The Podcast “Call Her Daddy” is described in its synopsis on Spotify as “the most-listened-to podcast by women” on the app. In honor of the release of Alex Cooper’s fourth season as the show’s solo host, I want to discuss “Call Her Daddy,” its value in the female-identifying community, and what the show gets wrong.
Let me begin my analysis by admitting that I’m addicted to the show. I listen to almost every episode. I find myself constantly checking and rechecking Spotify to see if Cooper has dropped her latest episode. How is it not Wednesday yet?
It was dark in the winter of 2022, and I was cold and single. A friend of mine told me about the show, so I played an episode during my workout. I was immediately hooked. Cooper is unapologetically and fearlessly feminine. She tackles sex, relationships and even masturbation with confidence and wit. She destigmatizes female masturbation by framing it as an everyday part of women’s physical and mental health and making it glamorous. She empowers her listeners, whom she affectionately calls the “Daddy Gang”, giving them candid advice, for example, on how to identify a toxic relationship. The show, which started as a raunchy, jaw-dropping podcast about sex, has matured in the last couple of years as Cooper seems to have come into her own. Nowadays, she even talks about finances, bringing in expert Mrs. Dow Jones (Haley Sacks) to make budgeting digestible for her listeners. In June of 2023, she recorded an entire episode dedicated to understanding the patriarchy. Alex Cooper is also an incredible interviewer. She provides space and support that allows guests to be themselves and talk about what they want while delivering just the right amount of feedback. This makes for some of the best, most naturally flowing interviews (see E92- Miley Cyrus). In the last year, “Call Her Daddy” has become a safe space where I can giggle, feel feminine and let go of the guilt and self-judgment that I perpetually carry as a woman in my 20s.
When Cooper started the podcast with Sofia Franklyn in 2018, Cooper was a single, struggling 20-something-year-old living in New York City. In 2023, times have changed and so has Alex Cooper. She recently announced her engagement to Matt Kaplan, with whom she just launched the media company Trending, and her popularity and wealth are seemingly growing by the day (she just bought a 10 million dollar estate). Between Cooper’s lavish wedding plans and the enormously wealthy celebrities she interviews on the show, I’m starting to feel like I relate to the podcast less and less with every episode. It’s frustrating to only hear from the 1%.
This brings me to another issue I’ve long had with the show. Most (not all) of Cooper’s guests on the show are not only incredibly wealthy but primarily white, cis-gender and straight. I’m frustrated not only by what a limited view of the world her guests offer, but also by the fact that, while Cooper seems to be trying to diversify, non-fem presenting people, queer people, trans people and people of color are not well represented on the show. Although she recently recorded an insightful interview with trans artist Kim Petras, it’s unsurprising that only my straight white cis friends want to talk about “Call Her Daddy.”
The show has another major downfall in my eyes. Until June 2021, Call Her Daddy was owned by Barstool Sports, a company known for its perpetuation of rape culture. Its owner, Dave Portnoy, has been the subject of multiple sexual abuse allegations. He is also, in my opinion, a blatant misogynist. Alex Cooper had him on the show in June 2020, talking about his sex life, which felt like she was condoning his behavior. However, a year after recording her episode with Portnoy, Cooper signed a deal with Spotify. Should listeners forgive and forget?
This along with my previously stated reasons have made it difficult for me to formulate my final opinion on the show. Am I a proud member of the Daddy Gang? Should Alex Cooper be given grace in the name of growth and maturity? To be completely honest, I don’t know.