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Episode 2.12: Getting Fucked Up on Learning (& Roller Derby) with Gillian Roberts

By popular request, and despite my personal disinclination towards sports, I’m finally talking about roller derby! With none other than brilliant and badass literature-scholar-slash-derby-player Gillian Roberts. After she very patiently explains to me what exactly roller derby is and how it differs from Whip It, we chat about women in sports, the link between hobbies and mental health, and why it’s good to keep learning new things, even (especially?) when you aren’t very good at them.

Here’s some stuff to read:

  • First off, here’s Gillian writing about roller derby as part of a whole, excellent series of posts about Women, Academia, and Sport on the feminist academic blog Hook and Eye (if you look carefully you may find a post by me in there!)
  • Here’s another post about roller derby and its complex relation to self-care: “Sometimes we hurt ourselves in order to protect ourselves. I believe this to be true—that hurting ourselves can be protection—but I don’t know how to talk about it, how to reconcile self-destruction with self-care.” CW in this one for eating disorders, mental illness, and self-harm. 
  • If you didn’t know what we were talking about vis-à-vis ice-dancing couples and heteronormativity, you can read up on Virtue and Moir here.
  • If you’d like to read a little more about trans women in derby, here’s a lovely starting point.
  • And finally, go find your derby name.


The podcast theme song is “Mesh Shirt” by Mom Jeans off their album “Chub Rub.” Listen to the whole album here or learn more about them here. Gillian’s theme song is “Cheated Hearts” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Secret Feminist Agenda is recorded on the traditional and unceded territories of the Squamish, Musqueam, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.