Okay, guess I’ll make a serious post about this:
There’s a problem in audio drama/serial fiction podcasts with representation. (I don’t listen to nonfiction podcasts, so I cannot comment on those.) Obviously, a lot of kinds of media have representation problems, but popular audio dramas often get lauded for diversity, so.
There’s a real disconnect between the kinds of people these stories are about and who gets to tell these stories. Podcasts like Welcome to Night Vale, The Adventure Zone, or The Strange Case of Starship Iris are highly praised for their well-written LGBT characters or characters of color. And yeah, they’re good! Their representation is sometimes even very meaningful and profound. I don’t want to dismiss that, especially all the great work that LGBT+ actors and actors of color have put into those kinds of shows. But they also tend to all have moments that bring me up short, make me go, “Oof, a straight white person definitely wrote this, didn’t they?”
Even good and radical sentiments in these podcasts ring hollow when I remember that straight white writers are the ones gaining reputation and profit from the stories that aren’t theirs.
Creative control matters. There needs to be more diversity among podcast writers and directors. Representation in characters is great, but that isn’t a substitute for a genuinely critical point of view. Take Friends at the Table. It’s not perfect, but it really shines in a lot of ways. LGBT characters and relationships are consistently centered, which makes sense for a show where at least four of the contributors are gay or trans. The story is actively anti-colonialist–yeah, the GM is black. There have been lines that I’ve cried at because a person of color wrote them. Something very real and beautiful lives in the beats of stories made by and for people like me.
So support creators of color. Support LGBT+ creators. For that matter, support disabled, non-Christian, poor, or any other kinds of marginalized creators, and especially support creators that are more than one of these things. Demand more from this medium that so many great things are made in.
@podcasts-collected Signal boost?