The Guilty Feminist show brings comedy, music and debate to Mayflower Theatre
The Guilty Feminist podcast has become a comedy phenomenon with more than 60m downloads since it launched in December 2015.
Created by comedians Deborah Frances-White and Sofie Hagen, the latter departed in 2016. But Deborah has continued, bringing on guests discuss their noble goals as 21st century feminists – and their hypocrisies and insecurities which undermine those goals.
And now its live touring show, with its blend of stand-up, talk and music, has also become a huge success as well – it returns to Mayflower next week.
Deborah says: ‘I can’t imagine ever stopping now, it’s such an incredible joy, it’s incredible to have 60m downloads, and that’s so many people coming to join the party and have the conversation about the things that we really care about.
‘Our motto is that “We don’t have to be perfect to be a force for meaningful change”.’
As Deborah explains, the show looks at the point where actions and intentions don’t quite meet up with your values as a feminist.
Each show opens with a confession: ‘I’m a feminist, but...’
‘My first one was that I’m a feminist, but I once went on a women’s march and I popped into a department store to use the loo and I got distracted trying out face cream, and by the time I came out, the march had gone.
‘It’s stuff like that – or like, I should be body positive, and I should be like: “My body’s great however it is”, but I’m really worried about looking like a billboard – that’s not feminist! I need to be empowered, but then one time I got on a light aircraft, and the pilot asked me in front of everyone who much I weighed, and I lied by 20lbs.
‘It was to determine how much fuel to put in the plane, so I was endangering the lives of the pilot, the other passengers, myself and a border collie who was along for the ride. I thought, why did I do that? I shouldn’t feel that massive, but we’re very trained by society about what should matter and what doesn’t matter, what we should be like, and sometimes as feminists we’re trying to get to an ideal and we don’t quite make it.
‘But you don’t have to be perfect, and there’s a lot of comedy in these things, so we laugh at them and then we build them and become stronger as people who want to take up space in the world and have equal rights and make the world a better place for women and men.’
The guests for this date will be Bridget Christie, Desiree Burch, Sophie Duker and Grace Petrie.
‘The live tour is a real celebration of the podcast, and it will be much more visual, because obviously a podcast is radio. So it’s going to start with me in a gold-sequinned Jedi cloak with “Guilty Feminist” on the back – sort of like a Fem-Jedi – a real celebration of female power, very tongue in cheek. Then there’s going to be a lot of stand-up, a lot of music, a little bit of R.E.S.P.E.C.T – people are going to leave there rocking.
‘It’s full of feminist fun - men are welcome too, the world is difficult for men as well, we have a lot of men coming along, who are interested in and want to talk about gender and inequality.
It’s really a place for everyone to come and celebrate and laugh and joyfully discuss the things that trouble us.’
And as on every stop on the tour, there will also be a local charity getting interviewed ‘Graham Norton-style’ as part of the show. Getting local groups involved is key for Deborah.
‘It’s 100 per cent important. Because feminism is about changing the world and make it better for people, so of course, if we’re coming to do a show here, we want to talk about how can we make things globally better but also how can we start right here and look at what’s local?
‘Often on the podcast we’ll have something for the whole of the UK, or globally, but if we’re going to a specific place it’s a real opportunity to say: “What’s going on on the ground here?”
‘With feminism you can start right on your street – how can I make the world better for my daughter? How can I make it better for the elderly lady who lives downstairs from me? What’s going on in my community? Are there people being excluded? Who has access to voting booths? Are there refuges and shelters that are underfunded in my area?
‘That’s all feminism. It’s about making the world a better place actively, and not just talking about it.’
THE GUILTY FEMINIST
Mayflower Theatre, Southampton
Wednesday, May 22