My username on Twitter is “antiheroine,” and ever since I chose it, I’ve been answering questions about what it means. Sometimes literally what it means—no, it doesn’t have anything to do with drugs, I mean, I’m not pro-heroin, but that’s not what I’m going for in this case. More often, though, I’m asked why I picked the name “antiheroine.” And I never really had a great answer for that, because the truth is that I landed on this username because my own name is so incredibly common that it’s never available for me to claim on websites and apps. I liked the sound of “antiheroine,” and it was available, and so there we are.
But, I do know that the word means something more. Just by definition, it’s the female form of “antihero.” And an antihero is what we call a story’s central character who doesn’t have any typically heroic qualities. So sometimes he’s like the bad guy we love to hate, or sometimes he’s more of a tragic figure, someone who does bad things but we still sympathize with him anyway. Chances are you’re familiar with antiheroes—they’ve been carving out a corner of pop culture for themselves over the past few decades. Cool Hand Luke, Travis Bickle, Don Draper. But when it comes to antiheroines, they’re not as common, or as commonly celebrated.
Unfortunately for those of us who want more antiheroines, they’re hard to find. The thing about an antiheroine is that she’s a combination of good and bad, and our culture tends to want to see women only occupy one of those boxes at a time. She’s either completely good, or she’s completely bad. Anything in-between gets lost, or it gets deliberately buried. And we can’t always find antiheroines by just applying the antihero formula to women. We like antiheroes because they break the rules, but the rules men are expected to follow are usually different from the ones women are expected to follow. So when women break their rules, they become a different kind of character. Something unique. And they have their own, unique stories.
Which brings us to what’s going on here. This podcast is going to be a place for those kind of women and their stories—real women from history, in their own contexts and in all their shades of grey. Some of them you will have heard of before, and some you probably haven’t. But if you like stories about women who caused trouble, or challenged norms, or got uppity, or made messes, or just basically broke the rules, then you’re in the right place.
The first season of Antiheroine will launch in summer of 2017. You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or your favorite podcast app, or download them directly at Soundcloud at antiheroinepodcast. You can also visit the website, antiheroinepodcast.com, to read show notes and to join the mailing list. For faster updates, you can follow on Twitter at antiheroinecast and on Instagram at antiheroinepodcast. Each episode’s subject is going to be a secret until the episode comes out, but I’ll be posting hints and links on social media.
I’ll give you one big hint right now, though: The first season is going to take on the “antiheroine” concept headlong, and it’ll feature stories about women who were legendary criminals and outlaws. I’ll let you guess who the first one will be.
I’m Jen Myers, and this is Antiheroine. Stay tuned.