Our 5th Annual Amplify Women Teach-In was held in place of our regularly scheduled programming this International Women’s Day, and as part of a 5-years-running act of protest and community education. As discussed in this year’s 5-year retrospective, doing a teach-in is done to showcase what is missing and different about the media we consume every day. XRAY is not exempt from this industry’s realities; cultural preferences—internally and externally–in media show a strong bias in favor of straight, cis, white, male perspectives, sound/tenor of their voices, and speaking patterns.
Of course, we try to bring these folks in as much as we can 365 days a year. But the barriers present in society that stop folks from engaging in media still exist and we have to break them down. These can include expectations of care work, pay inequity and societal devaluation of labor from marginalized identities, tokenization and missing representation in the space once they’re here, and a lack of generational access, connections, and wealth to fall back on when breaking into this space.
So, each year we create 12 hours of content highlighting what has now in total been hundreds of folx bringing issues affecting women into sharper focus, with particular attention to BIPOC, trans, queer, immigrant, poor, working-class, and disabled women. This year took felt like a turning point as the program received external funding for the first time, allowing us to more intentionally focus staff time on the project (as opposed to finding it in an already small and stretched staff), have a much stronger marketing push, and–in our opinion most notably–pay honoraria to our hosts and producers. Community radio often relies on the notion that it is a privilege to be on the air–when it is a privilege itself to be able to volunteer. We are incredibly lucky to have 100+ weekly volunteers that keep us running, but in order to increase access to doing special programming from those of multiple marginalized identities, we must recognize the expertise and knowledge our participants bring, and acknowledge the emotional labor talking about systems of oppression on air can inflict.
This program was made possible in part by a grant from Oregon Humanities (OH), a statewide nonprofit organization and an independent affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, which funds OH’s grant program.
So what’s in the podcast? Here’s a quick look into the highlights and pieces you won’t want to miss from each episode:
- An emotional look at the experience of breaking into the Portland Food Scene from 2 incredibly accomplished Asian Women Chefs, Nong Poonsukwattana & Thuy Pham. We had initially scheduled this piece for a shorter time block as it appeared there may be scheduling conflicts. But what came out of it was a much longer discussion. This will be released in an extended episode of the Amplify Women podcast.
- Imagining a World Post Roe, an episode of the podcast we should never have had to be made, but does critical work to outline what will happen and what needs to happen when Roe v. Wade is inevitably overturned. The concepts in this piece can be seen as radical, but there is so much power in their discussion of reclaiming bodily autonomy, self-managed abortion, hope as a discipline, and showing up for those who will be most affected by limited abortion access.
- The Women in Environmental Justice (EJ) Roundtable of local leaders on gendered care work within the movement, who gets brought as an ‘expert’ in EJ discussions, expectations of young people carrying the weight of increased environmental impacts on marginalized groups, and more.
- Indigenous Farming for Equitable Food Access with Good Rain Farm taking us through the movement for land reclamation from what seeds are used, to food distribution systems and the importance of subsidized community-supported-agriculture programs, all the way to what it means to be farming native foods on stolen land that you do not ‘own.’
- Representation in Film had Bevin Victoria talk us through the effects of gatekeeping, gendered and racially biased casting systems, and whitewashing of certain genres in the industry. We go from tropes in Star Wars, to brown face on white actors, to the impact of even small local productions on who becomes part of the industry.
- Gatekeeping & Tokenization in the Fine Arts carried us through the world of literature and dance in a place like Portland with author & dancer, Zaji Cox. They delve into the topics that artists of color are encouraged to publish, examining whether the audition process or submitting work for review can be equitable, and forging her own path through outlets for creative expression.
- Curating Brave Spaces had host Ninesha Myers talk through who gets to have a ‘safe’ space, realities of facing white-dominated industries and places, and how Portlanders with privileged identities can show up marginalized communities in their everyday lives.
- Women in Reporting broke down issues of safety when journalists are expected to always be working on social media and attempts to undermine the integrity of femme writers and editors based on unfounded assumptions and/or gendered bias from readers.
- The Dyke March Returns takes a look back into the history of different iterations of the famed contingent in Pride celebrations, confronting changes in terminology as societal understanding of gender progresses, and how to include the widest array of identities within the Dyke March traditions.
- The Right to Rock, named for the forthcoming documentary on their rise to fame, discusses the journey of the band Fanny to break barriers as the first all-female band to release an LP with a major record label in 1970, the barriers they faced because of their race & gender, and where they are 50 years later.
- Gender Dynamics & Industry Barriers in Podcasting, Broadcasting, & Beyond discussed the much of what this teach in has come to be about: forging paths for those with marginalized identies, especially when they are multiple, to find a place in audio indsutries, learn the ropes in places that are still heavily gatekept, and push those with power to see the value, popularity, and impact of moving beyond what’s ‘always been done.’