How to Be a Girl: Open Your Heart ★★★★
I am a parent of two children. They’re different from each other, certainly different from me; they’re young, and will change enormously in their lives while I will always be their parent, and I have to keep up with them; they are challenging and I don’t know what I’m doing, yet my role is to guide and help them, and keep them safe. Not particularly scary, but I certainly don’t know all the answers. I assume most parents feel similarly on a regular basis. You do what you think is right most of the time–no one tries to be a bad parent, but most people don’t know all the answers, so you make your best effort and know you’ll screw up some percentage of the time. And usually, you can validate your tactics and feelings with other parents who might be in the same boat, if you so choose.
But what would you do or say as a parent if your child told you they were a different gender than their body parts reflected? At 3 years old? That your little boy is a little girl? How to Be a Girl is about this journey between Marlo Mack and her daughter M, who is now 7 years old. Mack admits she feels the way many parents do: she doesn’t know what to do with this information, and she screws some stuff up, and it’s okay. Her path is worth sharing because it is valuable to understand, rather than ignore or shun, something you have no or little experience with. Mack takes the listener through some painful realizations, fears of the future, and awkward experiences, as well as sharing hope and the undeniable love within their family.
I think this little family is amazing. Although the podcast is hosted anonymously, Mack is taking a huge personal risk for both her and her daughter by sharing her story, and it is a courageous move because it is intended to educate and normalize what it means to be transgender. The backlash could be tremendously negative, especially among cultures who feel that to be transgender is somehow wrong. But 2015 was definitely a year that opened a lot of doors for transgender people, and I think HTBAG will change people’s perceptions about the trans community, as well as remind us that Mack is a mother just as I am a mother; there is much we don’t understand, don’t know how to handle, and are afraid of doing wrong, but we try our best. Thank you Marlo and M for sharing your very personal story.
How to Be a Girl and another great show, First Day Back, are both part of The Heard, a collective of 6 podcasts headed by Jakob Lewis of Neighbors. HTBAG fits so seamlessly into this collective, and I’m glad it has found a home to help with marketing and growth, as well as a podcast family with which to collaborate.
What do you think of this podcast? Leave a comment below and let’s discuss!
Audible Feast Ratings
Educational Value (5 / 5)
Pop Culture Value (5 / 5)
Host Listen-ability (3 / 5)
Marlo Mack (not her real name) seems a little uncomfortable or reluctant as a podcast host, but I’m sure this will smooth out over time. Her style is much like Tally Abecassis’s.
Flow & Production Value (2 / 5)
I really wish this podcast was longer, both in number of episodes and length of each episode. The production value is fine, and I know this is a new show, but I think the episodes could have been combined to make a 20-30 minute episode … but then there would have only been a few chapters of this great story. I hope to hear more from this podcast and hopefully if HTBAG can get some funding, it can produce longer episodes.
Humor (2 / 5)
Investigation (4 / 5)
The program actually has some pretty good scientific data presentation, which complements the “real life” practical side very well. It’s not distracting, it’s well-placed, and it’s valuable to the story being told.
Storytelling (3 / 5)
Much like Tally Abecassis on First Day Back, Marlo Mack provides a very tender and honest journal of what life is really like for her and her daughter. I just wish it was longer and explained more facets, angles, and featured even more fabulous interviews with Mack’s daughter, M.
Makes Me a Better Person (5 / 5)
Overall Audible Feast Rating: (4 / 5)
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Longest Shortest Time, First Day Back, Neighbors, Arrvls, Nocturne