The Gray Area with Sean Illing

The Gray Area with host Sean Illing is a philosophical take on culture, politics, and everything in between. We don’t pretend to have the answers, but we do offer a space for real dialogue. Resist certainty, embrace ambiguity, and get some cool takes on a very hot world. Formerly the Vox Conversations podcast. New episodes drop every Monday and Thursday.


How society sexualizes us

Vox’s Emily St. James talks with the celebrated author and trans activist Julia Serano about her new book, Sexed Up. They talk about what "sexualization" really means, and why sexualizing behaviors are so pervasive and widespread throughout society. They also discuss why we're so prone to classify and categorize people, how patterns of what Julia calls "enforced ignorance" are communicated to children, and how we might build a society with a healthier sexual ethic — one that better protects marginalized people.

Host: Emily St. James (@emilyvdw), Senior Correspondent, Vox

Guest: Julia Serano (@JuliaSerano), writer, musician, activist


  • Sexed Up: How Society Sexualizes Us, and How We Can Fight Back by Julia Serano (Seal Press; 2022)

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This episode was made by: 

  • Producer: Erikk Geannikis
  • Editor: Amy Drozdowska
  • Engineer: Patrick Boyd
  • Deputy Editorial Director, Vox Talk: A.M. Hall

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 2022-09-22  56m