Adelaide Fringe 2018 Review: The Guilty Feminist

Photograph via the Guilty Feminist

I’m a feminist, but… 

If you’re a regular listener to the Guilty Feminist, you know the catch cry of the podcast. If you’re not, here’s a quick debrief. British/Australian comedian Deborah Frances-White hosts live recordings of the podcast, along with the help of a guest co-host and a guest panelist. Each episode is thematic, with the presenters discussing topics that all modern day feminists agree on, while confessing the hypocrisies and fears that underlie them.

I’ve seen a few podcasts performed live, and it’s always a bit weird to begin with. As a guest to the Guilty Feminist I felt much more privy to the behind the scenes action than I have at other live podcast recordings. Deborah joked that by sitting in the audience we would understand how good their editor is. But more so, she admitted from the top that she was the spiky combination of jetlagged and sleep deprived, and she would probably say things she otherwise wouldn’t.

The guest co-host was Claire Hooper, an Australian comedy face that in all honesty I had forgotten existed. But, I loved her as a teenager on Good News Week and I was thrilled to be three years late in discovering that the Great Australian Bake Off exists and Claire is one of the faces of it.

Together, Deborah and Claire announced that the theme of the show was feminism and money. As a recent graduate trying to find an elusive full time job in the arts, who is instead piecing together a smorgasbord of casual jobs, this hit close to home. Money is probably one of the primary reasons for my stress, and despite the sharp pinch of anxiety I first felt hearing the word, I loved the show.

Claire’s regular podcast, the ABC’s Pineapple Project, discusses money in the modern age, so she came prepared. Her stand up is funny. She talks from personal experience and moves swiftly into serious territory, finishing with emphasising the gender financial inequality in Australia.

The rest of the show follows this recipe for brutal honesty, moving between funny and serious in the shift of gears that the Guilty Feminist does so well. Deborah and Claire are joined by guest Tessa Waters and together they talk the intersection of money and feminism.They discuss the huge inequalities in gendered personal experiences, which are further compounded in the arts, and the shame that we all feel about the M word. Within a relationship, they emphasise the importance of talking honestly about money and finances, especially considering that most of us will contract what hip economists call an STD (Sexually Transmitted Debt).

Following the set formula, the show ends as it usually does, with a request for a voluntary donation to a charity. However, this time it was a little different. Deborah reads a letter from the lawyer of her friend, Louise Reay, another comedian. Louise is currently facing a lawsuit from her ex-husband for defamation. Deborah asks for the audience to donate money to Louise and directs us to her Go Fund Me page. The money will go towards helping pay Louise’s legal bills. Louise is undoubtedly going through an awful time, but this sits almost uncomfortably with my friend and I. My friend, a lawyer who has worked with disadvantaged women, felt that there are many women in much worse positions who do not have the platform that Deborah can provide Louise, nor the support of the feminist comedy scene. Nevertheless, I was relieved to see today that her Go Fund Me page has met its £10,000 target.

While personally I would have preferred if, as usual, a local charity that supports grassroots women’s charities in the host city was supported, this conflict ultimately captures the delicate relationship between feminism and money. For Louise, the power that her ex-husband yields over her and their financial inequality has the opportunity to ruin her. The support of the sisterhood and the importance of breaking down these barriers rings clear.

4.5 out of 5 stars

Natalie Carfora

Listen to the Guilty Feminist on Apple Podcast or wherever you get your podcasts.

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