So most of you know how I feel about the election and the effects it has had on me. Well, one of the things getting me through this difficult time is Hellbent Podcast. It is run by Sarah Lerner and Devon Handy, two friends who live in LA. I had the opportunity to interview them recently to talk to them about their podcast and what it means to them. This interview was not recorded or transcribed. Any answers given by Sarah or Devon are paraphrased, but are reflective of their viewpoints and opinions.
What is your podcast about?
Hellbent Podcast is run by Devon Handy and Sarah Lerner. Our podcast is about covering politics, policy through a feminist lens. We talk about people and try to make the connections on a state and federal level. We try to synthesize that in a feminist-leaning, intersectional way. We definitely try to bring that into it because it’s not represented as much. It’s like 65% of news positions are held by white men, and it’s crazy to see the same narrative pushed. So it was our attempt to voice our opinions. Devon is a stay-at-home mom and Sarah is a freelance writer/social media strategist. Something that makes the podcast what it is is that Devon and I both bring our voices to the table. It’s sometimes scary to be so vulnerable to put yourself out and interacting with things like Politics. I would love to bring in women and marginalized groups in economic policies, because it’s always white guys talking about it. Progress is always started in uncomfortable times.
How do you two know each other?
Devon and Sarah were each other’s first friends. They met in kindergarten and bonded over carrots. Then Devon moved away in 3rd grade. They lost touch after that and then both went to different colleges. Devon went to Davis and Sarah went to Berkeley. Sarah moved to Washington D.C. after college and then moved back to L.A., and then stayed in touch. They stayed in touch through Facebook. After the election, they got together and after going back and forth for a little bit, decided to do a podcast.
If you both live in LA, why do you need to do the podcast on Skype?
Sarah: If you don’t live in LA, it sounds ridiculous. It can take 25 minutes without traffic and up to 2 hours in the worst traffic.
Devon: Getting to each other is such a logistical nightmare that it’s better to just record on the internet.
What made you decide you want to do a podcast? Was it a collective idea or one of you in particular? Why a podcast?
Sarah: It was Devon’s idea. A podcast is great to get into the media space. It’s not that hard to get into the when you are as good with technology as Devon is. It’s also cheaper than therapy. It also gives us a way to expands the feminist nuances that we don’t get to see in politics.
Devon: We sound good. When we talk, and the way we interact with each other, and it sounds good. Our voices are different enough and we translate well into an audio format. We have our outlines, and talking about it gives us an opportunity to open up and gives us an interesting way to do that.
How much time do you each spend researching the topics you will talk about? How many hours actually go into the podcast before we get to listen to it?
Sarah: It varies but we have an equal amount. Devon does a lot of the tech side. An hour to hour and half on recording. And I spend about 2-3 hours on our social media. It doesn’t feel like work because it feels like an awesome project.
Devon: 2-3 hours for each outline. It’s researching the topics, reading the sources that the other person puts up. About 3 hours post-editing, artwork, uploading, and about another hour depending on technical work. It’s definitely more labor-intensive and I really realized that when we started doing it. I feel like a more well-rounded person now because I’m not only reading my research but also Sarah’s research. About average, we do 15 hours each, so 30 hours total. It works out really nicely because our powers combined come together and make the podcast what it is.
What are your thoughts on #TrumpRegrets? Do you follow them on twitter?
Sarah: I’ve seen their tumblr. I get frustrated because Trump was very literal during the campaign. He showed us who he was from day one. And now it’s kind of hitting them in a sense. I get frustrated because you either implicitly voted for the bigotry or explicitly liked that and didn’t think it’d come back to you. I think we do too much coddling of Trump voters because they voted for someone who was going to hurt a lot of people. The election of Trump is an election of hurting people. This election a lot of people treated lightly and now everything is breaking. Now families are being hurt. And that’s on them. Trump voters aren’t owning their actions because they didn’t think it would hurt them. The people who think Trump voters shouldn’t be belittled are the people who aren’t affected by Trump’s policies. I see a story recently where all these Trump towns are now worried that their neighbors might get deported.
Devon: It’s harder to even take schadenfreude in it. It’s so ridiculous. I can’t even get a little laugh out of it. When we talk about women’s voices being raised and people of color, Trump is the embodiment of ignoring marginalized voices. A lot of people say they didn’t vote for Hillary because they didn’t like her. But it’s not like they were inviting her over for dinner. We treat them like kids and I want to know what about him changed in the last six months? He’s been very clear about what he is and I don’t see what has changed. If you’re gonna be an asshole, you better own it. If you’re gonna vote for Trump, own it.
So recently, I’ve been followed by a bunch of conservative Christians. I don’t know why...but I have. Have you been followed by a bunch of conservatives as well?
Sarah: I don’t think so. I think I get followed mostly by liberal people. Sometimes I get “hate follows” by Bernie Bros.
Devon: I think you’re severely overestimating my twitter followers. I mean I read Breitbart, Fox, etc so that I know what they’re putting out so that I can actually see what they’re putting out.
Finally, what message do you have for all the awesome, real, feminists out there?
Sarah: Your voice, your perspective is super important. Women of all creeds get this idea that we don’t matter because we aren’t represented in the media. We get a one-dimensional message and women need to know that they matter. And we aren’t represented enough. I find that you really tap into who you are, and able to express yourself that way, you find like-minded people. That to me is a rewarding system and you get to connect with a lot of people.
Devon: Be brave. I spent a lot of my life worried about being liked and being accepted and about pleasing the men in life. My message would be that wherever you are, be brave. You are not “too loud, too bold, too brave, too anything”. It’s not just being brave in one way. It’s about being brave in whatever works for you, however that may be, stay safe and do what makes you brave.
You can follow these ladies and their awesome podcast through the following links:
Support these lovely ladies by listening, buying their merch and supporting their patreon! Misogyny and sexism will only be eliminated if women work to lift each other up instead of tearing each other down. And don’t forget to tune in every Monday and Thursday to stay up to date on current issues in politics, policy and just being surrounded by actual facts, not alternative ones.
P.S: They may or may not have a special guest tomorrow (Thursday, March 16th, 2017). So go subscribe now!
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I'm a typical 20-something, trying to understand life but also be a functional adult. Follow me on my journey to discover myself.