Hysteria Podcast From Crooked Media
What Is Hysteria?
Hysteria is defined in the dictionary as “exaggerated or uncontrollable emotion or excitement, especially amongst a group of people”. Given this textbook definition, Hysteria is also the perfect choice of name for a brand new podcast offering from Crooked Media.
Hysteria, the podcast, is hosted by Erin Ryan and co-hosted by rotating sets of women in respective bi-coastal groupings. They are comedians, filmmakers, advocates and more and they tackle today’s most pressing issues for women in a raucous yet highly-informed manner.
The entire group is sharp with their commentary and equally as adept with the comedic one-liners, allowing for much-needed sanity breaks when mired in topics that can often become depressing to think about.
There is urgency in their discussions and undeniable strength and resolve in their stances on the varying topics they cover like Justice Kennedy’s retirement, family separations at the borders, Melania Trump, Roseanne Barr and more.
Unintended Audience, Maybe?
I am pretty sure the creators of Hysteria did not intend for someone like me to be a typical member of the audience, being a suburban white male. The co-hosts are unwavering in their staunch advocacy for groups that have been disenfranchised and sling fierce critiques to anyone that they view as an impediment to women’s rights.
While I may not fall into the category of the target audience for Hysteria, I needed to hear this debut episode. I needed to listen, not as someone interested in doing a review, but as a married white male and father to a young son.
I can acknowledge it is all too easy for me to bury my head in the sand when topics get too depressing to face. My gender and my race often afford me the opportunity to wall off emotionally and stay within a white dude bubble when the world gets a bit too painful to bear.
Listening to Hysteria was my stark reminder that there are entire swaths of the population that can never be afforded such a cocoon of denial as a retreat, for their gender and or race will never allow it.
The Aunt Marge Of Podcasts
When I pondered in my head how to approach this review for Hysteria, the gravity of the show felt like it demanded more from me than simply paying some compliments to the formatting and flow of discussion, all tightly packaged, compelling, and funny to boot, by the way.
I had to be able to convey the social conscience that permeated the show through the knowledge, passion, and principles of the hosts.
Lying in bed after listening to the debut episode, ruminating a possible approach while preparing for a night’s sleep, a thought struck my brain with immediacy and clarity. Hysteria is the Aunt Marge of podcasts. Clearly mentioning my Aunt Marge as a reference point for the potential impact of this show does nothing for you at the moment but please do hang in there with me and I shall explain.
My aunt Marge is my Godmother, but beyond that, she is quite simply a badass. She is an unabashed feminist. She was a social justice warrior before the term was coined. She is a mother who founded and launched her own business, a non-denominational ministry, which grew successfully for decades until she retired on her own terms and turned the business over to trusted friends.
She fights for others and lends her voice to the voiceless. My Aunt Marge has an unending amount of compassion, but will also skewer anyone who stands in her way, all the while with the most amazing sense of humor and smile.
Some of my more formative moments in life, when I began to grow slightly outside of my own ego and see the world beyond my own needs and desires, took place during holiday meals in the presence of my Aunt Marge.
I was a kid who grew up in the 70’s and 80’s and while things had certainly progressed in society past the Jim Crow laws and women not voting, us kids in that era were still subjected to long-standing, societal conditioning surrounding certain segments of the population.
My Aunt Marge, in her unique and loving manner, was an outspoken and vocal proponent in providing compassion for all and fighting for those whose voices have not yet been fully recognized by society.
I took so many cues from her and learned so many lessons, even at times when I may not have had much interest in getting schooled on compassion or even bristled at some of her stances, a subconscious reaction by me as a kid having grown up in a male-dominated society.
Acknowledging Another Perspective
At times while listening to the debut offering from Hysteria, I must admit I found myself defensively recoiling at some of what I was hearing on the show.
At one point, one of the co-hosts made a comment about how her Dad and brother, both being good guys, set unrealistic expectations for her as to what she could expect out of men when out in the real world. She basically said all men sucked beyond her Dad and brother, which caused me to get slightly annoyed on behalf of all men.
After thinking about that for a bit, and really reflecting on my gut reaction to her sentiments, I started to realize that perhaps her entire experience with men besides her nuclear family has been countless interactions with creeps and a-holes.
Rather than give into a residue of conditioning that still resides in my brain somewhere, Hysteria forced me to open up, let go of my defensiveness, and at the very least just consider someone else’s experience could be radically different from and even incomprehensible to me as a white male.
Hysteria shook me up a bit and offered me a different perspective on what a woman’s experiences can be like engaging with men through professional and social constructs. Rather than staying locked in a reflexively defensive posture in my own head I am choosing to become open and trying to honor other people's life experiences.
While I may not have been the ideal targeted audience member for Hysteria, I can certainly vouch for the show having made an immediate and pronounced impact on at least one individual.
If I should ever fall back into complacency or want to bury my head in the sands of privilege again, Hysteria will be there to demand I listen and be accountable in some way to the world we all live in.
Have you listened to the crew on Hysteria? What was your immediate reaction to the topics and manner of discussion being put forth? Please comment. We want to hear from you.