An honest and open review on Jamie Lang and Francis Boule’s Private Parts podcast.

I have always been an avid watcher of Channel 4’s Made in Chelsea. Although, I am well aware that the television show is filled with ridiculous semi-scripted storylines and glorifies the exaggerated lifestyle of the young rich 20-year-olds of Chelsea, it does not stop me from switching it on every week.

Naturally, when I started to get into Podcasts a few years ago, I was told by a few friends (who also watch Made in Chelsea) that I might enjoy Jamie Lang and Francis Boule’s podcast ‘Private Parts’.

I was immediately interested and started listening from the beginning. I was hooked. Originally, the premise of ‘Private Podcast’ is that Jamie and Francis have both written a diary the week before, and now, in the podcast, they take it in turns to read it out. This is done alongside Francis’ ‘Question of the Week’, which generally generates insults amongst the pair. They would occasionally have a guest, like a comedian or fellow Made in Chelsea star.

As the podcast developed and became more popular, they started to have guests on the podcast every week. Jamie and Francis would still read out their diaries and ask the ‘Question of the Week’, but the conversation would mainly turn to how the successful and/or famous guest became successful. And this is where some of the problems in the podcast lie…

Every time the famous guest told their story on how they became successful, Jamie would end by telling their audience: “you see – you can do anything you want to in life, all you have to do is believe in yourself and keep trying.”

Now, upon first impression this may seem to be a harmlessly encouraging and up-lifting statement, especially if you are listening on your way to university or work on a particularly demotivating cold Monday morning. However, I have a bit of an issue with people telling others that the only thing holding them back is their own self-belief and all we need to do is simply work hard.

We must keep in mind that this advise is coming from Jamie Lang and Francis Boule, two privileged white men who grow up amongst lavish luxury, before finding fame in a reality television show.

So, yes Jamie and Francis, with your status and wealth you can ‘achieve anything’, and perhaps with this elevated platform the only thing that is holding you back is your own self-belief. But, I feel like it can be quite damaging and misrepresentative when its advocate is a man who was privately educated and became famous simply because he is a rich Chelsea boy.

While it might not be bad advise at face value, it does simultaneously discard the patriarchal, white-privileged social structures of society. Other social factors can be blamed of holding people back within society to, such as: race, gender, sexuality, poverty, background, education and so on. It cannot be reducible to only self-belief and work ethic.

At the end of the podcast, Jamie and Francis ask their guest to leave the listener with something inspirational. When Jessica Woodley appeared on the podcast, her inspirational message was “don’t believe people when they tell you, you can’t do anything, because you can.” Jess is from the same background as Jamie and Francis, she was privately educated, became famous on Made in Chelsea and from this status has been able to build a platform for herself through social media. So, while I am a massive fan of hers, this show specifically became a self-validating session consisting of individuals from a very particular demographic, who are arguably not representational to the greater population of listeners

That is not to say that all of the guests are from the same privileged background as Jamie and Francis. The comedian, Caraid Lloyd, is from a very humble background and only became a success in her early thirties – which is a prime example of persistence and hard work paying off.

Again, I’m not completely criticising the attitude that ‘all you need is hard work and self-belief and you can achieve anything’ – but I am against the application of this within the show, considering the background and social positioning of the male presenters dishing out the advice.

Despite this, the ‘Private Parts’ podcast is a lot of fun to listen to and I would still recommend it. Jamie and Francis have brilliant chemistry and talk about mundane issues in an interesting and funny way. But I think that it is important to challenge messages given so idly within mainstream media, and consider whether we believe in the right things. Give it a listen and see what you think.

Categories: Culture

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