“What is up Daddy Gang, it is your founding father Alex Cooper with Call…Her…Daddy.” This is the intro Call Her Daddy fans hear when they play a new podcast episode. Call Her Daddy is hosted by Alexandra Cooper who sells the explicit details of her sex and personal life through storytelling, advice sessions, and mysoginist comedy. Former co-host Sofia Franklyn left the podcast after a feud with Cooper and with the sponsor Barstool Sports. Even though statistics show Call Her Daddy to be an immensely popular podcast for teenagers, the show projects misleading ideas on feminism, sexuality, and healthy relationships.
Call Her Daddy’s efforts to create a mainstream feminist podcast was a lost cause when they signed a contract with the Owner of Barstool Sport’s David Portnoy back in 2018. Portnoy has been a scandal in the news on multiple occasions as he was stated saying, “Just to make friends with the feminists, I’d like to reiterate that we don’t condone rape of any kind at our Blackout Parties in mid-January. However, if a chick passes out, that’s a grey area.” How can a podcast promoting female empowerment hold any value when they are rooted in a misogynist organization? I believe it can’t, due to the misogyny and heteronormativity that Cooper upholds.
Cooper continuously emphasises pleasing men for external validation and control. In her episode, “Why They Won’t F*** You,” she gives advice to her female-identifying viewers about how to enhance your body when taking an explicit photo. The entirety of the episode advises listeners to do just as Cooper says when it comes to men and what they want, with no recognition of same sex relationships or female desires. Cooper also holds a limited viewpoint as an upper class, white, straight, cis gender, woman.
Another episode named, “You’re Just a Hole,” which offers insight into the degrading nature of the episode with just the title, explains what Cooper and her co-host at the time have learned from their “guy friends.” “Guys only care really about the body, so what we suggest you do is that you take initiative in these [sexual situations], you put a plastic bag over your face, or ski mask…” In this quote Cooper condones her male peers’ misogyny. She informs her listeners of her “guy friends’ advice and continues to call her podcast “female empowerment” even after Portnoy’s public sexism acts.
Another example of misleading information on Call Her Daddy, is in the title itself. Cooper maintains the idea that women can only feel powerful when they take on stereotypically male characteristics; examples of this are domination, power, and control. She also seems to believe that pseudo feminism is feminism. Pseudo feminism is the belief that women deserve more than other genders while feminism is the belief in equality for all genders. As opposed to distinguishing the two, she advises on her show how to gain power over men through sexual acts as a so-called feminist tactic.
Dr. Jenny Withycombe is the Program Administrator for Health and Adapted/Physical Education in Portland Public Schools. She explains how misinformation like Cooper spreads in her podcast can affect young people. “It can still grab a hold in those really unconscious ways, and that’s what’s so dangerous, because then you are no longer critically reflecting on it. It’s happening to us but we don’t even see it.” Call Her Daddy fans may have started listening to the podcast because of the entertainment value. Although some impressionable listeners are still learning about body image, sexuality, and relationships, and media like Call Her Daddy can have a lasting effect on young people’s decision making. The misogyny can become internalized as it did for Cooper. “The louder it yells, the more traction it gets,” Withycombe explains further. As teens, we are ever changing our identities. The multi million dollar podcast Call Her Daddy leaves no room for multiple views, and it guides millions of impressionable listeners in misleading and confusing directions.
Along with understanding how shock value content such as Call Her Daddy affects young people, recognizing how targeted identities and misinformation intersect is crucial. “Most BIPOC students are familiar with misinformation, as well as harmful acts particularly around medicine and medical fields that have been done to BIPOC communities over time,” Withycombe explains. The lack of representation that Cooper provides on her show and when talking about issues can hurt targeted identities further and exposes the medley of harm on Call Her Daddy. True feminists understand intersectionality and acknowledge all genders, races, and sexual identities. When young people are learning about sexuality and relationships, “Most of us are looking out there and saying, ‘if someone has gone before me, I know it’s possible,’” Withycombe says regarding the importance of representation in the media. Cooper speaks to her viewers as though they all identify as a straight women; titles like; “Men, Talk Nasty to Us,” “Let Him Watch Porn,” “He Doesn’t Like You,” “Block Him” all target heterosexual relationships, although listeners hold various sexual identities.
Cooper’s internalized misogyny is clearly demonstrated in her episode where she explains “attractiveness ratings” of women, without the mention of any other genders. “This girl was a hard 5, she knew her place.” This emphasizes female worth to be based solely on their outer beauty and explains men’s purpose to be the judges. “If you’re not happy with yourself [or] your body, then it’s really hard to feel strong and empowered and in control of your own destiny,” Withycombe puts it plainly.
To many, Call Her Daddy is a chance to learn and talk about historically stigmatized topics around sex and sexuality. And, the podcast does partake in open conversations with entertaining and extravagant stories. Some also believe that the podcast offers sex positivity. Dixon wrote in the The Tulane Hullabaloo, “‘Call Her Daddy’ normalized women discussing pleasure and sex which can give women the confidence to discuss these topics in other environments.” Yes, Call Her Daddy has opened up a discussion around sex, but it is a converstaion that only includes white, cis-gender, women which creates further harm to young people learning about themselves as well as to marganlized communities.
As young adults, taking advice from a female-run show that calls itself female empowerment should seem like a reliable thing to do. However, Call Her Daddy is unfortunately the product of misogynist values and places greater emphasis on women’s outer beauty rather than their inner beauty. Call Her Daddy was marketed as a chance for female-identifying folks to talk and learn about sex and sexuality in an open, vulnerable, and non stigmatized way; alas, it fell short of that. Cooper’s perpetuation of sexism as a woman demonstrates how anyone can spread anti-feminism. Alex Cooper: how can you use your power for the empowerment of all?