One of the creators behind a viral clip of two women parodying alpha male finance podcasters said she can't help but mock finance influencers who assume everyone is wealthy.
“I'm laughing at them,” Caroline Baniewicz told BuzzFeed News. “And that’s probably the healthiest response. Like, this is so silly.”
In a video clip that has 2.3 million views on Twitter as of Tuesday, sisters Caroline and Meg Baniewicz pose as two podcast hosts, sharing finance advice based on the language of male personal finance influencers, a content form that often focuses on building personal wealth and tips for “gaming the system” with investments. The genre, which invokes mentalities like “hustling” and working “smarter,” has been accused of misogyny and elitism in the past.
“If you go to a restaurant and you’re like, oh, what am I going to eat for dinner? That’s the wrong mindset. You should be thinking, how can I buy this restaurant?” Caroline jokes in the video.
“I’m at the point where, if someone came up to me and said, ‘if you slap your mom, I’ll give you $15 million,’ yeah, I’d slap my mom, but I would not accept the $15 million, because that job experience is invaluable on my résumé,” Meg replies, as they quickly devolve into caricatures of the Monopoly Man, with monocles and glossy black top hats.
Caroline, 26, makes videos and sketches at Barstool Sports. She said that the idea for the fake podcast came from working in a male-dominated field and being fed “hustle culture” content on her social media feeds.
“I see these clips and I'm like, these are people who have never been financially unstable,” Caroline said. “Your investments are great, but you got 10k investments for your high school graduation. That’s not, like, for normal people.”
Finance influencers on social media have faced continual criticism for offering advice that is at best subjective and at worst, dangerous. At the end of 2022, eight personal finance influencers were charged with fraud after knowingly giving their followers investment advice for stocks the men themselves planned on dumping, thus generating over $100 million in profit.
Meg Baniewicz, Caroline’s 23-year-old sister, works in finance and cowrote the sketch, inspired by both her own experience and the online discourse.
“Over LinkedIn during the day, you’ll just see these crazy takes,” she said. “I do like that there's some other people who are doing similar satirical takes on this ‘grindset,’ and I think it's good to be like, hey, let's recalibrate like what we think.”
Alpha male podcasting has also landed in the center of pop culture as figureheads of the genre like Andrew Tate become increasingly scrutinized for spewing hateful rhetoric about women and marginalized groups to an audience of young men.
Caroline has also made a satirical video about Andrew Tate’s platforms in the past, in part to handle her frustrations at his popularity.
“I do get angry because I'm like, Oh, these people, they feel this way,” Caroline said. “Making fun of them is so comforting because then you see all the people who respond with you and are like, Yeah, I feel the same way.”
The two said they wrote the sketch “in five minutes,” pulling on the podcast videos they sent to each other ironically and from things they experienced in their lives. They said they have felt thankful for the response, particularly as it’s caught the attention of comedians like Nikki Glaser, who reshared it on her Instagram Story Monday.
Meg also sees some of the current economic state as part of the sketch’s success, with worries about the economic recession and recent Silicon Valley Bank collapse sparking panic among many. She said she’s happy people are still able to make a joke out of the situation while many try to figure out the complicated landscape of money today.
“It’s like everyone is lamenting together,” Caroline said.