Arts & Culture / Mosaic / October 24, 2012

Feminism on air

Sophomore Hannah Schierl and senior Lily McGarr talk during their radio show Bad Words, which focuses on music, feminism and political topics. (Jessica Couviller/TKS)

To senior Lily McGarr and sophomore Hannah Schierl, feminism is not a new topic.

Both students are involved in Students Against Sexism in Society and have taken gender and women’s studies courses at Knox. This term, they have taken their knowledge to 90.7 WVKC in their new radio show: “Bad Words.”

The show airs every Sunday night at 7 p.m. Originally, it was intended to be SASS’s own radio show. However, McGarr and Schierl decided they wanted a show that could be their own while still embodying and promoting feminist ideals.

“It’s still a feminist radio show, and I happen to be one of the presidents of SASS, but it’s not technically the club radio show,” McGarr said. “Both [SASS and Bad Words] are in the same vein, especially this year, but SASS mainly runs on events, like getting speakers.”

The show is mainly comprised of commentary by Schierl and McGarr, who get ideas for topics on websites such as or The New York Times and bring them to the show to discuss.

“We talk about issues, feminist issues. Stuff with gender, stuff with race. It’s basically a discussion show. [We discuss a lot of] current events,” McGarr said.

McGarr and Schierl do most of the talking but have a receptive audience. They also invite people to come to the show, contribute and listen.

“We have a lot of people that just come and sit and listen to our show. We have actually gotten a lot of feedback,” Schierl said.

Both appear to be truly engaged in feminist issues and are passionate about bringing them up on the air.

“I come from a very small town that’s very conservative, so I was always a ‘rebel’ because I would question things,” Schierl said. “When I came here, I took a gender and women’s studies class and I fell in love with it. It’s my current major. So ever since I took a gender and women’s studies class, I’ve just been a lot more into it and wanting to do something more with it.”

McGarr has a similar opinion.

“I’ve always been interested in current events and stuff like that, but I never really labeled it ‘feminism” until I came here [to Knox],” McGarr said.

Schierl and McGarr also play music on their show.

“We play all kinds of music,” McGarr said. “A lot of rock, pop and rap. We basically just try to find women [who are artists]. We’re feminist-minded people.”

Both Schierl and McGarr agree that their main goal is to raise awareness.

“There are a lot of things that go on from day to day that you might not always think about as being a feminist issues. So we want to throw them at you and tell you our spin on things,” Schierl said.

“I think there’s a lot of people that just don’t care, but we want to make people realize that feminism is an intersexual issue, that it doesn’t just have to do with gender and sexism,” McGarr said. “It has to do with your sexuality. It has to do with race. It has to do with class. It has to do with religion. It’s not a baseline issue. We’re making people know that there’s not just mainstream feminism.”

Tags:  feminism gender and women's studies Hannah Schierl Lily McGarr radio SASS wvkc

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Kate Mishkin
Kate Mishkin is a junior majoring in English literature and minoring in journalism. This is her first year as managing editor, after having served as co-news editor and co-mosaic editor. Kate is the recipient of two awards from the Illinois College Press Association for news and feature stories and one award from the Associated Collegiate Press. In 2014 she won the Theodore Hazen Kimble Prize and Ida M. Tarbell Prize in Investigate Journalism. During the summer of 2014, she will be interning at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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1 Comment

Oct 26, 2012

Typo: in the final paragraph, “intersexual issue” should be “intersectional issue.” Intersectionality is the idea that many different topics overlap, as Lily goes on to demonstrate in the second part of the quote.

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