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Episode 3.6: Dismantling the Patriarchy Has to be a Vocal Game with Clayre Sessoms

Content warning for discussions of sexual assault and transphobia.

Like so many good things, this episode started one way and ended up another. I invited Clayre to chat about singing, and we ended up talking about community and harm and silence and what we do (or don’t do) to feel like we belong. Oh, and we talk about performative allyship, which is so complex a topic I could probably make an entire season about it, but in the meantime here are some LINKS:

  • There are about a million things to read about the complexities of allyship and performative allyship, including work on the shortcomings of symbolic gestures like safety pinsrejections of the idea of allyship altogether, and this excellent episode of Code Switch on “Safety-Pin Solidarity” which includes the priceless phrase “those getting the allyship done to them”
  • And since we’re also talking about singing in a group and how great it is, here’s a piece about singing in a group and how great it is
  • We don’t talk about this much, but I allude to Sara Ahmed’s work on complaint, specifically that “When you expose a problem you pose a problem. “
  • I wasn’t sure what to post on the topic of the asking of invasive questions, and how for some people sharing your story becomes the cost of admission, and then I remembered this excerpt from Layli Long Soldier’s incredible poem “WHEREAS”:
    • WHEREAS we ride to the airport in a van they swivel their necks and shoulders around to speak to me sugar and lilt in their voices something like nurses their nursely kindness through my hair then engage me as comrades in a fight together. Well what we want to know one lady asks is why they don’t have schools there? Her outrage empathy her furrowed brow. There are schools there I reply. Grade schools high schools colleges. But why aren’t there any stores there? There are stores there. Grocery stores convenience stores trading posts whatever what-have-you I explain but it’s here I recognize the break. It’s here we roll along the pavement into hills of conversation we share a ride we share a country but live in alternate nations and here I must tell them what they don’t know or, should I?


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.  Clayre’s theme song is “Duetto Buffo di Due Gatti.” It’s this version specifically,  but you should probably always go watch this video of small boys singing it.

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