character Essay Non-fiction

Kicking the Kyriarchy: Voicing Identity

When Elena & Sidonie set up the podcast Kicking the Kyriarchy, their aim was to provide an intersectional platform. Here they talk about why we must continue to give all identities a voice in this way, and their upcoming event.

by Elena & Sidonie, creators of Kicking the Kyriarchy

When we decided to create a feminist podcast, we knew that the world didn’t need to hear from more voices like ours. As two white women with many other privileges that are important to recognise, the things we take issue with are small parts of a larger problem.

Take the pay gap: it’s a key feminist issue that everyone should get equal pay for their work. But while white British men are paid more per hour than white British women, white British women are paid more than Pakistani and Bangladeshi women, who receive more than Black African women (Fawcett Society, 2017). If we had simply focussed on our own experiences of the gender pay gap, we might have ignored the intersectionality of the broader issue. Challenging the norm and providing a platform for all voices in this way is what the podcast aims to do.  

Let’s think about periods – a monthly bodily function that affects half the world’s population. As feminists we might want to challenge that sanitary items are taxed as a luxury, but why not talk about how homeless women look after their period? Or that it’s not only women who have periods? We devoted an entire episode to the monthly flow.

In the making of this podcast, we’ve had to reflect on our privilege, our history, our character and our identity. It’s not always easy, but it is important, and we are better allies because of it. For example, if we say something’s ‘crazy’ we are actually isolating and other-ing everyone with a mental health issue – that’s 1 in 4 people. If we congratulate a guest for being ‘articulate’ and they’re a person of colour, coming from a white person it can sound patronising and colonial, even if it was meant as a compliment.

“This kind of thinking might scare you. What if you say the wrong thing? Aren’t we just tip-toeing around people’s identities? Are we censoring ourselves?”

This kind of thinking might scare you. What if you say the wrong thing? Aren’t we just tip-toeing around people’s identities? Are we censoring ourselves? Sure it might annoy you that you can’t use a certain word anymore, but with minimal effort you’ll find new words. If you make a mistake the best thing you can do as an ally is apologise. It’s too easy to place the responsibility on the offended, when in fact we all have an obligation to make the space we share more welcoming. That doesn’t mean we always get it right, and we try to recognise when we get it wrong. Every guest says the same thing: the first rule of being an ally is to listen. This podcast is a chance to do just that.

We chose the word kyriarchy to go beyond patriarchy. We want to talk about different power structures that restrict and limit us all in one way or another. It’s not simple and it’s not binary, it’s a world of overlapping privileges and oppression within each of us. Recognising this is not something to shy away from, but something that will make you both stronger and more humble.

“Every guest says the same thing: the first rule of being an ally is to listen. This podcast is a chance to do just that.”

We choose a topic every month and find three voices who are happy to share their perspective. What sets us apart is that the guests get as much of a say in their portrayal as we do. They see the questions before we begin and approve the audio and illustration. Why is this important? It means this podcast meets the guests on their terms, and we aren’t distorting their stories for shock value or manipulating them to our ideals.

We don’t need to tell you that these discussions are outside of the mainstream and so platforms are often self-made. With the internet it’s easier than ever to find content related to the things that you care about. Why not order a copy of Ladybeard magazine and find multiple feminist takes on a given topic such as mental health? Attend a Consented discussion event and listen to panelists give different perspectives, then pick up their magazine on ‘Belonging’. Listen to Melanin Millennials dissect masculinity one week and microaggressions the next. You don’t have to devote yourself to a life of academia to understand the many identities and power structures at play, you just have to listen.

Kicking the Kyriarchy | @KickKyriarchy |

Kicking the Kyriarchy is an intersectional feminist podcast. Since launching it’s quickly become a must-listen for anyone interested in the socio-political landscape of the 21st Century. To celebrate their first year on the airwaves they are hosting a LIVE podcast recording on Tuesday 31st May at General Assembly, Aldgate. The event is FREE and open to everyone. Book your place now!


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