Jeopardy Flap over What Women Want

So here it is, the category “What Women Want” from Monday’s game that set social media ablaze with objections that it was “horribly sexist”. Blue Nation Review even went so far as to label it misogyny and start a petition demanding an apology.

$200: A pair of jeans that fit well, like the 525s from this brand
$400: A few moments of quiet to do this, especially the one edited by Will Shortz in The New York Times
$600: Some help around the house; would it kill you to get out the Bissell Bagless Canister one of these every once in a while?
$800: Before bed, a cup of this herbal tea from Celestial Seasonings; that’s the logo seen here
$1000: Time to exercise; perhaps a class in this discipline named for founder Joseph, who initially called it Contrology

The perceived offense is ignoring more important things that women want, like equal pay and the right to make their own health care decisions, and as one tweeter put it “to be treated like a human”, even though the category in no way implies that women care more about the items in the clues than women’s right.

Some things really get blown out of proportion and even more so when various media outlets pick up the story. This story has even made Time Magazine and you can see some of the headlines here. The clue about Bissell vacuums has been twisted to mean women want a new vacuum, rather than what it really said — some help with vacuuming and the Levis clue was construed to mean ALL women care about is looking good.

Past remarks made by Alex Trebek have been dragged out that women are more cautious betters than men and that he expresses surprise when women get a clue right but doesn’t when men do. (Not true — Alex acts surprised over some clues he thinks are tough with both genders).

Well, I am a woman and did not perceive this category as “horribly sexist” at all. I personally don’t even match some of the answers but I looked at it in the general sense. These days I prefer Danskin stretch pants over any brand of jeans. Yes! I like things that fit well. I prefer cryptograms to crossword puzzles. Yes! I like a little relaxation. I love coffee (lots of it) and don’t care for any kind of tea but I do know plenty of women who love tea. I even bought a personalized tea mug for one as a Christmas gift last year.

The vacuum cleaner clue actually made me laugh, but then I used to have a list on my refrigerator that began: “If you’re bored, here are some things you can do” and it listed all the household chores. It ended with “And don’t expect any thanks. Nobody ever thanks me when I do all those things.”

It’s perfectly okay to want all the things in the category and it’s perfectly okay to not want them. It in no way interferes with one’s ability to do something real about helping women. One of the best places to start is in your own community.

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