What Women Want, According to ‘Jeopardy’: a Vacuum Cleaner, Tea, and Pilates

The game show gets slammed for a sexist category.
(Photo: 'Jeopardy')
Sep 30, 2014· 1 MIN READ
Kristina Bravo is Assistant Editor at TakePart.

It’s an age-old question posed by some of history’s most famous men, from Sigmund Freud to Mel Gibson: What do women want?

A category on Monday’s episode of Jeopardy asked just that, and to the disappointment of women everywhere, it played on stereotypes redolent of the 1950s.

The clues? A pair of jeans that fit well ("What is Levi’s?"); a few moments of quiet to do this ("What is a crossword puzzle?"); some help around the house ("What is a vacuum cleaner?"); a cup of herbal tea from Celestial Seasonings ("What is Sleepytime?"); and a class in a discipline initially called contrology ("What is Pilates?").

(Photo: 'Jeopardy')

Actor Sophia Bush tweeted, “For a ‘smart’ show, you just got srsly stupid.” Other women took to Twitter as well—with better answers.

How does a production like Jeopardy, which has avoided controversy for most of its five-decade run, display such a lapse of judgment?

According to Jeopardy’s website, it appears that only two of its nine producers and two of a seven-person research team are women. Those numbers represent an industry-wide problem. According to a 2013 report by San Diego State University’s Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, women only held 28 percent of behind-the-scenes positions, including creators, writers, and producers. That’s a 2 percent bump from 2011 to 2012—a historic high.

A Jeopardy spokesperson declined a request for comment.