Feminist Radio with Michelle Funk

By Mona Malacane

Unfortunately, there are those in the popular media who have some serious misconceptions about feminism. Take, for instance, Farrah Abraham, who confused it with being feminine and/or lesbian… She probably should have been listening to Michelle Funk’s feminist radio segment called “Listen Up, A Feminist Perspective” for a good dose of education.

feminism gif

No, this is not feminism.

If you were in Bloomington this summer you may have been lucky enough to catch it. It aired on Thursdays during the WIUX radio show “Just Brewed,” which was hosted by Michelle’s boyfriend Stephen and his friend Tyler. “Just Brewed” featured music, news, sports, interviews with local musicians, cooking, and Michelle’s 10-15 minute quick lesson on the feminist topic of the week. Michelle wanted to discuss feminist issues because (a) she is a feminist herself, and (b) because she believes that “there aren’t many ways to talk about feminism without sounding like you’re trying to put the listener in school, especially when it is a foreign idea to a lot of people.”

The big scary feminist of WIUX.

The topic of feminism can be difficult to discuss without sounding, in Michelle’s words, “preachy.” As a listener of the show, I found the issues she covered to be relatable and pretty darn interesting. The first week, she wanted to start off with “a good beginners lesson in feminism” so she discussed the “he’s a stud, she’s a slut” concept. Also known as the double standard, it is the idea that it is socially acceptable for men to have a lot of casual sex while women who do this are often referred to as “sluts.” During this segment she also touched on the topic of slut-shaming, the admonition of female sexuality that is perceived to be too sexual.

 The second week, Michelle talked about friendzoning, defined as “putting someone in a place where you would never date them but you would only be friends.” Michelle explains that “the problem arises when people (usually males) get upset about being in the friend zone because they feel entitled to a sexual/romantic relationship with the person after having been nice to them for so long.” This phenomenon is very succinctly summed up by the adage:  “a girl isn’t a vending machine you can put kindness coins into until sex falls out.”

“Just Brewed”

She also discussed the Steubenville rape case where media coverage of sexual assaults involving athlete perpetrators was an issue – something Michelle’s has been studying in one of her research projects. Oftentimes rape cases with high profile athlete perpetrators garner a lot of media attention and sensationalizing, which can be a double-edged sword: it is good because it gets the public involved in the discourse but harmful as the coverage is often “full of victim blaming and also reinforces the notion that most rape is serial rape… when really it is often [committed by] people you know.” She ended her radio stint with a confab of boobs and how breastfeeding in public is considered “inappropriate” by some, mainly because breasts have become sexualized into “objects of male desire more than what they are actually [biologically] for.”

Although she would have liked to discuss pornography and how the “sexual dialogue we have in the real world can be influenced by the media,” Michelle understands that the radio is not the best medium for these topics. Instead she posts on her blog, which you can visit here . By discussing feminist topics on her blog, she keeps the subject of feminism more conversational instead of being a unidirectional, “preachy” voice.

Although the segment was sometimes cut short and aired just four times (she had to jump on a cruise to Italy y’all!), Michelle wants to use the experience as a jumping off point for her own podcast.

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