"No Man's Land" Podcast Educates Listeners on Rule-Breaking Women in History

Podcasts have become one of the fastest-growing mediums for news and entertainment over the past decade.

With endless options to choose from, listeners are essentially able to find a show covering even their most niche interests. For feminists, podcasts have offered a point of connection and education like never before. The latest addition to the feminist library is “No Man’s Land,” a history podcast about women “who were too bad for your textbooks.”

No Man’s Land is hosted by Alexis Coe, in-house historian for The Wing—a host of work and community spaces designed for women.  The Wing’s mission is to bring about “the advancement of women through community,” founded with the inspiration to create co-working and social spaces and modeled on the idea of the women’s club movement. The collective boasts stylish, modern spaces in New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D. C., currently, and has its sights set on cities like Los Angeles, London, and Toronto in the near future.

On November 15, The Wing took its first steps into the podcasting world with No Man’s Land. The show promises to explore the untold and forgotten stories of women in history who have refused to follow the rules prescribed to them, including a range of episodes on figures such as a 1930s Harlem gangstress to 1960s LGBTQ activists. The premiere episode followed the life of Stephanie St. Clair, known as Madame Queenie, a 1920s woman who ran a numbers game in New York and used her wealth to advocate for the black community.

As host of the show, Coe says that her ideas for whom to feature reach back to the days of grad school when she would develop spreadsheets of women whose stories she wanted to share. "It's important that people realize this is not a podcast in which I'm just telling a biography that I have compiled," she explains. "I'm actually doing original research. As a historian, I can't just take any history as literal; I have to check all sources. And what's been really fun is that when you check the sources, you always find holes and gaps, and you find mistakes... so we actually do break ground in women's history, and I'm really proud of that."

Much of the foundation for No Man’s Land is centered on the need to foster more equal historical representation for women. The women featured on the podcast have gone to incredible lengths to bring about progress in our country, and the hope is that the show offers the first steps toward deserved recognition for these game-changers. "They are women who have...either been reduced to one thing, usually because their narratives have been told by men, or in the race to catch up with 'men's history,' there have been comprehensive biographies, and we've lost the details," Coe further explains. “American history has been traditionally told by white men, and they tend to only include other white men in textbooks. This is unfortunate for our education, and it's an embarrassment of riches for a woman's historian, like me."

With this important work being done, No Man’s Land is on the path to correcting some of these wrongs. Its creative storytelling will allow listeners to not only educate themselves, but also pay tribute to the women who have helped build our nation.

Listen to No Man’s Land here.