I wasn’t going to write another review this week. I would take the weekend to listen to a bunch of podcasts and decide what to write on next. Then, some interesting news started hitting the podcast spheres. It was Meghan Markle, actress, royal wife, and now a podcaster. Archeteypes from Archwell Audio. Reviews were coming out.
Some were absolutely scathing.
I took a look at a snippet of a one-star review and rolled my eyes. It was from a UK publication. At this point, I’m getting ready to listen because while I’m not a royal watcher, I am generally aware as a point of entertainment. Who doesn’t love a little bit of drama that has absolutely nothing to do with them? I think this deserved a different eye, so I wanted to give it.
Then the next bit of news hit. Archetypes had taken the #1 spot. Okay, okay. Yes, it’s time to listen, even if it is a Spotify exclusive and I have to change players.
Episode One, Ambition.
Let’s talk about Meghan herself first. I don’t really watch TV so I can’t comment on her voice and if she is like Stephanie Beatriz (where her most famous character’s voice is not anything like her real voice). I can tell that our host can come down to the microphone, and knows control. It just helps that her voice is warm and comforting. This just makes the podcast that much easier to absorb.
Archetypes is easy to sink into. I honestly wanted to just go along on a journey. This podcast is designed to feel like a lazy river ride. It has a direction, it’s just not necessarily in a big rush to get you there. Relax, and take the time to just listen. Overall, from a production standpoint, they hit the money on ear and quality. I do feel like the introduction of this episode was a bit too long, but I’m hoping that’s just because it’s the first episode. This is a team between Archwell, Gimlet, and Spotify that created a top-notch product. Every element is supporting the overall journey and message. I don’t feel taken out of the atmosphere built at any moment, even when we switch gears from listening to a conversation between friends to a conversation with an expert.
Why would we need a conversation with an expert? Well, Meghan has brought forward a much-needed conversation that some people think is sexist even to mention. Women are equal, aren’t they? Don’t they have equality? Why are you talking about what “boxes” are women put into? If you don’t think both men and women are put into boxes, well I don’t know what to tell you. We all are. I’d honestly be curious to see a podcast from Meghan’s husband discussing the male side of this question.
It’s powerful that it was decided to frame these conversations as archetypes rather than stereotypes. The choice of language here shows the team has decided to take a stand. There are words that are positive for men, and negative for women. By making them an archetype, a heroic word, this conversation refocuses the negative to a positive and gives agency back to the women.
This episode is a conversation with someone incredible. Some might call her the GOAT in women’s tennis. Of course, it’s Serena Williams. Criticized for being ambitious, passionate, and in some ways just for being confident. I admit I don’t see much of the criticism that Williams herself has faced. I follow one sports team (Go Bills!). I see her as an incredible athlete that I would probably be intimidated by. She's tall, I'm short, Williams is a pro athlete and I was a benchwarmer for my short-lived athletic careers. I would call that a natural reaction. I am filled with wondrous intimidation, rather than a fearful one.
I find this episode inspirational. It was an experience listening to these two very close friends discuss throughout the course of the one-hour episode. What is the image of a top athlete who also is a mother, what happens behind the scenes, and what don’t we see from the outside? What does Meghan see of Serena, what does Serena see of Meghan, and what glimpses of their shared humanity are we seeing through this podcast?
As an exciting bonus, what’s next as Serena Williams evolves to be the next version of herself - stepping away from professional tennis? Isn’t ambition another way to phrase passion?
I loved this podcast. I love that it’s approachable and it was a great decision to start with a pair of friends who have an excellent rapport. I want people to actually listen to this podcast, even though I know not everyone will. It may be the first Spotify exclusive I listen to regularly. Hat’s off to the teams that put this podcast together. It’s a quietly important one, and I think we should all spend some time considering our perspective of stereotypes and archetypes.
Link to Archetypes from Archwell Audio Here.
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