When I grow up I want to be the Studs Terkel of menopause.
November 23, 2018 6:27 AM   Subscribe

Help me develop the concept for an AD-FREE podcast where people talk about what it's like to grow older ... physically, mentally, emotionally.

Based on this post to the blue, I'm thinking that a podcast where people talk about the aging process might be welcome.

It would be primarily intended for people who experience perimenopause / menopause and the people they love or work with.

Here's my draft premise:
  • People of various ages, sexual preferences, gender identities, ancestries sharing experiences
  • Very light on "this is what the doctor says" and advice from Male Experts because frankly patriarchal medicine is Not Our Friend
  • Some episodes could include partners or a family member of the main interviewee
No slick editing, no annoying music, no ads, no overproduction: just people talking about what it's been like for them, warts and all .

Would y'all be down for that? What would YOU like to hear in this podcast?
posted by Sheydem-tants to Health & Fitness (24 answers total) 59 users marked this as a favorite
Yes, please do this.

The emotional aspect is the biggest problem for me. Ageism is pernicious and everywhere. People who would never dream of making judgments based on race or gender feel free to make negative comments about "boomers," including the idea that we've somehow ruined the world (not sure how people imagine we could fix it - and it wasn't perfect when we were born). And physical problems associated with aging (hearing loss, difficulty moving, vision problems) are routinely mocked in comedy routines - and no one seems to see anything wrong with that.
posted by FencingGal at 6:50 AM on November 23, 2018 [4 favorites]

43yo female here. Pretty much everything in the culture around women and aging is so negative, and so much of the discussion around menopause I've encountered is related to "losing one's attractiveness" and "becoming invisible".

There have got to be some great stories out there about women coming into their own after the fertile years are over. I'd love to hear about the psychological changes women go through and how to navigate a change from one life stage into another, in a culture which just shoves all of this stuff under the rug.

Also, are you familiar with the (private) FB group What Would Virginia Woolf Do? There's a book as well, though I found it very much focused on the physical aspects of aging.

Great idea. I'll be your first subscriber.
posted by Shazbot at 7:01 AM on November 23, 2018 [12 favorites]

I like the idea of this a lot. I’m a cancer survivor, and as a result have aging-related problems that most people in their early 40s don’t deal with. It’s easy to feel sort of isolated.

What I wouldn’t want to hear about is how great someone things essential oils are for menopause, or about their vision board, or how vaccines are causing all our health problems.
posted by jeoc at 7:03 AM on November 23, 2018 [14 favorites]

One podcast you might find interesting in its tone is (NOW HEAR ME OUT HERE) the AARP podcast called The Perfect Scam. It is obviously intended for an audience older than the average podcast, and its tone is closer to maybe a radio show rather than to Maximum Fun. The content itself is king, since they break down different scams and how they work (and is interestingly similar to Reply All this way!). But it doesn't give me a sense of community. Anyway, that's more a One Way People Do This suggestion rather than a recommendation.

I would be more into the My Sister, My Genderqueer Sibling and Me approach for this topic, for what it's worth, but I like listening to interesting people being funny.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 7:56 AM on November 23, 2018 [2 favorites]

I would go for this. Definitely into the 'warts and all' aspect of it. So many times I have a thing and it seems weird and no one I know has ever mentioned it to me and then I confess to someone older they're all "Oh yeah, that's normal. It happens because blah blah blah." I'd be especially interested, as well, in hearing about the breadth of emotional/physical/psychological experiences.
posted by cocoagirl at 8:06 AM on November 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yes! I would love to hear women in mid-life and beyond talking about their experiences. How do you find meaning when your childbearing years are ending in a world that prioritizes youth and childbearing, funny, sad and weird stories ...

I’d like to hear from experts but not so much white male MDS, more a woman who can say “this is what I learned in med school but here’s what my experiences are, and the experiences of the women in my care.”

As always in podcasts - good sound quality, not too much ppl talking over each other and rambling.
posted by bunderful at 8:20 AM on November 23, 2018 [5 favorites]

I would absolutely love this (mid-30s woman) and would listen the hell out of it. My recommendation would be to be sure to have women of different geographic areas, ethnicities, generations,gender expressions (what is menopause like for women who do not have vaginas) and incomes. I feel like the menopausal stories I DO read and hear are frequently from the white/Coastal/straight/cis/well-off/Baby Boomer population that makes up most NYtimes writing.
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 8:34 AM on November 23, 2018 [5 favorites]

Also please update this thread if/when it happens so we can subscribe!!
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 8:36 AM on November 23, 2018 [2 favorites]

Yes! As a late 50s woman in grad school and doing more stuff professionally than ever before I love the idea of focusing on how aging expands us - we're not invisible and ugly and stupid and should just fade away because we're not young. Have seen too many women feeling down about themselves because of middle aged physical changes. And yeah - no men pontificating for sure and please no woo. My doctor recommended a book on menopause that was so full of new age bilge that I threw it across the room.
posted by leslies at 8:45 AM on November 23, 2018 [3 favorites]

Also, I’d love to hear the voices of people who aren’t Wildly Successful. Sure, let’s hear from the woman who took up marathon running, founded a company, or published a novel. But let’s also hear from the woman who started walking every day or developed a quilting or writing habit and is doing the work without great rewards. And I’d also like to hear from people who committed the cardinal sin of not becoming rich, but still have good lives.

And yes, sound quality. I once decided I just couldn’t listen to a podcast because the sound was so bad.
posted by FencingGal at 8:46 AM on November 23, 2018 [20 favorites]

If you'd like to be INTERVIEWED, please PM me.

I have some thinking (and possibly purchasing) to do relative to audio setup, but that shouldn't take too long. The audio is the subject of another Ask, if it hasn't been asked already. :-)
posted by Sheydem-tants at 8:51 AM on November 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

60+ gal here. Would enjoy listening to this. PM me if you need a podcast producer because I know someone. Also, I am not a fan of the relentlessly upbeat Sixty and Me approach (it is a website, not a podcast) but I also don't want to drown in sorrow. I told someone recently that I feel like I am in my prime. I am able to make up for what I've lost in speed with cunning and experience. For me, at least, it feels that way despite the new face hair. Also, I met someone my age, a cis woman, who had revitalised her sex life by taking small doses of testosterone (doctor approved) and I had never heard of that. So I love the idea of hearing from aging folks about dealing with aging. Including single people like me. Including PoC, people outside of the US, etc.Diversity is good!
posted by Bella Donna at 11:03 AM on November 23, 2018 [6 favorites]

And I’d also like to hear from people who committed the cardinal sin of not becoming rich, but still have good lives.

Yes, and also women who didn't have children and still found happiness and fulfilment (with or without a partner). What are they proud of? As soon as a woman has borne another human, they always always always it is so annoying always say their biggest accomplishment is their kid(s). UGH!

At the same time, also interested in the way relationships evolve. Either the same relationship over the years, or (maybe even more interesting), what did they look for in a relationship when they were young vs. later. How did dating, courting, getting to know each other change, etc.

related to "losing one's attractiveness" and "becoming invisible".

Yes, also! This is so tiresome. If you can, interview women who are anything but invisible. Like this wonderful green lady. If your podcast is still going in 20 years, you can interview me, for I intend to follow in her footsteps.

More abstractly, I'd also be interested in the relationship to aging in other cultures. Oh, and different living arrangements! People who live with their kids, in shared houses, alone, in retirement communities...

I am able to make up for what I've lost in speed with cunning and experience.

Fantastic! Please interview Bella Donna.
posted by ClarissaWAM at 11:34 AM on November 23, 2018 [6 favorites]

PS. A kind friend put together a helpful email full of links and recommendations when I had a podcasting idea. Memail me if you'd like me to forward it to you.
posted by ClarissaWAM at 11:37 AM on November 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

sooooo many good answers here. Thank you all.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 12:01 PM on November 23, 2018

I would subscribe!

Perhaps you might consider a "questions from listeners" segment?
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:42 PM on November 23, 2018 [4 favorites]

I think this is an AMAZING idea and super coincidental for my life b/c just recently I have had two separate conversations with friends about the fact that we want more information/conversations/education about this new stage of life that is menopause.
posted by correcaminos at 1:33 PM on November 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'm 43 and would love this. I second all the topics mentioned above but would also love to hear about how change is managed within relationships - I'm older than my partner and am becoming keenly aware that the gap may introduce new anxieties about how we each age in the coming years.
posted by freya_lamb at 2:13 PM on November 23, 2018 [2 favorites]

65 here, and I'm tellin' you that getting older ain't for the faint of heart.

There's SOOOOO much they don't warn you about. Crap, who knew that you'd start to lose most of your pubic hair at 55? (Could be worse--at least it isn't the hair on my head...*ominous music* YET!

One of the worst parts is when someone assumes you're old and not as capable. One of the best is pushing that back in their face. I may be old, but I'm mean and tough and devious and cunning.

Another sucky part is when you think (forget) that you are incapable, or that something you used to do without thinking now hurts. What's hard is knowing when to push through being tired, or feeling weak, and then finding out it's good for you to do so, versus having overdone and set yourself back, instead.
posted by BlueHorse at 5:41 PM on November 23, 2018 [4 favorites]

One production note that helps make a successful podcast - have a bunch recorded and ready to go before you start putting them online. A lot of listeners expect steady publication and it's easy to get behind with everything that goes on in life.

Also, look up audio normalization (and compression - the type that reduces dynamic range, not the type that reduces bandwidth ala mp3) how to do it - it will help keep volumes at more even. I know you don't want slick production, but podcasts that jump from soft to quiet to soft are hard to listen to.
posted by Candleman at 6:18 PM on November 23, 2018 [7 favorites]

Yup, I'm a menopausal 50-something, and I'd definitely be a subscriber.

I agree with most of what's above - sound quality, no woo, hearing from diverse guests, listener questions, physical/psychological/relationship changes. I'd love to hear from single people about dating and menopause. (Do I put "night sweats" on my Match profile?) I wouldn't mind hearing from men from time to time if they are talking about their personal/relationship experience of these topics, but would be less interested in male experts.

I like conversational podcasts as long as they aren't rambly and have at least a bit of structure.

FWIW, advertising is not a barrier for me as a listener. Virtually all of my favourites have ads.
posted by Frenchy67 at 7:31 AM on November 24, 2018 [2 favorites]

I'm so happy and I will share this to the ends of the earth! My only suggestion would be to occasionally feature women who, for any reason, didn't have children. AKA: those of us who jumped from maiden to crone.
posted by kimberussell at 8:39 AM on November 25, 2018 [6 favorites]

A topic I'd find personally interesting: many autistic AFAB people find that as menopause gets near, the masking and coping skills that served well enough earlier in life start to fail (burn out from overuse, is my hypothesis) and executive function just goes to shit. It would be interesting to hear other people's experiences and how they deal with it.

(At least I learned about this before it started to hit. Otherwise I think I'd be seriously worried that after a lifetime of dealing with depression and other mental health issues I was finally completely losing it.)
posted by Lexica at 12:08 PM on November 25, 2018 [3 favorites]

Just posted in the Blue thread but posting here too in case it's of interest to folk checking this thread and not the other - on BBC1 tonight - The Truth About The Menopause with Mariella Frostrup.
posted by penguin pie at 2:51 PM on November 26, 2018 [2 favorites]

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