Audrey Aradanas and Evelyne Zapata are going to change things. That’s their goal, anyway. The two FIU grads are the founders of Miami Grrrl, an intersectional, anti-capitalist feminist collective that puts out a semi-monthly podcast – called Grrrl Uninterrupted – and takes part in various feminist events across the city.
“A lot of people give shit to young women and girls, but girls can change the world,” asserts Aradanas, who hosts and moderates the podcast. As she remembers it, the twosome, who have been friends since elementary school, were attending a leadership conference for women when Aradanas had the realization that she was in a room of her peers.
“On the panel there were these really prominent women leaders. I was sitting there and was like, ‘that’s us,’” she recalls. “Because I’m pretty sure they started out just like us. We’re leaders in our own community, in our own right. Let’s create a Miami feminist organization.”
Her exuberance is palpable, which is evident on the podcast. And while she’s an animated and engaging host, it was Zapata’s idea to push the podcast to the forefront.
“We wanted to start a podcast because talking about issues that we care about feels like the most natural thing to do,” she explains. “We do it regularly and wanted to share our thoughts, feelings, and obsessions with others who feel the same.”
Not surprisingly, the podcast is young and progressive, but that isn’t exactly its strength. In the “Let’s Talk About Sex” episode, we’re introduced to different speakers, each with an awkward sex story. One girl talks about walking in on her roommate having sex on their shared couch; another recalls a harrowing overheard spanking incident; the third talks about how she got over queefing shame. And sure, it’s funny, and they’re getting the awkward parts of sex out of the way, but what feels important is the openness — that there are girls sharing with and reassuring other girls.
“Queefing is a normal thing,” says Rachel, the podcast guest with the reformed queefing phobia, “for anyone who doesn’t know.”
“I am a true believer in the power of storytelling, and it is very deliberate that we personalize everything that we do,” Aradanas says. “Each of us is so unique and can bring so much power in our own way. We need to highlight that.”
Intimacy not only drives the conversation, it makes the podcast undeniably Miami. In another episode, the participants discuss the difference in privilege between Cuban and Colombian immigrants, a distinction that probably wouldn’t even be made in most cities in the U.S. And while both young women expressed a love/hate relationship with their hometown, it’s a large part of their mission to give back to it.
“Feminism in Miami is growing slowly but surely,” says Zapata. “It feels so right to be able to bring important conversations and events to people in a city that means so much to me. Ultimately, we’d love to provide Miamians the same education and guidance Audrey and I have received from friends and mentors.”
Their latest effort to do so is 98 Seconds: The Every Day American Story, a workshop addressing sexual assault. A reaction to the fact that someone is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds in the U.S., the event is Miami Grrrl’s attempt to define and dismantle rape culture.
“We talk about sexual assault and rape culture, we know about these things, but it’s de-sensitized. We need to talk about that. We need to learn from each other,” says Aradanas. Zapata adds, “We want to show how rape culture has been normalized in our society, and help others recognize it and understand how detrimental it can be to men, women, and all genders. It affects everyone.”
The workshop will be a safe space for participants to share their stories, ask questions, and be uncomfortable – which happens to be the girls’ M.O.
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“I truly believe that when you’re changing an individual’s point of view, you’re changing the world,” says Aradanas.
In which case, Miami Grrrl is already well on its way.
98 Seconds: The Every Day American Story
8 p.m. Friday, April 28, at Space Mountain Miami, 738 NW 62nd St, Miami. Admission is free. Visit the Facebook event page.