Jeopardy’s Sexist “What Women Want” Category Crashed and Burned, So We Imagined “What Men Want” in Response
I’m not really a game show person, a fact I’ve never been gladder about than now; if I’d tuned into Jeopardy last night, my blood probably would have boiled so hard it would have burst right out of my skin. Last night's Jeopardy categories actually included "What Women Want" — and yes, it’s as ridiculous as you think it is. Each “clue” and its answering question played off of the sexist stereotypes I sincerely hoped we’d moved beyond by now; apparently they’re alive and well, though, because as Neha Prakash wrote on Mashable, “It was like we were tuning into a replay of an episode from the 1950s.” Reducing an extremely large and diverse group of people down to one specific description always goes so well, doesn’t it?
The categories included such clues as "Some Help Around the House; Would It Kill You to Get Out the Bissell Bagless Cannister One of These Every Once in a While?" and "Before Bed, a Cup of This Herbal Tea from Celestial Seasonings; That's the Logo Seen Here." According to the picture they paint, the entirety of the female gender likes clothing and crossword puzzles; we spend our working hours cleaning the house and wishing that we had a husband to help us out; we love to drink Sleepytime tea; and the only way we can keep our cute little figures in shape is if we haul ourselves down to the pilates studio every day. To be clear, there's nothing wrong with liking any of those things; heck, there’s nothing wrong with liking all of them. Many women do, in fact, enjoy a good pair of Levi’s and Sleepytime tea. So do many men, for that matter — as do all people, no matter where they rest on the gender spectrum. Which brings us to the point: Jeopardy writers? You should know better than to try to make sweeping generalizations about any sizeable population. Not cool — and, in fact, as harmful as it is insulting.
Naturally, a good deal of the Internet is upset about Jeopardy’s piss-poor judgment; Sophia Bush, for example, took them to task on Twitter:
As did many, many others:
All valid points. In fact, you know what? Let’s turn the tables a little bit. If this is what the Jeopardy writers think all women want, what, by the same standards, do all men want? Let’s see here… How about:
1. A Pair of Boots that Fit Well, Like the Steel Toe Version from This Brand
Answer: What is Timberland, because all men love heavy work boots.
2. A Few Moments of Quiet to Do This, Especially on Super Bowl Sunday
Answer: What is watch football, because all men love to watch football.
3. Some Help Around the House; Would It Kill You to Get Out the DeWalt 18V Cordless One of These Every Once in a While?
Answer: What is a power drill, because all men love power tools.
4. Before Bed, a Can of This Watery Brew Once Known for Its Froggy Commercials; That’s the Logo Seen Here
Answer: What is Budweiser, because all men love beer.
5. Time to Exercise; Perhaps a Class in This Discipline, Whence Movie Star Dwayne Johnson Originally Came
Answer: What is wrestling, because all men love WWE.
Look! Our men are so manly! So strong and powerful! They would never do things like read books, or paint pictures, or drink cocktails with little paper umbrellas in them, because obviously no men anywhere on the planet could possibly like such feminine pursuits! Isn’t our world marvelous? Such amazing times we live in!
Here’s hoping Jeopardy learns from its mistake — and that everyone else pays attention to the gaff while we’re on the subject. Because seriously, you guys. It’s time to say goodbye to ridiculously outdated stereotypes. They’re not doing anyone any favors.