It’s not a secret that men often tune out women when it comes to hockey — or any sport, really.
However, I’m a woman, and I started watching hockey with my dad when I was a kid. He played pro and taught me how to talk circles around most of the male fans out there.
It’s clear there’s an issue at hand: women need an outlet to be heard when it comes to sports.
While the Men Watch is an alternative audio channel offered by CBC for the first time during the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals. During the Finals, CBC broadcasted commentary exclusively from women. This sounds like a step in the right direction, right?
Unfortunately, it’s not. For female hockey fans — the ones who are focusing on plays rather than how Canucks forward Ryan Kesler looks without a shirt on — this is a huge leap backwards.
While the Men Watch was created by co-hosts Lena Sutherland and Jules Mancuso. The duo boast on their website that the broadcast has been “hailed as Sex in the City meets ESPN.”
Sutherland and Mancuso’s website explains the female-friendly commentary “keeps women entertained during football, hockey . . . The lively discussion follows sports from a woman’s point of view including everything from interpreting the rules of the game to coaches in need of a makeover.”
First off, the discussion is anything but “lively.” It sounds more like an overheard gossip session, especially when each of the women chooses a “boyfriend of the game.”
“[Kevin] Bieksa is the number one boyfriend. We share him because we’re such good friends,” Sutherland said in an interview with Shaw TV Vancouver’s Urban Rush.
The duo describes the program as their “own version of sports commentary that women actually want to hear.”
But there’s a typo in that sentence. While the Men Watch is not sports commentary. It’s barely commentary. It’s just gossip.
Here’s an example: in the same interview with Urban Rush, the pair were asked what they thought of the Sedin twins, to which Sutherland answered, “We want to know if the curtains match the carpet.”
The website also features articles like “Kings versus Devils: 10 Celebrity Look-a-Likes.”
I’m not going to say there shouldn’t be a place for women to talk about abs and fashion faux pas if they want to. Just don’t call it sports commentary.
Sutherland and Mancuso created this outlet because they were bored of watching sports with their “sports-addicted men.” But this outlet does absolutely nothing to include women who are actually hockey fans.
If this is the place for women’s voices in hockey then we’re in trouble. Would men get away with critiquing women’s bodies on a nation-wide broadcast as the ladies run, skate or dribble? Obviously not.
If I were to rate While the Men Watch out of five stars, I’d give Sutherland and Mancuso one star each to bedazzle their clutches with.