November 24, 2020

Rebecca Traister on why we’re afraid of full-grown women

Brittany Packnett Cunningham speaks with the New York magazine journalist on this week’s episode of UNDISTRACTED

This week is heavy on contradiction. With news of a COVID-19 vaccine on the horizon, we’re facing a record surge in cases. As pie photos flood Instagram, food insecurity across the country is spiking, with women and children, particularly BIPOC families, hit hardest. And as we continue to celebrate our first-ever female Vice President-elect, the U.S. is still, as Rebecca Traister, this week’s guest on UNDISTRACTED puts it, “deeply uncomfortable with women in positions of power.” Trying to make sense of it all? You won’t want to miss this episode.


On the latest episode of UNDISTRACTED, Brittany Packnett Cunningham sits down with journalist (and founding member of The Meteor) Rebecca Traister.

In their conversation, the writer at large for New York magazine and author of three books, including Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger, explains how young girls are being used in political messaging, why we’re so afraid of full-grown women and what to do now that the election is over.

A few highlights:

  • On Kamala Harris’ victory: “Kamala Harris’ election to the vice presidency is historic and joyful and history-making. It is also true that Joe Biden won the nomination for the presidency over six women—including Kamala Harris. And we can’t lose sight of that.”
  • On how we don’t give women leaders room to be human: “You can ideologically oppose John McCain morning till night and still say, ‘Yeah, but he was a war hero, and he did that good thing when he gave the thumbs down.’ We can integrate our mixed feelings about white men. We cannot do that with women. We are really bad at offering full-grown women the generosity of a view of them as full human beings.”
  • On why we need to stay engaged right now: “If all these predictions of a landslide had been true—if the presidency, the House, the Senate, were all in the hands of Democrats, it was still going to be a massive challenge to start to do the corrective work to ‘unbreak’ some of the institutions that are in hard right-wing control right now. That was still going to be a really hard project.”

Listen on Apple Podcasts,  SpotifyStitcher or wherever you get your podcasts.


The Meteor is guided by our collective; here’s what one founding member is up to this week!

Hi, I'm Rebecca Carroll and this is how I am keeping it pushing in an incredibly difficult year for the country:

WATCHING The Crown on Netflix—but only the Princess Diana episodes. How she continues to be such a beguiling figure I don’t quite know, but I think a lot of it has to do with the way she went through her young life wearing her empathy on the outside of her body.

LISTENING a Spotify playlist called “Mom” that my 15-year-old son made me. It has 73 songs, and it’s a mix of a few of my personal OG faves (Biggie’s “Juicy,” Jay-Z’s “Heart of the City,” Kendrick’s “Swimming Pools”), some of the stuff we both like (SZA’s “Love Galore,” Frank Ocean’s “Swim Good”) and then some of the newer stuff he wants me to connect with (J. Cole, 21 Savage).

READING Lady Sings the Blues by Billie Holiday with William Dufty for a project I’m working on right now, and I’m just so bowled over by her strength of spirit, sense of self, playfulness with language and just her sheer fortitude as a Black woman living and working in 1950s America—when she wasn’t allowed to use public bathrooms while touring the country and giving audiences the gift of her voice.

FOLLOWING Duro Olowu. His IG feed is straight fire—it’s art, it’s elegance, it’s fashion, it’s an entire mood.

DOING MORE OF regular Zoom cocktails and FaceTime with girlfriends. I used to be that gal who was like, “Yo, sometimes we don’t need to see each other; we can just have a nice catch-up, tea-spilling chat on the phone.” But I miss seeing my girls in person so much, and have learned to just get easy with the fact that they’ve all done seen me looking my worst anyway, so whatever.

DOING LESS OF waiting on anyone or anything.

GETTING MY JOY FROM making good work.

Rebecca Carroll is a writer, cultural critic, host of the podcast “Come Through with Rebecca Carroll” (WNYC Studios) and The Meteor’s Editor-at-Large. Her forthcoming memoir, Surviving the White Gaze, has been optioned by MGM/TV and Killer Films, with Rebecca attached to adapt for a limited scripted series.