Florence Given: ‘Conversing with each other is how we change the world’

Florence Given: ‘Conversing with each other is how we change the world’

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  • Florence Given has just launched her new podcast, Exactly, and we want to know everything about it…

    Florence Given is one of the most powerful voices of the moment, with the 23-year-old’s name synonymous with feminism and empowerment.

    From her bestselling book (read Women Don’t Owe You Pretty immediately) to her feminist art, Florence’s influence is limitless.

    This was proven once again this month, as Florence launched her brand new podcast series, Exactly., produced by Somethin’ Else.

    ‘I’ve started this podcast because I want to have conversations that have the nuance and depth you can’t get from an Instagram caption’, Florence explained of Exactly., covering sex, relationships, social media, feminism and body image. ‘It’s always been so important for me to bring people together, I love human beings and I love people and I love learning. I want to connect us, I want to empower us, I want to educate us and figure this shit out myself along the way.’

    With guests from Layla Saad and Madam Storm to Jameela Jamil, Florence will be unpacking provocative subjects each week from sexual empowerment and trans liberation to queer and sexual identity, and the problem with ‘wokeness’.

    In short, this is going to be amazing.

    MC Features Editor Jenny Proudfoot sat down with the iconic Florence to talk Exactly. and what we can expect from our soon-to-be favourite new podcast…

    Congratulations on your new podcast! What can we expect from Exactly.?

    Hilarious, joyful and intellectual conversations from a very curious host. I’ve always loved learning about people and their perspectives on life and this podcast is a way for me to introduce these incredible guests to the people from my audience and beyond.

    What was it that prompted you to create the podcast?

    Instagram has felt a little too black and white for me to be able to cram in all of the colourful and insightful things that I have to say and for the conversations I want to be having. I want to increase human connection and I think this can be a little hard to do over Instagram where it’s one sided, it’s a person on a platform talking and it’s one-sided. I love the back and forth of a podcast conversation.

    What was your selection process when choosing the topics?

    I worked with my amazing team at Somethin’ Else to find the guests. I gave my producers a list of all the incredible people that I wanted to talk with, and we found a way to make it work into the 5 different topics we’ve split the podcast into. Sex, relationships, feminism, social media and body image. These are also all topics that I discuss in my book Women Don’t Owe You Pretty so it felt really natural.

    Is there a message that you hope people take away from Exactly.?

    I want to ignite a fire inside people! I view it as a candle that can light endless other candles. I want to get people excited, passionate and guide them back to their own desires and intuition. I want to spark joy, build community and host interesting discussions that hopefully break the echo chamber we sometimes find ourselves in on Instagram.

    Why is it important that we keep having honest and raw conversations?

    Conversing with each other is how we change the world, it’s how we change and uproot and expose the systems that get in the way of people living their most fulfilling lives. If we don’t have honesty, we have nothing. I want people to feel comfortable expressing themselves with me and feel like they can speak their mind, even if it’s ‘wrong’. There’s always room to make mistakes.

    You have emphasised that you will be learning throughout the process too – was that an important message for you to relate?

    Yes, we can’t change anyone’s attitude towards anything if we aren’t honest. I also feel like I have a responsibility to show to people that even though I have a platform, that I have written a book, that this absolutely is not synonymous with ‘knowing everything’. I’m insightful and have a lot to say, but I don’t know everything. That’s why my guests are so important to this show. They’ve opened my mind a lot.

    As a community, do we tend to be too unforgiving when having these sorts of conversations?

    I’ve learned a lot over the years since being in this social justice online space. My first inclination when I learned about how fucked up the world is was to attack and berate anyone who got something wrong. If anyone had even a slight hint of racism, sexism or homophobia I would have gone in hard on them. I’m not talking direct sexism, but perhaps if a man asked if he could ‘lend me a hand’ with my suitcase I’d have chewed his arm off. But now I realise that it’s counterproductive, that while these are all things and ‘isms’ that I despise, loathe and hate – that it does not justify me attacking that person in return. I’ve learned how to converse and allow people to see things from another perspective through dialogue. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink – when it comes to the people in my life I’ve learned other approaches towards getting them to see things a different way through drip feeding new information to them. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

    Your line-up so far looks amazing – what did you look for with your guests?

    Authentic people – I have a good radar for them. People who know what they’re talking about, people who I think are brilliant speakers and people who have an incredible energy to them. All of my guests are so different – their backgrounds, their knowledge and their experiences. This is what was most important to me. I love people so much and I have loved getting to interview them.

    What I love is that you’re not just building a podcast, you’re really building a community…

    I find so much healing in bringing people together. The further we feel from community, the more isolated we feel, the more dangerous it is to become susceptible to radical views. Loneliness can drive people down really scary routes mentally. No one has to be alone. The thing I love about my Q&A’s on Instagram – and now the podcast – is that they allow people to think ‘Oh! Shit! it’s not just me who experiences this!’.

    You’ve spoken about wanting women to wake up to their power. Would you say that’s at the backbone of everything you do?

    I’m essentially on a life long mission to eliminate shame and liberate people through the tool of art, words and conversations. To show them that they don’t have to be disempowered by the events of their life – that there are so many ways for you to combat and challenge systems of oppression. To still be fucking kind even though you’ve been through hell, to be yourself and to understand yourself better. I just want women to feel more connected to themselves and others. Women have tolerated so much bullshit for too long. This was the tipping point for my journey into feminism – realising I was ‘putting up’ with too much for far too long that myself and other women around me didn’t need to.

    What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

    My dad is very wise – he’s taught me a lot recently about being slower when it comes to my reactions. That not every single thought I have needs to be acted upon, or processed, or delved into. I have a habit of over analysing things and I just need to slow down and sometimes quite literally ‘sleep on it’.

    Exactly. with Florence Given is available weekly on Apple, Spotify, Acast and all podcast providers. This is a Somethin’ Else production.

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