Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Uncategorized
3 March 2021updated 03 Aug 2021 11:55am

A new podcast promises to provide insight into ­Gen Z life – but proves an infuriating, outdated listen

Although it covers important and sensitive issues, Chloe Combi’s “You Don’t Know Me” can feel exploitative in its approach.

By Anna Leszkiewicz

A new podcast series hosted by the journalist and youth expert Chloe Combi promises to give an insight into contemporary ­teenage life. Each episode is themed around a different issue affecting young people – sex, work, popularity, porn – and contains frank interviews with teenagers as well as reflections from adult experts.

There are some important and sensitive subjects considered, such as intimate partner violence (which is more likely to affect teenagers than 20-somethings), in an episode that features moving testimony from a young survivor. I’m glad that young people were given a platform to voice their own concerns about these subjects, which makes it all the more disappointing that one such issue is handled so clumsily.

The second episode, “Body Image”, focuses on eating disorders including anorexia and orthorexia, but its approach feels exploitative and sensationalised. The episode begins with a clip from a 16-year-old (who, we later learn, is severely unwell and undergoing outpatient treatment) who tells us her current weight, height and goal weight, admitting that she knows reaching that goal could kill her. As the episode continues, she makes a ­number of explicit disclosures about her eating, her efforts to hide her illness, ­graphic descriptions of her body, and other troubling confessions.

[see also: Life Skills by Rookie is a sensitive self-help podcast]

It makes for uncomfortable listening. Reporting guidelines from the eating disorder charity Beat advise against mentioning past goal weights, specific details of disordered behaviour or images of emaciation, as such descriptions are potentially triggering, and eating disorders are uniquely competitive illnesses. But this podcast includes such details, and I found myself hoping that any teenagers concerned about their own body image were not listening.

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy
THANK YOU

There are other missteps, too: Combi searches for simple causes (social media and Instagram peer pressure) for what is a complex mental illness. A teenager further into her recovery offers a rare thoughtful voice, but this is an otherwise infuriating, outdated listen. 

Content from our partners
Why competition is the key to customer satisfaction
High streets remain vitally important to local communities
The future of gas

You Don’t Know Me 
Podimo/Podcasts/Spotify

This article appears in the 03 Mar 2021 issue of the New Statesman, Humanity vs the virus