Introducing Refinery29's Podcast, Strong Opinions Loosely Held

We have an exciting announcement: Refinery29 now has a podcast! Called Strong Opinions Loosely Held, the first season launches on May 9, with new episodes released every Monday. It will cover everything from being a woman on death row to the Kardashians and feminism. To make sure you don't miss a single one, be sure to subscribe on iTunes.

For the inside scoop, we spoke with the show's host, Elisa Kreisinger.
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So, tell us a little bit about the podcast.
"It's based on my experience having strong opinions about pop culture, but then trying to keep my judgement in check. I guess people call that 'open-minded.' I'd be scrolling through Instagram thinking, Ugh how can this grown-ass woman be posting selfies all the time? Is she narcissistic? Is everyone narcissistic? Aren't we just trying to find ourselves in a messy world? Have I found myself? How do we find ourselves? That kind of thing. I have strong opinions about why the Kardashians are important at this point in our culture. I wanted to talk to other women who would broaden my perspective, challenge me, and help me use pop culture as the spoonful of sugar that makes the more philosophical and socio-political questions we all have at 3 a.m. go down a bit easier."

What kind strong opinions are you going be looking at?
"Lots of questions and smart women's opinions on them: Do hashtags reflect something deeper in contemporary culture? Why is there pressure for young women to be effortlessly perfect? Is there a correlation between how good you look on Instagram and how miserable you feel? Can marriage be a radical, feminist act? Why is everyone in my feed sharing feel-good, tearjerker stories? If a woman is saying something intelligent and all you hear is the way it’s being said, is that her problem or yours?"

Those are some big questions. But you chose to kick off the series with the Kardashians — why?
"I usually take an hour-long break from being a feminist every Sunday night to watch Keeping Up With The Kardashians. I wanted to talk to Anne Helen Peterson, who has a PhD in celebrity studies, about why this was. I feel like I can I watch the Kardashians and still be a feminist, but I would never publicly say that...well, until now.

"I feel guilty about my massive consumption of pop culture and I needed her help reconciling that and tell me how to work it off. Spoiler alert: Her response gave me much more positive outlook on the role celebrities play in our culture today. I started with this episode because I hoped other listeners could relate to feeling like they have to compromise their politics to be entertained."

Ever since Serial , podcasts have become such a talked-about medium. What do you think it is about the format that gets people so excited?
"Audio is powerful. Hearing someone speak to you, tell you a story, make you care about something you thought you didn't care about, these are all powerful experiences. With podcasts, these feelings are visceral, because they are delivered directly to your head and heart. I've always been in love with video and moving images. But when you take them away, you're left with something more powerful and honest. With audio, you can always hear when someone's lying, when they're feeling vulnerable, or they just don't believe what they're saying. And that honesty is something you can't find in many other media."

I imagine that kind of intimacy will be true for SOLH, as well.
"You've read R29's work. You've seen our videos. But you haven't heard our voice in this way before."

Subscribe to Strong Opinions Loosely Held on iTunes.

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