A Toronto Transformation

What Women Really Want

What is not being reduced to boring, outdated, gender-based stereotypes, Alex?

Last week, an episode of Jeopardy featured a category entitled “What Women Want.” Suddenly the quiz show looked suspiciously like a 1950s episode of The Newlywed Game as one misguided attempt to pin down half the world’s population’s priorities after another was revealed on the show’s iconic blue screens.

Apparently what women want is Sleepytime tea, more time to do our precious pilates , jeans that fit well, and of course, for our domestically useless “partners” to unchain us from our vacuums.

Whew. Good thing we’re not a diverse group of people with a myriad different wants and needs or that would have been a really tough category to put together!

I know many people will (and have) argued that there are bigger fish to fry in the struggle for equality, but, as I’ve said before, I think it’s perfectly reasonable, and in fact necessary to sweat the “small stuff” when it comes to sexism. The ways that men and women are portrayed in popular media really do matter. The more we let slip by, the more these harmful stereotypes become the accepted norm, until we find ourselves losing the gains we’ve made towards living in a society where men and women are valued equally and where people are not bound by rigidly constructed roles assigned based on genitalia.

For the record, I’d also find it offensive and detrimental to society if the category had been called “What Men Want” and featured a list that painted a limiting stereotype of men. Maybe they’ll do that one next!

The sooner we stop making judgements about one another based on gender, the better.

Meanwhile, I’ve come up with a list of a few of the things I would like for myself and my fellow women just off the top of my head, jeopardy style:

What is:
Access to education around the world.
Not having our private photos stolen and posted on the internet.
Being taken seriously in the world of technology/programming
Equal sports funding and media coverage.
To be valued for the quality of my character, not my appearance.
Not to be told a “thigh gap” is desirable & that we can all have one if we really try.
Not being harassed by men in the street.
For strange men to quit demanding that we smile for them.
To feel safe walking home at night.
For missing aboriginal girls/women in Canada to be a priority for our government.
Not to be blamed or slut-shamed when we are sexually assaulted.
And, oh hey, maybe just to be treated with respect, compassion and dignity.

Anything you guys would add? Let me know in the comments, or add it to the Huffington Post conversation on Twitter #WhatWomenReallyWant.

6 Responses to What Women Really Want

  • Shannon says:

    Omg, I can’t believe how often I get to be surprised by what people think is acceptable to say about women! That jeopardy category would have likely been reviewed by multiple people before it made it onto the episode and no one saw anything wrong with it. The fact that people think it’s okay to perpetuate stereotypes like this on big platforms is a big deal, as it suggests that they believe there wont be any consequences as they’re commonly held views.

    I was watching an interview with Elizabeth Gilbert yesterday and she was speaking about Joseph Cambell’s work in studying what he called “The Hero’s Journey’ and the 30,000 years of stories that illustrate it. When one of his female students asked why none of the hero’s are women, he said it’s because women don’t need to go on a hero’s journey because they have the ability to give birth…..ok.

    I much prefer your list of what women want.

    • metamorphocity says:

      Yes! That’s what gets me too. Did no one at the show question this category? Or did they all just sit around patting each other on the back and chuckling: “HA. They DO drink tea! They totally do that! That’s ladies all right. Nailed it!”

    • *sorry I’m doing this from my phone and it’s playing up* I was saying females do the exact same work (if not more) than males yet there’s a big divide between salaries. Also women in parliament. Or women in high standing positions in general. I don’t know about canada but here in Australia we have only two females in our senate and the first female prime minister we had was never taken seriously, ridiculed constantly, especially for her looks and what she was wearing and just not taken seriously enough. She put up with a lot of crap and most failed to see just how much she contributed to our society. Which leads to another point. When the hell will we just be taken seriously?

      • metamorphocity says:

        Yes! How did I miss equal pay! Oh man, it was so depressing to read about the sexist crap that followed Gillard through her time as Prime Minister. I loved when she called Abbott out for his insanely blatant misogyny.

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