INTERVIEW: Sex Ed with DB Podcast
As government funded programs and organizations begin to lose their funding, the work of individuals and small groups to disseminate accurate information about sex, consent and sexuality is crucial.
This month, we're profiling makers and creators that do the work to make the world a more informed, sex positive place. We chatted with Danielle Bezalel about creating an inclusive and feminist podcast, called Sex Ed with DB, to promote sex ed literacy to others (and we think she's damn funny too).
Tell us about yourself and your background!
DB: I'm Danielle aka DB! I'm a fun-loving, fiery, cis-gendered woman who is passionate about sex education and empowering young people, performing on stage with my band Happnstance, traveling the world, and making media that matters. I graduated from UC Berkeley (go bears!) in 2014 with a degree in Film and Media and a minor in Education and I'm so excited to have started my sex ed podcast: Sex ed with DB. Sex Ed with DB is an intersectional, feminist podcast for folks who want to hear real stories from 5 Bay Area voices as we try to revolutionize the way we talk about sex!
What made you want to start a podcast right now?
DB: The year after I graduated from UC Berkeley, I went to Israel to teach English and volunteer. About three months into the experience, my teaching cohort took a day trip to a very religious community in Jerusalem, known as the Community of the Bellz. I had an extremely memorable and challenging encounter with one of the rabbis there who said that all six of his daughters would be married by a matchmaker at 17 years old and learn about sex for the first time on their wedding night -- where they would "hopefully get pregnant that night". MEGA YIKES. While I know that traditions and customs can be meaningful and evoke a sense of community that has existed for generations, it was clear that this tradition took away the basic rights of these six young women. It took away their crucial consent to marry AND have a baby, their right to know what sex is and how to prepare for it, and their agency as human beings. After this heated conversation between me and this rabbi, I couldn't just sit back and do nothing. This podcast is my personal way of fighting back and giving information, tools, and stories to young people so they can use them to better their own lives.
Why is this needed right now?
DB: Given the political situation in this country and where we are -- and always have been -- in regards to (not) prioritizing sex education, we needed education like this yesterday. According to Talktabu.com, every year, nearly 20 million new STIs occur in the United States, half of which infect young people ages 15-24. According to Vday, 1 in 3 women will be sexually assaulted or raped in her lifetime and 37% of female rape victims were first raped between ages 18-24 (Talktabu.com). 26 states in the US require that abstinence-only education be stressed when teaching sex ed (Thoughtco). THIS is why we need sex education right now. We need to teach our youth what consent is and how to ask for it and give it to others and that yes means yes. We need to teach rapists not to rape rather than teaching girls not to wear clothing that makes it easy for rapists to rape. We need to educate youth about STIs and why condoms are important and effective in preventing STIs and unintended pregnancies. These topics should not be stigmatized, they should be commonplace. We have so much work to do.
What topics are you hoping to cover moving forward?
DB: In Season one we covered the following topics: 1) sex education and how we talk about sex, 2) STIs, safe sex, and feeling good, 3) monogamy, polyamory, and everything in between, 4) consent and rape culture, 5) gender and sexuality on a spectrum, 6) kink, BDSM, and flirting. And there is still so much to cover! In Season 2, we hope to cover: periods, sexual assault, body image, pain during sex, sex toys and masturbation, and more! If you have topics that you'd like to see us discuss in Season 2, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
What have you learned in developing a podcast so far?
DB: As the creator, producer, and host of this podcast, I've learned so, so much over the past 6 months. I've learned that a lot of work needs to constantly go into the project from start to finish, and that I could NOT have done this alone! There are so many tasks to be done: from meeting with the team members on a Google Hangout call, to planning and executing an awesome event, to interviewing and recording our feautured voices, to editing and sound mixing all of the episodes, to posting on all of our social media platforms, to forming solid partnerships, to creating unique graphics, and more. I was so lucky to have such a rockstar team for Season 1 that included content editors, an audio technician, a graphic illustrator, a social media and marketing lead, a musician, sound editors, and guest consultants who would help when needed. You really need a group of passionate, dedicated, talented individuals to make all of the pieces of this beautiful and difficult puzzle fit together. It's a constant hustle but totally worth it every step of the way.
Do you have any advice to other creators out there who have a cool project swirling around their head?
DB: I know it sounds cliche, but just go for it! Make a list of things you need to accomplish, recruit the most brilliant and dedicated people you know to help, reach out to new people who may want to join in on the cause, and go for it. Whether you want to make a film, start a company, or make a podcast of your very own, it's all about collaboration, patience, grit, hustling, and determination. Put your game face on and give it your all!
Check out Sex Ed with DB here, give a few episodes a listen and if you like it, share it or leave reviews! Thanks to Danielle for chatting with us and a shout out to the entire lovely team at the podcast as well.
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