Six Favorite Podcasts of 2021 | Sarah Boslaugh

Photo by Stephan Ridgway on Wikimedia Commons

Pandemic restrictions and podcasts just seem to go together. Maybe it’s because podcasts offer a way to broaden your horizons, and hear new voices and ideas, without exposing yourself or anyone else to potentially deadly germs. In any case, I’ve been listening to more podcasts than ever this year, and my subscription list just keeps growing.

A word of explanation: these are all podcasts I discovered this year, but in the way that Columbus discovered America—they’re new to me, even if they’ve been in existence for years.

Burn It All Down: Five fierce and very accomplished women (Shireen Ahmed, Amira Rose Davis, Brenda Elsey, Lindsay Gibbs, and Jessica Luther) offer a fresh and much-needed feminist perspective on sports. Sports coverage in America is not just primarily about men’s sports, it’s also created primarily by white men, and the result is a ridiculously limited range of views from mainstream outlets—to which Burn it All Down offers the perfect antidote. The hosts are also a lot of fun to listen to, and they celebrate the good just as much as they call out the bad.

Full Time with Meg Linehan: This may not be the only podcast devoted entirely to women’s football (a.k.a. soccer in the U.S.), but it’s the only one I am aware of. Meg’s beat at The Athletic includes the USWNT, the NWSL, and women’s football internationally, and she really knows her stuff. What you get on this podcast includes technical analysis of games, the latest news from the soccer world and examination of social and cultural issues surrounding the sport (one of my favorite episodes, with guest Marcus Thompson, discusses the shadiness of youth soccer in the U.S. and why the USWNT is still so white).

Half In, Half Out: When I heard this was Morgan Hurd’s favorite podcast, I had to check it out, and I’m glad I did. It’s not often you find a podcast that does something unique, but this one does: It’s the only LGBTQ+ podcast about gymnastics, hosted by Blake and Kino. Both are great fans of the sport, and while their primary focus is LGBTQ+ issues in gymnastics, they talk about a lot of other gymnastics-related things as well (because, goodness knows, there’s plenty to talk about).

My Spooky Gay Family: Take five siblings, four of whom are gay, raise them in a haunted house, and the result is bound to be interesting. In this case, two of the siblings, drag queen Pissi Myles and writer Sam Baxter, started this podcast, which discusses all things spooky, from horror movies to true crime to paganism to paranormal experiences and urban legends. Unfortunately, they stopped producing new episodes in December, due to the hosts being too busy with other projects, but there’s a back catalogue of 110 episodes available for your enjoyment.

Horror Queers: There’s plenty queer about horror, and hosts Joe Lipsett and Trace Thurman are masters of finding and explicating the LGBTQ+ and camp aspects of movies you’ve probably never considered in that light before. They’re also great at explaining technical details about how movies work (Joe’s background is in Film Studies) and have a diverse selection of guests (that’s where I first heard Pissi Myles, for instance).

Think Like an Economist: OK, I had to slip a serious one in there. Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers are Economics professors at the University of Michigan who have a genius for explaining economic concepts in simple language (I can think of some politicians who should be listening, but I suspect they remain ignorant because they want to). They’re also role models for a shared earning/shared parenting relationship (they’re unmarried partners raising two children). | Sarah Boslaugh

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