“What do women want?’’ A question for the ages, challenging humanity’s sagest philosophers. On Monday night, “Jeopardy!’’ attempted to answer — er, question — it with a category that left viewers and women’s rights activists flabbergasted and disappointed.
The compilation of clues, titled “What Women Want,’’ included prompts such as, “A few moments of quiet to do this, especially the one edited by Will Shortz in The New York Times.’’
The answer: the crossword puzzle.
Another clue: “Some help around the house; Would it kill you to get out the Bissell bagless canister one of these every once in a while?’’
The answer: vacuum cleaner.
Moments after the category was announced on “Jeopardy!,’’ “Chicago P.D.’’ star Sophia Bush took to Twitter and retweeted a photo of the category and clues with her own criticism of the show.
Bush also retweeted Chissy Nkemere (@chischisschissy), whose Twitter bio describes her as being a pop culture enthusiast and feminist.
Dear @Jeopardy: your "What Women Want" category tonight is the definition of sexism. how are women supposed to advance in life if (cont)— chissy nkemere (@chischisschissy) September 29, 2014
Sony Pictures Entertainment has yet to return an email and phone request for comment. Neither the company nor “Jeopardy!’’ host Alex Trebek have made a statement regarding the category.
Locally, the “Jeopardy!’’ misstep generated surprise first, then dismay.
“I haven’t watched ‘Jeopardy!’ in a while because I don’t have cable anymore, but it’s a very respectable show and it has a reputation of being intelligent and acute, or at least neutral enough,’’ Emily Neill, program manager of Women’s and Gender Studies at MIT, told Boston.com.
“This just seems very out of step with what ‘Jeopardy!’ has in terms of categories.’’
Neill noted recent headline-making women’s rights issues, such as Emma Watson’s #HeForShe campaign speech earlier this month and the NFL’s stance on domestic violence, before noting that the “Jeopardy!’’ category “just seems so out of tune with what the cultural climate is right now.’’
If the category had been called “What Tired Moms Want’’ or “What Moms Wish They Could Ask of Their Children or Spouses,’’ or even “What the Women Writers of ‘Jeopardy!’ Want,’’ maybe this would have left less of a sour taste in fans’ mouths.
Hey @Jeopardy. Did you tape your recent episode in 1950? Or are dated, sexist stereotypes of women still alive and well for your writers?— Rachel McKinnon (@rachelvmckinnon) September 30, 2014