"While the Men Watch" is sexist
CBC Sports, abundantly aware of how chauvinistic misogyny can translate into increased television ratings, yesterday announced its partnership with the website WhileTheMenWatch.com to offer a counter programming of sorts during broadcasts of the Stanley Cup finals.
Instead of merely airing alternative shows on CBC News Network or its digital cable networks that will hopefully appeal to the non-hockey fans among us, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation will encourage females who wouldn’t ordinarily watch a hockey game to listen to commentary of the games on the television station’s website from Lena Sutherland and Jules Macuso, the founders of While The Men Watch.
This title evokes the type of segregation most commonly associated with a happily bygone era wherein men would retire to the smoking room to discuss important matters while women gossiped about menial things like laundry while sitting on fainting couches in the parlour. A visit to the website and perusal of its content reveals the evocation of the name to be rather accurate.
Consider the blog post Love Me Like Lundqvist: 5 Sex Games For Hockey Season, in which the writers, and I use the term loosely, recommend sexual activities built around not only pleasing their male partners, but also avoiding the interruption of his viewing of a hockey game. The worst of these suggestions is something called 5-Minute Major.
“Set the alarm on your cell phone for 5 minutes and challenge your man to see if he can score with you on a ‘power play.’”
Wow. What a fulfilling sexual experience this must be for a woman.
This post is hardly an outlier. There’s also Sex On Gameday: Does He Lock It Up Or Love You Down, a piece that describes seven situations in which a sexual experience, if it occurs, is solely at the man’s behest, while representing females as little more than tools designed for male pleasure.
As a man, I can only imagine how offensive it might be to have a national television broadcaster catering to the basest stereotypes of my gender, while completely ignoring the last century of progress toward sexual equality, all as a means of garnering attention instead of fostering an actual legitimate audience within my sex. But therein lies my limitation, I am a man, and I don’t know what that type of offense feels like.
However, I do recognize that the horrid purpose of such offensive commentary and the propagation of sexual inequality is the creation of a woman supposedly more appealing to a man, who gives their body freely for sex while watching hockey with them.
Such a female, devoid of her own ambitions, thoughts and self awareness, is only appealing to men more familiar with corrupted fictions of girls than actual living and breathing women.
This is not more evident than in the second paragraph of the CBC’s introduction to While The Men Watch:
“As two women married to sports fanatics, there was really no escaping hockey on TV - especially during playoffs.”
I’m not normally one to give advice, but how about you function like actual human beings and develop interests that are separate from what your husbands are doing? Why would you mold and shape yourself into such a subservient being? Why attempt to promote such an unfulfilling lifestyle to other women?
Meeting a typical hockey fan should inform an individual of one thing rather immediately: understanding hockey is not difficult. It’s not necessary to create such a condescending and stereotype embracing form of commentary to make it easier to swallow.
In fact, sports are not a medicine that needs to be swallowed. Hockey is more like an elective dessert that you either like or don’t like. If you don’t find following the sport appealing, don’t do it. Don’t watch the games. Do something else that allows you to further your development as a person.
I don’t like the idea of telling people how to enjoy something, and I realize that what I’m writing here is straddling that imaginary line that I’ve created for myself. And if I didn’t think that following along to the commentary that While The Men Watch provides would create a harmful and ultimately negative representation of what a woman is and should be, I probably wouldn’t write anything at all.
Frankly, this is very concerning, and it causes me to wonder about other areas in which the CBC could, but most likely wouldn’t dare extend this condescending approach.
I assume that hockey is not the sport of choice among African Americans. Would the CBC consider the use of the worst racial stereotypes as a means of drawing viewers? Would they employ two black men using hip hop and basketball terms to gather an otherwise uninterested audience? What about homosexuals? Would they hire two gay men to provide alternative commentary that focuses on the interior design of the dressing rooms and designs of the logos?
How are those two options all that different from While The Men Watch?
Well, for one, what the CBC is actually proposing preys upon the worst insecurities that humans have, ones that pertain to not being appealing to other humans. It takes that fear and twists it as a means of supporting the falsification of an individual, all for a fingers crossed approach to increased ratings.
It is wholly unacceptable, and a perversion of the time in which we live that modern technology would be used in a fashion that ultimately leads to social regression. We, as Canadians, take so much pride in our supposed progressiveness, and yet our national public television broadcaster is about to embark on a journey that uses a sport so closely associated with our national identity to denigrate social progression and leave us at a loss.
I’m sorry I’m just not into that.