‘Shameless’ Podcast Cuts Deep To The Real Stuff

The Shameless podcast is young, but fierce. Run by two, Melbourne-based journalists, Michelle Andrews and Zara McDonald. While the podcast’s main and initial focus might be celebrity news and pop-culture, these ladies aren’t afraid to dive deep into the issues and ask lots of warranted questions.

Left: Zara McDonald and Right: Michelle Andrews
Photo Credit: shamelessthepodcast.com

We’ve all got the regular podcasts we listen to, each and every week, as they release new episodes and interviews with guests. Once you find your perfect, weekly fix, you rarely stray. Of course, suggestions will flood in from friends—you must listen to this! And you do, because you have endless amounts of time up your sleeve at the moment. You might binge a true crime podcast series, or listen to a handful of episodes from a personal development series. Though these happen on the side-lines, you continue to tune in to your favourite, each week, no matter what.

You may not have heard of the two-year-old podcast that goes by the title of Shameless, run by Michelle Andrews and Zara McDonald. Two Melbourne-based journalists. They won Australia’s Most Popular Podcast of 2019, awarded by the Australian Podcast Awards.

Their tagline is: “The podcast for smart people who love dumb stuff”, and it couldn’t be more accurate. Andrews and McDonald discuss the celebrity news cycle and what’s happening in the world of pop culture. The thing that separates this podcast series from most, is that the girls aren’t afraid to get their hands a little dirty. The discussions might begin on a topic that you, or some, might deem to be superficial, but it’s the lessons they take away from it.

Personally, I don’t care about the Kardashians, or plenty of other celebrities, but I care about the issues that arise, no matter the context of the world they come from. That’s why so many people tune into this podcast, the girls are able to take something that seems flimsy and surface-level, and cut to the core and discuss things that are problematic.

They always balance each episode with some funny, light-hearted stuff, and generally some slightly more political or heavy-going stuff—it’s always the perfect combination.

Left: Zara McDonald and right: Michelle Andrews
Photo credit: businesschicks.com

Last week’s episode was a goodie, indeed. In the last segment, Andrews and McDonald discussed Jameela Jamil’s recent call for discussion on women in the media that we just don’t like and don’t know why.

Now, a bit of context. Jamil shared some posts on her Instagram stories, discussing the ways that the media can often tear down women in the public eye. It happened to her, just recently, and now she’s calling it out.

“It got me thinking about EVERY time I ever thought “I don’t know why I don’t like her, I just find her annoying” about a woman in the media, if it’s because I was being constantly subliminally poisoned against her by media.” Said Jamil on her Instagram

This leads to woman-hating, for no good reason. We begin internalising misogyny, due to the content we’re consuming—the ridiculous headlines we see plastered all over the vicious news cycle. Then, we begin to think what the media’s told us to think.

“They build women up and build women up and then go this far out of their way to begin the dance of the woman’s downfall.” Said Jamil on her Instagram

Michelle and Zara lead a discussion off of this and push us all to question these kinds of thoughts and opinions we’re internalising. To really ask ourselves why we think or feel that way about these particular women. Is it something we truly think, or has the media brainwashed us?

Michelle also made it very clear to the listeners that they themselves are not exempt from engaging in this kind of behaviour.

“I have absolutely been a perpetrator of internalised misogyny on other women and I feel really bad about it,” says Michelle Andrews on the Shameless Podcast

These are the right kind of women to be having these conversations, because they’re not just sitting there and telling us to re-think all of our actions. They admit that this problem is everywhere and almost anyone can fall victim to it, because it is so subliminal. Addressing it, questioning it and taking action are the most important outcomes, at the end of the day.

“Women have been trained to be so hyper critical of the women around them,” says Michelle Andrews on the Shameless Podcast

This recent episode is just one powerful example of the in-depth discussions Michelle and Zara aren’t afraid to have on their podcast. Most of their listeners are like them: progressive women, in there 20’s-30’s. Sometimes we’re hearing topics of discussion that we never would’ve thought to have. These journalists are doing an incredible thing by shining light on problematic behaviour and not only asking us to question it, but questioning it themselves.

Of course, like any podcast journey, the two have grown throughout the production since it first began. I almost want to encourage you to go back and start from early on, because the jokes build, and you get a really good sense of Michelle and Zara’s growth throughout the series. They might disagree with me here, as on their most recent episode, the girls eluded to the fact that while they have matured since beginning of the podcast, so have their views and ability to articulate them properly. Personally, I think they’ve done a killer job since day one and they’ve only gotten better with each episode.

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