Society Magazine

“So Popular!” with Janet Mock: The Feminist Pop Culture Show We’ve Been Waiting For

Posted on the 07 January 2015 by Juliez
“So Popular!” with Janet Mock: The Feminist Pop Culture Show We’ve Been Waiting For

Janet Mock

Many of us are fans of Janet Mock’s work as a transgender activist and her incredible New York Times Bestselling book Redefining Realness. Now we have a new medium through which to appreciate Mock’s fierceness: she’ll host her own MSNBC show, “So Popular!”

I applaud MSNBC for choosing a transgender woman of color to headline their new online show. Mock has been very vocal about her experience of accepting and owning her womanhood, including her choice to have gender reconstructive surgery. She states on her blog: “I was born in what doctors proclaim is a boy’s body. I had no choice in the assignment of my sex at birth…My genital reconstructive surgery did not make me a girl. I was always a girl.”

On “So Popular!” Janet Mock aims to explore, “All things culture, from art and entertainment, to literature and anything trending in the zeitgeist.” It seems likely that Mock’s intellect and choice of guests will create a program that’s not merely a fancier version of E! News, but one in which pop culture topics are explored in terms of their larger political and cultural ramifications. Mock herself put it perfectly, stating that the goal of the show is “to discuss the things you pretend you’re too smart to like in an effort to expand the idea of what is considered political and worthy of analysis.”

This is what works so well about Mock’s new online show, the first episode of which is now available. Pop-culture topics that might otherwise be considered “low-brow” are analyzed within a more complex sociopolitical context. For instance, Mock’s inaugural interview with Sherri Shepherd seamlessly spans from Shepherd’s various professional endeavors to her personal experience of being a black comedienne in a post-Eric Garner world. Mock fulfills her mission statement by thoroughly analyzing the pop culture phenomena that consumes our world and news feeds.

Additionally, Mock brings in experts from a wide range of backgrounds. The show’s attention to diversity has been praised by publications such as The Advocate, which noted that of the guests featured in the first episode, one was a white man, three were women of color, and one an African-American man. Furthermore, the topics of discussion themselves accounted for diversity. For example, the cultural and racial aspects of films of the holiday season were dissected in one segment in a viewer-friendly, decidedly unpretentious way.

If you’re not sold on the premise of a thoughtful, diverse approach to pop-culture alone, though, Mock’s charisma and intellect will likely be enough to win you over. She handles these topics with the grace and seriousness that they deserve while keeping the show’s tone relatable and fun. Moreover, her show fills a serious gap in cultural content by analyzing pop-culture through a sociopolitical lens. I highly recommend checking out the first episode here and can’t wait to see how this fantastic show evolves.

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