones that correspond to what I’m going through or to get general life advice. However, it seems as though the negative ones that instill harmful mindsets into young people have gained the most popularity.

Podcasts like “Whatever” and “Fresh and Fit” are two perfect examples of this platform being used for bad. Both of these podcasts spend a lot of time belittling women and pushing the idea of the “alpha man.” They persuade young boys to believe that since they’re men, they have automatic authority over a woman’s autonomy. 

Podcasts like “The Kevin Samuels Show” will even bring women on and tell them they’re not “high-value women” and communicate to their audience their idea of the perfect woman. This podcast has gone as far as to say that any woman who doesn’t meet their misogynistic criteria should be treated poorly. 

On the flip side, there are female-led podcasts where women hide behind the persona of a “life coach,” but instead of encouraging women, they tell them everything they’re doing wrong and how to properly cater to a man’s ego. This can affect a young girl's self-esteem and how she views herself, especially in her romantic relationships. 

Podcasts that are made specifically for the betterment of your well-being are the bright side of this dilemma. “Happier with Gretchen Rubin” and “Affirmations for Black Girls” lift your spirits, give you advice on how to work on your routine and help improve your mindset. 

You also have podcasts that act as relationship guides and give dating tips, such as “We met at Acme” and “Why won’t you date me?” These can direct singles and couples towards healthier relationship patterns in general.

General entertainment podcasts like “Suburb Talks” and “Bottoms Up With Fannita” can also be positive, as they cover a wide range of topics and interview influencers and celebrities for advice or opinions on mainstream topics.

Though podcasts can be a tricky platform, there is such a wide variety of them that you can find something that suits you. The toxic ones can be easily avoided; you just have to realize that the people talking are just people with opinions, and you can formulate some of your own. Podcasts are one of the better forms of entertainment. You just have to find the right one! 


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