ESPN’s Cute Sexism Double Standard

“Every Wednesday, we celebrate the more responsible, more mature, more intelligent, and all around superior gender of our species – the women, on Women Crush Wednesdays.”

That rather obnoxious statement was said on the television show and podcast Jalen and Jacoby by co-host David Jacoby. The show’s format entails Jacoby and former NBA player Jalen Rose bantering about sports and popular culture.

Women Crush Wednesdays is a segment taking place every Wednesday in which the show airs calls exclusively from female callers. It takes its name from the eponymous social media hashtag in which people post photos or stories of women being strong and powerful or just wearing bathing suits along with the phrase Women Crush Wednesdays or the abbreviation of #WCW.

So, basically another way for women to pat themselves on the back, or for kiss ass dudes to fail miserably at portraying themselves as a white knight so as to trick women into paying attention to them.

This statement irritated me because it is blatantly sexist, and abuse of a double standard. If you said the inverse of this I have no doubt you would immediately be fired from your job at ESPN:

“Every Monday, we celebrate the more responsible, more mature, more intelligent, and all around superior gender of our species – the men, on Man Crush Monday.”

To be clear, Jacoby was obviously saying this tongue-in-cheek and most likely doesn’t actually believe that women are “all around superior” to men. Yet, it was still annoying on multiple levels. Firstly I don’t find it especially cute to behave as a sycophant to women. It’s not progressive and makes you look like a child, or worse.

Secondly, this behavior is patronizing and condescending to the feminist cause in general. The only reason one would say something like this, outside of being completely insane and having some inadequacy disorder, would be as a joke. The inverse statement that men are a superior gender would be seen as offensive, whereas the statement that women are superior ranks anywhere from laughable to forgettable.

Indeed, I realize that nobody cares, but this could be a nice little vignette into the fact that, while women enjoy privileges in this society that men don’t, they’re often still not seen as equal. The fact that a statement like this goes unnoticed means we don’t have equality between the genders, or certainly not in any homogenous sense.

It’s unclear who’s on top, but something is out of whack, we can’t be equal.

I “reached out” to ESPN’s publicists who represent Jalen and Jacoby to try and clear up why a Disney owned ultra-PC network such as ESPN would tolerate blatantly sexist humor on one of their programs. The first person I spoke to is named Angela Yang and she is a Senior Publicist at ESPN. She ignored several of my emails and when I got her on the phone she said she would get back to me and never did. I then got ahold of Tara Chozet who is a Communications Manager at ESPN who said:

“We have no comment for you.”

Really, you get paid for that? Communications Director must be a pretty sweet gig, because it appears to entail patently not communicating with people.

I then spoke with Caroline Light, a former professor at Duke University and current Director of Studies of the Women, Gender and Sexuality program at Harvard University, who got back to me via email even though she doesn’t work for ESPN or get paid a pretty good salary as a Communications Manager or Senior Publicist.

She offered a take I hadn’t considered, that Jacoby may have actually been offering a nod to “people who believe feminists are out to undermine [and] destroy men.”

It’s possible Jacoby was speaking in code. On the show, both Jacoby and Rose allude to the fact that they’re not free to openly express their opinions, which often manifests itself in one of the program’s catch phrases, “Don’t get fired.”

This means the duo introduce various topics, such as sex scandals or drug scandals, and then state that they’re pretty much unable to have an honest conversation about said topic without the threat of losing their jobs.

It makes me wonder why they would even bring it up in the first place.

Clearly ESPN is diligent in policing what is said on their network, and have no tolerance for sexism or anything not considered PC. Yet they literally have nothing to say, arrogantly so, when someone claims one gender is more intelligent, more mature, and all around superior than another.

We really have to figure out this equality thing. Something is amiss.

(This was not meant to disparage the Jalen and Jacoby program so much as to draw attention to a double standard that is seen across the board on TV. I actually frequently listen to and enjoy the program.)

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