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The Problem With “Call Her Daddy”

If you’re under the age of 30, you’ve probably heard of the podcast Call Her Daddy. Run by Barstool Sports and hosted by 26-year-old Alexandra Cooper, the show was the fifth most popular podcast on Spotify in 2020 and has amassed a huge cult following over the past two years. In the episodes, Cooper and her occasional guests recount their experiences with relationships, hookups and social scenes. Their conversations are so open and honest, it often feels like you’re catching up with your friends over FaceTime about the night before. 

The show was founded on the idea that women should feel just as empowered during sex as their hetero-male partners by reclaiming their sexuality shamelessly. They do a great job of discussing the funny and embarrassing sides of relationships that are untouched by mainstream media. While they do place an emphasis on self-love, their delivery is often misguided. The advice given is extremely hyper-focused on pleasing a male partner, and is the perfect depiction of internalized misogyny. 

In the episode titled, “College Life: Being Hot vs Not”, Cooper and ex co-host Sofia Franklyn go as far as rating women on a numeric scale. They state that if you’re below a 7, you should “immediately put yourself out there in college… and then you will get invited to parties where boys will pay more attention to you,” whereas if you’re above a 7, you should wait a semester. This builds the notion that a woman’s “college reputation” boils down to getting into parties and hanging out with people, specifically men, who are only interested in using you as an object. 

In most episodes, they share unhealthy tactics they use to make their partners jealous, whether he’s a long-term boyfriend or someone they just met at a bar. This includes telling girls to wear cologne so they can upset their boyfriends by coming home smelling like another guy, or creating fake social media accounts to stalk your love interest and those they’re involved with. They often give tips on how to catch a cheater as well as how to get away with cheating. “Cheat first, just in case” is one of their many mantras. 

Above all, the show aggressively promotes toxic hookup culture under the guise of female empowerment. They foster the idea that sex is a game, specifically a man’s game, that women need to learn how to play so that they can be in the position of power. This reinforces the idea that relationships are a power structure in which one party is the winner, as opposed to a situation where two consenting people are engaging in an act that is mutually enjoyed. The show routinely encourages women to adopt a manipulative mindset because it will make them “better off” and more respected. However, women can and should be respected without a man’s opinion on whether she is powerful and/or manipulative enough. 

Fans of Call Her Daddy defend the show by claiming, “It’s not that deep, everyone is overthinking it.”, “Everyone is just being sensitive!”, or “It’s just a comedy podcast, so it isn’t meant to be taken seriously!”. However, just because something is branded as comedy, doesn’t mean it’s above critique, and just because someone is critiquing your favourite media, doesn’t mean they are entirely wrong. Ultimately, the rhetoric the show spews affects people, the way they think and the culture we all experience on a daily basis. 

That being said, Call Her Daddy is definitely not the cause of our society’s negative and archaic views towards sex, but they are undoubtedly a microcosm of it. For years, women have constantly been shamed for their natural desires, so much so that now, they’re trying to push back against that. Women have adopted a hypersexual, frat boy-esque persona, where they want to treat men like body parts. The earnestness in wanting to normalize sex for women is understandable, but purposefully being crude and disrespectful shouldn’t be the way to go about this. It also becomes frustrating when people try to critique this behaviour and are labelled as “prudes”, “sex-negative” or “vanilla”. Adopting the persona of a stereotypical sex-craved man isn’t always the answer. Oftentimes, it feels performative, as if you’re viewing relationships through the male gaze. 

Right now, hookup culture is really damaging for everyone involved in the long run. As a society, we should be focused on fixing toxic hookup culture, rather than just empowering women to participate in it. Casual sex can exist wherein two people are respectful to one another, boundaries are set, and both people walk away feeling good about the interaction. There doesn’t have to be a situation where one person leaves feeling like they have dominated the other, or somehow “won” in a situation that was meant to be mutual. 

Sex is a normal, natural thing that should be less stigmatized for women. But, it should be destigmatized in a healthy and productive way. Women shouldn’t have to choose between two boxes: hypersexual or prudish. We should be able to just exist, however it makes us comfortable. So, take others’ opinions with a grain of salt—have no sex, have all the sex or anything in between—it doesn’t matter! Just be safe, respect others, and respect your boundaries. As long as you’re doing that, you should be A-okay!

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Rasangi is a third-year Medical Science student at Western University, doing an Honours Specialization in Biochemistry and Cell Biology. She loves writing, art, basketball, and music.
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