Of sports and sexism: The controversy around 'While The Men Watch'

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Infographic by Jaela Bernstien.

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With the puck about to drop for tonight's Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals, we decided to look into the controversy around 'While the Men Watch.' Here, Kaitlin McNabb explains the discussion the show has ignited. Later this week rabble will feature more commentaries on this show and what it says about sports and sexism in our society. The accompanying infographic is by Jaela Bernstien. 

The Internet has been ablaze for the last week with rapid-fire tweets and fiery blogs all descending upon one controversial and polarizing topic: hockey. Well, not hockey exactly, but more specifically the new show While The Men Watch, which is describes itself as a "Sex in the City meets ESPN" take on a live sports talk-show geared towards women. The CBC is partnering with While the Men Watch throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs. 

The "female-friendly" commentary aims to keep women entertained with banter about coach makeovers and sex games while their men dutifully watch an onslaught of sports. The co-hosting duo, Lena Sutherland and Jules Mancuso, created this viral sensation from the frustration they felt with their own sports-addicted men, and from these successful broadcasts, the CBC decided to pick up the program during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

This action by the CBC is what ignited the firestorm, bringing out tweets, op-eds and blog posts from every crevice of the Internet. Opinions took ranged from supportive high-fives, to equally sexist quips, to disgusted outrage and to bewildered disappointment.

We decided to take a look at what Twitter was saying after Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and compile the best tweets of the night on both sides of the issue. While some people love it, most people hate it, but not for all the same reasons. Some are disgruntled, others are ecstatic, while a few just pray for more Degrassi? Either way everyone is talking.

What do you think of While the Men Watch and the controversy it has faced? Do you think the backlash co-hosts Sutherland and Mancuso has faced is warranted? What do you think prompted CBC to make this controversial decision?

Let us know what you think in the comments, on our While the Men Watch babble thread or with the twitter hashtag #WhiletheMenWatch.


Kaitlin McNabb is rabble's Babble Book Club moderator and a regular contributor to the book lounge.

Jaela Bernstien is a contributing editor for rabble.ca. She graduated with Honors from Western University, where she also worked as managing editor for the Western Gazette. Now she lives in Montreal and freelances as a writer, editor and graphic designer.

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