Feelin Weird is a podcast created by Kye Plant, a musician based in Victoria, B.C.. Produced out of Plant’s bedroom, each episode discusses taboo subjects, like sexuality, mental health and gender identity to raise awareness and reduce public stigma.
They created Feelin Weird to contribute to a genre of podcast that they found comforting, but lacking. Plant is very vocal about what makes them “weird:” they are non-binary, have anxiety, depression, and are recently two-years sober. In each episode they interview a friend about their experiences with these topics and others. [*please see below]
Plant does not present themselves as an expert on any of these issues, other than an expertise that comes from firsthand experience. Because of this required subjectivity, each conversation is rooted in circumstances that are specific to Plant and the guest. For example, in the twelfth episode, “Asexuality,” they speak with Max Monday, a sex-positive grey asexual, who emphasizes the singularity of her orientation and experiences. This specificity creates a sense of intimacy with the audience and allows for in-depth discussions that might otherwise be trivia-like.
Plant uses the structure of each episode to emphasize the power of these conversations. Each interview has a similar emotional arch: the guest is comfortable in casual conversation, then uncomfortable when beginning the interview and finally comfortable again by its conclusion. This arch illuminates the de-stigmatizing power of these conversations and, by extension, the podcast.
Ultimately though, the strength of this podcast is also its weakness. Plant uses an incredibly intimate approach; each episode is in some way a discussion of their own personal growth, mental state and experiences with each topic. While this creates a closeness with the audience and works to de-stigmatize certain taboos, it also feels more like a person’s public diary than a project for a community. Introducing the first episode, Plant says that Feelin Weird is “all about [them]” and then that “the point [of Feelin Weird] is to make other people feel less weird.” These opposing goals confuse the show’s message. It is simultaneously inclusive in its normalizing aims and exclusive in its hyper-particular content.
Feelin Weird works well as an educational resource for those who are not vocal about their “weird” traits, but for those already vocal, this podcast’s exaggerated specificity is polarizing.
*Editor’s Note, February 2018 | The author of this podcast, Kye Plant, has brought forward some valid criticisms of this review: that it generalizes the format of the podcast (which isn’t always interview-based), and that it makes assumptions about Kye and their own journey with identity and depression. This review was not published with the intention of undermining the host, the podcast as a whole, or the very important content that it makes visible. We apologize for the frustration and confusion this review has caused. This online version has been edited as of February 13, 2018.
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