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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.

No. No no no no no no no. no.

Dear CBC: Women Don’t Need a Dumbed Down Sports Show. Love, The Women

So, Canada’s CBC decided that with all the menfolk watching the sports on all the teevees, the women needed their own period-pillow-chocolate-gossip party to make up for it. So they started up a partnership with While the Men Watch, a sports commentary web series hosted by women who don’t know anything about sports, because women don’t know anything about sports! Isn’t that adorable? Yeah, as a girl who was indescribably excited to find out that George R. R. Martin was a NY Giants fan last week, I am not effing amused. And neither are the rest of us women who actually like sports and know how they work.

Okay, so, here’s the deal: I am a gigantic football fan. Football is my sport. I can’t play it, I can’t play any sports. But I live for football season. I know the rules, and I can tell you what’s going on during a game. And if the Giants are playing, don’t try to talk to me, you don’t exist. That said, there are sports I’m not terribly familiar with, but still enjoy watching, like basketball and hockey. Baseball is boring. I was shocked to find out that games only lasted three hours as opposed to the six they felt like. As a result, I can really only talk about football.

But if I am watching a show — on TV or online — I don’t need humans who share the XX-chromosome situation with me watching a game and pretending to be funny while not knowing what they’re watching. That is a celebration of ignorance. But further, it is a celebration of sexism: it is celebrating the myth that women “don’t get” sports. Some women don’t get sports. But some of us do. And watching people spend money and time producing something that reinforces any kind of “dumb” stereotypes — whether they be men or women — is a horrible waste. Anne T. Donahue at AV Club goes into more detail about the gender stereotypes this show is perpetuating (and doing nothing to stop). I’m going to talk about why, on its face, this is just a dumb idea.

While the Men Watch is supposed to be (according to Deadspin) “MST3K with ‘Math Class Is Hard’ Barbie instead of robots.” The difference is that the robots on MST3K were incredibly informed about not just what they were watching, but about every reference they made while mocking it. So, actually, While the Men Watch is not even close to MST3K, and Deadspin should really take that back, because I’m kind of offended as a MSTie. Because the hosts, Lena Sutherland and Jules Mancuso (who are currently providing commentary for the Stanley Cup Finals) are providing commentary “that women want to hear,” and for them (and the people who employ them, and the CBC), that means commentary that has nothing to do with the game. Nothing. They are not even talking about the Stanley Cup Finals. They are barely talking about hockey.

Thanks guys, but if we really wanted to, we could probably figure out how to analyze a five-on-four situation. In all seriousness, there is no shortage of talented female sportscasters out there who we respect. We just think it’s more fun to talk about why so many gorgeous players come from Welland Ontario and why they all skate around with scotch tape holding up their socks.

Thanks guys, but if I wanted to listen to things that are not about the game while watching the game, I don’t have to tune in to While the Men Watch. I own an iPod. But also, if you’re watching the game, why do you want to listen to people talk during the game if they’re not talking about the game? Especially if it’s the freaking Stanley Cup Finals??? It’s the Stanley Cup Finals!! If you’re not interested in the Stanley Cup Finals, why are you watching the Stanley Cup Finals and then volunteering to listen to people who are not even talking about the Stanley Cup FInals? I find this logic deeply flawed.

As you can imagine, actual sportscasters — female and male — are rightly annoyed about this. Like Shannon Proudfoot of Sportsnet, who tweeted:

I just Googled “rage stroke” to explain it to non-30 Rock fans and discovered it’s a real thing. So now I’m at risk for death. Thanks, CBC!

Look, we are not asking that all women become interested in sports for the sake of ending the stupid stereotype that we know nothing about sports. Some of us don’t, and that’s fine. Heck, there are plenty of men who know little to nothing about sports. That’s also fine. But this is just gross, and practically, it’s a waste of bandwidth and money and time. It’s a stupid idea, and it’s stupid that a major Canadian broadcaster thought it would be cool to do this. By signing on to this partnership, the CBC is telling its non-sports fan female viewers that they are insipid, uninformed, and shallow.

Way to go.

By the way, the LA Kings lead the NJ Devils in the finals 2-0 after another game that went into overtime last night (score was 2-1). Game 3 is tomorrow night at 8:00 on NBC here in the states.

(Deadspin via AV Club)

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  • groovyjoss

    Do you know what would have been a better, less sexist, use of their time? Devising a commentary show that simply states what is going on. I like to listen to the radio while at the footy (Australian Rules) so that I can follow along a little better, but the stations all assume that everyone knows everything. So when you miss a bit of play, or a call gets made and you don’t know why you are totally left hanging.
    Something basic like “Lovett-Murrey passes to Watson who turns it over to Reiwolt… Reiwolt gets a free kick because he was tackled too high by Fletcher” But for the whole game, rather than just when they feel like it and having little chats the rest of the time. It would be good for kids, people who are not super familiar with the game and foreigners who have no idea what’s going on!! Not just for ‘stupid women’

  • Anonymous

    Okay, fine, I don’t ‘get’ sports…but why on earth would I want to watch two other people who also don’t ‘get’ sports rather than doing something infinitely more rewarding?

  • ainok

    Evert time I turn around, entertainment aimed at women gets even more moronic.

    Is there some kind of moron event horizon that, once program concept developers pass it, allows no information further to escape and prevents us from ever being subjected to their “ideas” again? Please say yes. ‘Cuz I think we’re getting really close.

  • Anonymous

     This is the exact comment I was going to post before I checked out the comments first. I don’t get sports at all, and I’m sure as hell not going to watch a show about people who don’t get sports. I have better things to do with my time than watch a show about things I don’t care about.

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

    Same here. I don’t understand what demographic they’re hoping to target. I have absolutely no interest in sports, whether it’s viewing, participating in, or mocking them. I understand why female sports fans are offended, and I can’t imagine why a sports-indifferent woman would tune in.

  • Wolf

    GRRM is also a Jets fan.

    Me, I prefer hockey and man was I mad when the Red Wings were knocked out of the Stanley Cup running because now, it means I have to cheer for my husband’s team, the Devils, instead. And I’m predicting overtime in Game 3 as well.

    But, it’s the Stanley Cup and the Cup changes everything.}:P

    So, um, yeah, give me a REAL hockey game any day over this stupid crap they think we women want. Heck, I’ll even tolerate watching the Packers play football (and rub it in at my husband when my Lions beat them, in that rare, once in a while chance) instead of watching this potential crap.

  • SailorAstarte

    I hope someone creates a petition as this is not only ignorant and sexist but stupid also. They must think that the man will watch the sports event but the woman will listen? Or some sort of weird “logic.”. Wow — it’s just so insulting.

  • Erica Throne


    Dear CBC: Budget cuts do not mean you should cut intelligence from your programming.

    Look, I’ve got to blame SOMEONE. Might as well go right to the top, and work my way down.

  • oaktree

    If you want more on this outrage, I suggest Ellen Etchingham’s excellent article on this f*ckery. 

  • Cassy

    This is ridiculous. I do not like or understand sports (a constant annoyance to my hockey-obsessed, FEMALE roommate), so I’m not going to watch a show about sports. End of story.

  • Lucas Picador

    To be fair to the CBC, every new entertainment-focused show they’ve launched in the last 5 years has been garbage. So it’s not like they have a blind spot for women: they just have no idea what anyone in Canada wants to watch on television, ever.

  • Tonia Olena Laird

    Oh, CBC, first you won’t buy the rights for the “Hockey Night in Canada” song, and now this? You should really stick to your awesome documentaries and procuring the rights to broadcast “Coronation Street”.

  • Teresa Kennedy

    I’d love to see a “sports for the non-sporty” kind of show- one where people explained the game/ rules/ players in a way that made sense to people who didn’t grow up following sports- but this is ridiculous.

  • James Strocel

    This is the worst hockey idea since Fox put that blue dot on the puck.