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Call Her Daddy: Feminism or Faux?

by Isa Meyers //

“Degrade me.”

This phrase accurately reflects the sentiment of the Barstool Sports podcast Call Her Daddy. After its debut in the fall of 2018, Call Her Daddy immediately became popularized, launching co-hosts Alexandra Cooper (26) and Sofia Franklyn (28) into stardom. Now solely hosted by Cooper, listeners can tune in to hear about anything related to sex. Ranging from what porn to watch, to the best blow job techniques, to dating advice, Call Her Daddy is now a pop culture icon, raking in over 1.5 million followers on Instagram

The show’s title seeks to reverse gender roles in the realm of sex. Calling her “Daddy” flips the power dynamics that traditionally grant men more power in a heterosexual relationship. In theory, being a Daddy is a form of empowerment, giving the show’s hosts and fans a sense of reclamation over their bodies and sex life. Many women who regularly listen feel legitimized, saying that Call Her Daddy has given them confidence and the ability to assert themselves as sexual beings without feeling guilty or powerless. 

Everybody—regardless of shape, size, color, sexuality, and gender—deserves to feel empowered.

This is a huge part of intersectional feminism: feeling comfortable taking up space in any environment. Everybody—regardless of shape, size, color, sexuality, and gender—deserves to feel empowered. Everybody deserves to safely have sex of any kind without fear of stigma, violence, or systemic oppression. 

Yet, Call Her Daddy falls short. Despite its intended message, the podcast fails to acknowledge the privilege of being a cis, affluent, white, straight woman. Without considering nor valuing the voices and experiences of marginalized groups, Cooper’s sexual stories and advice remain without nuance. Frankly, Call Her Daddy has become yet another problematic branch of Barstool Sports. 

Criticisms of Barstool are not new. Since its foundation in 2003, Barstool has received backlash due to its sexist and racist content. Founder and president Mike Portnoy has been frequently called out for using racial slurs, refusing to apologize for this and other blatant acts of racism. 

This critique is aimed to deconstruct calling the show feminist and for fans to recognize its shortcomings and demand greater representation and nuanced content from popular media outlets.

This is not to shame any person who enjoys listening to Call Her Daddy. All the power to you if the show destigimatizes sex for you in your personal life. Rather, this critique is aimed to deconstruct calling the show feminist and for fans to recognize its shortcomings and demand greater representation and nuanced content from popular media outlets. Because if Call Her Daddy isn’t intersectional, it’s not feminist. 

What I’m asking for is the accountability of both Barstool and Cooper herself. While she has called for a more diverse conversation, that won’t happen under Portnoy. And it most certainly will not happen if only white women are in charge of the discourse. 

In other words, “diversity” is not enough. Even if the podcast were to regularly include trans and lesbian women of color, featuring these individuals as merely episodic guest stars is not the solution to the inherent exclusion conventional capitalist media outlets are founded on. Not to mention, Cooper and Barstool are the ones profiting off of these people and their experiences. Rather, we need to decide whose voices need to be prioritized and under what companies. And if that means giving Call Her Daddy the boot, then so be it. 

It’s not just the lack of intersectionality that makes Call Her Daddy fall short, it’s also the blatant sexism it can perpetuate.

But that’s not all. It’s not just the lack of intersectionality that makes Call Her Daddy fall short, it’s also the blatant sexism it can perpetuate. In their early episode “If you’re a 5 or 6, Die for that D*ck,” Cooper and Franklyn discuss how ugly women, rated 5 or 6 on a scale of 10, should know their place in the realm of sex. They conclude: “If you are a 5 or 6, you are getting slammed into the wall, you are saying horrible, disgusting, filthy things to get this guy off. You’re in overdrive, overtime, putting in all the stops, saying fucking porn star shit. ‘Cum on the face and make it fucking rain, baby.’ If you’re a 9 or a 10, a guy knows he has to roll out the red carpet. He has got to be ready because he knows you’re not just gonna spread your legs and be like: ‘Here we go, baby. Let’s do the damn thing.’” 

Not only is this degrading, but it also assumes that conventionally attractive women deserve more respect than their “5 or 6” counterparts. Not every episode features such blatant sexism, but the intolerant sentiment of Barstool cannot be shaken from this “girl power” podcast. Rather, it’s an exploitation of sex appeal guised as female empowerment. 

Call Her Daddy can still be watched and enjoyed, but as a form of limited entertainment or comedy. And for the white, cis, straight women who call it a new wave of feminism, I urge you to reexamine your privilege and educate yourself on sexual wellbeing outside the realm of your heteronormative relationships. It’s time to support all women, not just the select few that Call Her Daddy relates to.