Escaping the Manosphere One Podcast at a Time

(Jonathan Valasquez/Unsplash.)

Many young men today are facing a crisis of masculinity, which has prompted many to turn to the internet as a source of escape, validation and community. These keyboard warriors have spawned across all social media platforms, from Reddit to TikTok, and have established movements that decry feminism and validate sexist opinions. Dubbed the “manosphere,” this online world blames women for the challenges men face and is a cesspool of toxic masculinity, victim complexes and overall dehumanization of women and non-cisgendered-heterosexual men. 

These strange, disturbing subcommunities include all types of misogynist rhetoric, all of which share the sentiment of male victimhood. Many of these communities, such as incels and self-proclaimed “men’s rights activists,” criticize modern feminism as an institution that has decreased male power within society and thereby victimizes men. 

These videos by manosphere influencers, such as Andrew Tate, are almost humorous in their over-the-top rhetoric and content, but it’s also shockingly scary that these influencers are shaping young boys and men. The impact goes beyond just spreading offensive misogynist ideas. There is a link between the “manosphere” and right-wing extremism. There are several instances in which young men who were radicalized by online rhetoric inflicted real-world violence upon victims, often women. In 2020, a San Bernadino man, who was a prominent men’s rights activist online, murdered two people when targeting a female judge.

Podcasting has become a popular medium for men’s rights activists to spread superficial “hustle” culture and misogynist ideas. If you tune into these podcasts, such as “Fresh and Fit,” hosted by Walter “Fresh” Weeks and Myron “Fit” Gaines, you can get generic financial and fitness tips— with a side of sexism. “Fresh and Fit” often invite female guests, many of whom are models and sex workers, to humiliate them and insist that they “deserve less” because of their work. They even published a book, “Why Women Deserve Less,” which, if you couldn’t tell from the title, is about why women should earn less and are using men for money. 

Even one of the most popular shows on the podcast charts, “The Joe Rogan Experience,” is part of this manosphere. Although Joe Rogan’s podcast is more tame than the constant barrage of sexism spewed by other podcasts, he has made several sexist and racist remarks in the past, comparing a Black neighborhood to “Planet of the Apes,” lamenting about white male victimhood and laughing as a guest bragged about conducting quid pro quo sexual assault. He has also invited problematic guests, such as the leader of the Proud Boys, a neo-fascist hate group that participated in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, who claimed that his feature on “The Joe Rogan Experience” boosted recruitment numbers. Joe Rogan has been rewarded for his problematic behavior, attracting a mostly white, male audience with a $100 million deal with Spotify.

As an avid podcast listener and feminist, I know the absurdity of these types of podcasts is ridiculous but also harmful. Of course, it is nothing new that extremist and harmful ideas are present on social media; however, it is frustrating when they enter the mainstream. If you want to protest the popularity of manosphere podcasts, there are plenty of other good listening options to support. Here are some of my favorite podcasts that celebrate female empowerment and gender inclusivity to help you escape the nastiness of the manosphere.

Stuff Mom Never Told You

I’ve been a longtime listener of this podcast, and the hosts Anney Reese and Samantha McVey use intersectional feminism to examine culture, history and science. This podcast highlights the experiences and stories of women and other marginalized groups. One of my favorite things about this podcast is that it features stories I’ve never heard about, such as the story of Sissiertta Jones, the first Black woman to headline a concert at Carnegie Hall.

Call Her Daddy

This is another podcast that I’ve been a fan of for a long time . The show has faced controversy in the past for perpetuating sexist stereotypes and offensive comments, but it has undergone a transformation for the better and its new content is much more inclusive. “Call Her Daddy” is the most listened-to podcast by women, and the host, Alex Cooper, has shattered the glass ceiling in podcasting by signing a $60 million 3-year deal with Spotify. Cooper interviews female celebrities and shares her own experiences regarding dating, navigating female friendships and the overall experiences of being a woman in her 20s. This podcast uses comedy to break down the stigma around sexuality and mental health. Cooper has also tackled serious topics such as sexual harassment, homophobia and online bullying through her interviews and personal stories.

The Mel Robbins Podcast 

The host, Mel Robbins, is a famous and accomplished writer whose advice and self-help books, “The Five Second Rule”’ and “The High Five Habit,” have led her to become a New York Times bestseller and have one of the most watched TED Talks ever. Robbins interviews a variety of guests spanning from medical professionals to psychologists to discuss relatable topics such as relationships, mental health and procrastination in an honest way and gives science-backed tips to her listeners. Robbins’s honesty and vulnerability in sharing her experiences is refreshing. Her wisdom on overcoming imposter syndrome, navigating your 20s and healing have helped me immensely.

Binchtopia

Hosts Eliza McLamb and Julia Hava are both young podcast hosts who are hilarious and have really insightful views on culture, politics and society. They use sociological and psychological perspectives on a variety of topics ranging from serious ones, such as reproductive rights and diet culture, to much lighter ones, such as horse girls and furries. This podcast is one of my recent favorites, and I find their commentary both hilarious and educational. Their discussion about the Manosphere inspired this article, so you should definitely check it out! 

Why Won’t You Date Me

Nicole Byer is the host of this podcast and a self-professed “perpetual singleton.” Byer’s podcast is refreshingly sex-positive and invites her friends and fellow comedians to share their crazy dating stories. I was introduced to “Why Won’t You Date Me” through her interview on “Call Her Daddy,” and I was drawn to Byer’s wit and personality. Women of color are underrepresented in the podcasting sphere, and this podcast is breaking old norms by openly talking about dating as a Black woman.

I hope this list of podcasts inspires you to give them a listen and boost female-led podcasting. There are so many great options to escape the podcast manosphere – and expand your worldview in the process! 

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