Here we are again, a week later, and a week wiser, with a new episode of Women of The Hour to discuss.
Simply titled Body, the second installment of Lena Dunham’s 5 part podcast series with Buzzfeed broached a much broader spectrum of body issues than I expected.
I enjoyed aspects of this episode, but the producer in my brain wouldn’t shut off the whole time.
Instead of continuing with an anchoring story this episode jumped from personal essays to interviews to discussions and back again over the course of an hour.
The points made in each segment are great. The episode covers a broad range of topics about biologically female bodies, transgender female bodies, white bodies, black bodies, fat bodies, skinny bodies.
But as a cohesive episode, the glue just wasn’t there. The episode started with Aidy Bryant discussing how she is a large woman and isn’t ashamed to be a large woman. Then it jumped to a few segments about hair and how women are and aren’t their hair.
These segments were the most hard hitting. A black woman discussed her kinky, natural, black hair and it was very enlightening for a white girl to listen to. It’s more than a statement of herself, it’s a statement of her background and culture. The second woman who discussed this was a woman with a disease that sends signals to her body telling it hair is dangerous. Thus her relationship with her hair was much trickier than most people.
The episode continued with an interview with a woman born without legs and how she views her body and deals with societies view of her body.
As I type this I remember more and more about the episode and it’s exhausting. Dunham crammed in so many different aspects of body into this episode I can’t properly review each one.
There was a wonderful conversation with Janet Mock about growing up and realizing she was a transgender woman and finding another transgender friend in the 7th grade who convinced her to come out. Perhaps using Janet’s story as a through-line in the episode would have helped tie it all together.
What I craved was that one story to hook you and then open up into the other narratives and essays and feelings of these other women.
As with the last episode Dunham released a bonus episode with a Gynecological Registered Nurse where they discussed a gamut of things. That 14 minute episode was much more informative (facts, suggestions, advice) than the main podcast. Both were crammed with great information and emotions, but the bonus episode delved into how little women know about their own vaginas. Which is startlingly true and upsetting.
The episode opened my eyes to the gamut of experiences other women and other types of women have in their lives. I suppose that’s Dunham’s goal with this podcast (though I’m just speculating here). Even if it’s not I’m glad I’ve learned about these other women and their experiences, and I’ll ask more questions next time I have to see my gyno. Just to be safe.