The Waves

The “Grandmother’s Fart” Edition

The Waves on Surviving R. Kelly, millennial burnout, and our changing expectations for older women.

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On this week’s episode of the Waves, Christina, Kristen, and Marcia discuss Surviving R. Kelly, a Lifetime docuseries about the R&B star’s alleged abuse of young women. They reflect on the treatment of the victims’ stories and whether it’s likely to change the minds of audiences—and industry collaborators—who’ve been content to ignore these charges for decades. Then, Anne Helen Petersen’s BuzzFeed essay on millennial burnout has dominated social media for weeks—but is the experience she describes really a generational one? The hosts unpack the sources of burnout and share their own relationships to the phenomenon. Finally, high-profile victories for Glenn Close and Nancy Pelosi have led some to suggest that a revolution is under way. Women are staying in the workforce into their 60s and 70s and rising to the top of their fields as a result. Is that changing the way we see the demographic, and is it damaging to equate power with productivity?


In Slate Plus: Is it sexist to cheer for the Bezos divorce?

Other items discussed on the show:

• Our upcoming live show at the Sydney Opera House

•  Surviving R. Kelly

• “America Made an Unforgivable Pact With R. Kelly,” by Willa Paskin in Slate

• “After Surviving R. Kelly, #MeToo Has Finally Returned to Black Girls,” by Salamishah Tillet and Scheherazade Tillet in the New York Times

• “How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation,” by Anne Helen Petersen in BuzzFeed

• “This Is What Black Burnout Feels Like,” by Tiana Clark in BuzzFeed

• “Here’s What ‘Millennial Burnout’ Is Like for 16 Different People,” by Anne Helen Petersen in BuzzFeed

• “I Am (an Older) Woman. Hear Me Roar.,” by Jessica Bennett in the New York Times


• “More Women in Their 60s and 70s Are Having ‘Way Too Much Fun’ to Retire,” by Claire Cain Miller in the New York Times

• “Why Everyone’s 2019 Photos Are So Much More Attractive Than Their 2009 Ones,” by Christina Cauterucci in Slate


• Kristen: Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

• Christina: Rachel Zegler’s YouTube channel

• Marcia: Rachel Devlin’s A Girl Stands at the Door: The Generation of Young Women Who Desegregated America’s Schools

This podcast was produced by Cameron Drews, with help from Melissa Kaplan. Our production assistant is Alex Barasch.

Please remember to like our Facebook page. Send your comments or recommendations on what to cover to And come to our live show at the Sydney Opera House on March 10!