For those who don’t know, My Favorite Murder is a true crime podcast hosted by comedians Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark. Every week Karen and Georgia select a brutal murder and tell each other all about it. Believe it or not, these grisly tales are peppered with hilarious banter and pristine dark humor. It’s something of a podcast movement that normalizes interest in the macabre and true crime, and the best part is: it’s high-key feminist.
What you’re about to read is a collection of quotes from Karen and Georgia themselves and the feminist lessons I learned from each of them.
Girls are told so often to be polite, to act like a lady, to basically sit there and take crap from everyone. If you’re thinking “well that’s bullshit,” right now, you would be on the right track. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been told to smile more, to be nicer, to respect people who haven’t earned it.
For example, I have a strong case of RBF, or Resting Bitch Face to be precise. And there’s nothing I can do about it because, well, it’s literally my face. But because of this, I constantly have family members and even complete strangers comment on my apparent lack of interest or engagement in the people and things around me. They tell me to relax, to be more open and welcoming, more trusting even.
The notion that womxn and especially young girls have to change how they would normally act or speak for the sake of being polite or docile or subdued is ridiculous to me. In my opinion, “fuck politeness” means this: don’t sacrifice who you are to please someone else, and don’t bend over backwards or do anything you don’t want to do because society says it’s right. Smash those societal standards!
Hey, sounds familiar huh?
“Have a Cookie”
This is a fun one! After every episode Georgia asks her beautiful cross-eyed Siamese kitty, Elvis, if he wants a cookie. Spoiler alert, he always does. Bet you didn’t think I could relate cookies to feminism. Do I have news for you!
As womxn, we can be so hard on ourselves. We push ourselves to fight for what should be our natural rights as human beings. We work our asses off to get that degree, to start that company, to support each other. Some of us might even have to defend ourselves against our would-be murderers. It’s hard work to be sure, so it’s important to practice self-care, even if that means simply having a cookie.
Treat yourself girl. Eat a cookie. Put on a face mask. Drink some coconut water. Go to the gym. Whatever you have to do to wind down, or reward yourself for being the badass you are, do it. Live your truth, and love yourself however you can.
“Talk About Your Trauma”
This is where we get a little deeper. If listening to this podcast has taught me anything it’s that the violence against womxn is staggering. They are murdered, raped, assaulted, dehumanized, mutilated, used, and tossed aside. They are victims of such horrific cruelty, and sometimes they never get the justice they deserve.
It’s because of violence that makes it crucial to talk about traumas when you’re ready. I have never experienced the worst kinds of fear and shock, but I can tell you that acknowledging the bad things that have happened to you or voicing the complicated things that stress you out in life can be a wholly cathartic experience. Especially with someone you trust completely in your most vulnerable state.
And if you’re not ready to talk about your trauma with a real person, sometimes your best friend and closest confidant can be a journal, a paintbrush, or any art form of your choosing. Whatever works, right?
“Toxic Masculinity Ruins the Party”
Ah toxic masculinity, you never get old. Except that you really really do. Toxic masculinity refers to the negative and harmful cultural and societal ideas about manliness. It stresses the concept that emotional vulnerability and stereotypical feminine characteristics are to be seen as less than. It describes the oppression of both womxn and other men. And it really does put a damper on things doesn’t it?
Believe it or not, this is a feminist issue. At its very core, feminism is about equality. Equality is about recognizing every person, and not just in the binary. As allies for other genders and sexualities it is so vital that we understand the implications of dangerous brands of masculinity in this patriarchal world we live in.
We must also understand the difference between masculinity and toxic masculinity. Being masculine does not make you toxic. Men in general are not inherently bad or violent. But we live in a society where certain traditionally masculine traits are exaggerated and pressed upon others in a way that oppresses womxn and makes other men feel emasculated.
Toxic masculinity ruins the party everytime and the only way to combat this is to have the difficult conversations about the truths behind it.
“Look and Listen”
This line is a constant on My Favorite Murder. Karen and Georgia use it when they’re trying to make a point and it never fails to be both hilarious and enlightening. So what’s the feminist spin?
Look and listen. As in, be aware of your surroundings. Take stock of where you are in the world and keep yourself on your toes. We stan a strong independent womxn ready to take on the world, fight their own battles, and kick ass. But, we do not stan victim-blaming.
When we say look and listen we don’t mean carry a canister of mace in your hands at all times and call the police on every creepy dude you pass on the street. Though sometimes both is necessary. Essentially, we mean this: pay attention and take note of sketchy behaviour. This is absolutely not to say that the victims of rape, murder, and assault were stupid, or not paying attention, or asking for it. Quite the opposite actually. Sometimes we do everything and more to protect ourselves and we still get hurt. Unfortunately, this is a common fact of life and important concept in the world of true crime.
Sometimes there’s nothing you can do. But, if you look and listen, and fuck politeness, you might just save yourself or someone else in need.
“Here’s the Thing: Fuck Everyone”
Ok maybe don’t fuck everyone. But fuck the people who give you crap about doing what you love. Fuck the people who give you shit for being who you are. Fuck everyone who tells you that you can’t do something.
As womxn, we make our own choices, break the glass ceilings of the world, and fight for the stuff that we should inherently already have rights to like the freedom that should come with our own bodies. This is one of my favorite lessons from Karen and Georgia because I resonate with it so much. My motto is this: live your truth. I easily say this phrase everyday because it believe in it to the highest degree.
As Dr. Seuss said, “Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!” Mr. One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish was right. Living life without being who you are and worrying about what society thinks just isn’t a life worth living. Whatever your truth is, live it, love it, fight for it. And fuck everyone who tells you otherwise.
“This is Terrible, Keep Going”
Look, sometimes everything goes to hell. You fail an exam, you get ghosted by that dude on Tinder, or maybe something even worse happens. Some things are just out of our control and we can either accept it and move on, or dwell on it until it festers and changes who we are.
Then again, sometimes things are terrible, but changeable. Take a look at reproductive rights. If anything, the political climate right now surrounding this issue is pretty terrible. From abortion laws to societal expectations about what a womxn should be allowed to do with her body, bodily autonomy has become a gigantic political issue. It seems hopeless at times. But, it’s not.
We keep going. We keep raising awareness and informing the uninformed. We become a force for change and advocate for reform in the systems that oppress. It’s a battle for rights. It’s a battle for freedom. And it’s a battle we can’t afford to lose unless we all want to don our handmaid’s habits.
END THE BACKLOG
Ending the backlog is one of the most important feminist movements MFM discusses. If you’re unfamiliar with “The Backlog,” here’s a brief synopsis:
Founded by Law and Order: SVU actress and activist Mariska Hargitay, END THE BACKLOG is part of the Joyful Heart Foundation, a non-profit organization that aims to reform societal responses to rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse. END THE BACKLOG strives to address the untested rape kit backlog issue in the United States through public awareness, inviting community support, and advocating for complete rape kit testing reform. In short, it’s mission is to get all the backlogged rape kits tested in order to exact justice for the victims of heinous sexual offenses.
I wouldn’t have heard about this program if it wasn’t for MFM, and while I wish it didn’t have to exist in the first place, I’m happy to see the great work it’s doing for victims. Anyone and everyone can advocate for change, donate to the program, and the spread the word about rape kit legislation reform.
“Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered”
Right before Elvis gets a cookie, Karen and Georgia sign off with this: Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered. It might sound like a quirky ending to a strange podcast that makes you laugh in the midst of horrible tragedy and violence, but it’s so much more than that. With this simple phrase, Karen and Georgia created a community of fantastic advocates and activists and fellow true crime lovers: Murderinos. And most of them are womxn!
Coming from a high school of all girls, I am always intrigued by large groups of badass womxn coming together to create a sense of family and community. A support system if you will. It really is a beautiful thing and a wonderful way to build relationships. It’s fulfilling and can make all the difference in the world to someone looking for connections. I can honestly say, you’ll find that in MFM, and you’ll find it in Make Muse too.
As for my final words: If you’re a slut for podcasts like I am, I definitely recommend that you check out My Favorite Murder. And if you’re a slut for feminism, you can’t go wrong with Karen and Georgia.