Sometimes, I just feel too dumb to watch sports. Or at least, that’s what the co-hosts of While the Men Watch, (described as a “Sex and the City meets ESPN” sports talk show,) would have me believe. While the Men Watch was born out of the frustration of two Canadian women, Lena Sutherland and Jules Mancuso, who were bored and confused by hockey. So, they made a show where they can discuss the things women really care about – fashion, how hot the players are, and who needs a makeover.
If that’s not enough for us simple-minded women folk, they even throw in a discussion of the rules of the game. But don’t worry, its completely watered down and presented in a way that our infant minds can understand. The sad fact of the matter is that While the Men Watch only plays into the stereotype of how women view sports, and it insults the intelligence of women who do care about sports (like this Who Dat* right here), or women who work in the sports industry, or women who play on a team. This is not a show that works to include women, but instead further isolates them from a male dominated field.
Women who like sports, work in the sports industry, or play on a team are constantly treated like they have three heads. Not to mention, their progress is diminished by shows like this which promote stereotypes that make gender equality in sports impossible. The discussion of topics that many perceive to be overtly feminine, or by dumbing down rules or tactics in a game further separate women from finding a place in sports where they are viewed as equals.
While the show itself is on the border between cutesy and just bad television, some of blog posts the women write are truly shocking. In their posts, 6 Things Not to Say When His Team Loses, number six is “’Sorry, not tonight, I have my period.’ Make it happen girls – under any circumstance. Take one for the team.” that must be a terrible joke, because the thought of forcing yourself to have sex with your partner just because his team lost is not only repugnant, but blatantly sexist.
The fact that Sutherland and Mancuso discuss fashion or the attractiveness of the players is not necessarily offensive on it’s own, I like fashion and I find players attractive, but the concept of the show as a whole is offensive and frankly, unnecessary. Women don’t need a show about how the rules of the game; if you don't know the rules of the game, here's a thought, Google them. Even better, if you don’t understand a game or you want to discuss uniform style, talk to your partner. If inclusion is the problem, which is what this show is really about, just open up discussion. If your partner makes you feel like an idiot, then that’s not someone you want to be with. No one needs While the Men Watch, what we need is to be more inclusive of all people interested in sports regardless of gender.
*Who Dat: (n, slang) a fan of the New Orleans Saints.