When I was a teenager, I took a Driver’s Ed course offered by my local public school. It was competitive to enroll, because it was far more affordable than taking classes through a private company, but still met the state requirements to get your license. The instructor of the class was a very ornery old man who had a lot of opinions about a lot of things. The opinion he expressed most often was that women are emotional airheads who shouldn’t drive.
He told us a story about having to go rescue a poor hapless lady driver stranded in the snow because she didn’t have enough room in her delicate little brain to remember to fill her car with gas. He told us another story about how his secretary once broke her nose when her airbag went off in a crash, using that as an example of a reason we shouldn’t get behind the wheel. You know, just in case we mess up our pretty faces, the only real assets we have. These are just a few of the many gems he spewed out at us over the length of the course. Don’t even get me started on some of the things he said to me while I was actually in the car driving with him.
Tonight while watching Jeopardy, one of our favorite family bonding activities, I had a very vivid flashback to my Driver’s Ed days when Alex Trebek made one of the most condescending comments I’ve heard him utter in a while. After the cast of female contestants correctly answered all the questions in a category about Madden Football, he could hardly contain the surprise in his voice as he noted that the “ladies” did very well with the category.
Naturally, as I do with many things, I took to Twitter to voice my dissatisfaction. What surprised (and delighted) me was how so many others did the same. Not only that, but I’ve found almost no voices out there who are arguing the other side of it. Considering the internet is generally a chest-thumping chorus, I’m going to revel in this brief moment of solidarity. Here are just a few of the comments on Trebek’s condescension du jour.
— Natalie Litofsky (@nblitofsky) April 17, 2014
I love when Alex Trebek is openly sexist on @Jeopardy. Tonight he was surprised 2 women could name NFL players who graced cover of Madden.
— Jenn (@jenntopper) April 17, 2014
“You ladies did very well in that football category!” #ThingsILearnFromJeopardy Alex Trebek has clear ideas about gender roles.
— Chris Cole (@AntiYourFacePhD) April 18, 2014
Sexist Alex Trebek at it again: “You ladies did really well in that football category.”
— World of Isaac (@WorldofIsaac) April 17, 2014
As usual, Alex Trebek is shocked that the all female slate of Jeopardy! contestants had no problem answering football related questions.
— MHarvey (@mharvey816) April 17, 2014
Trebek just congratulated 3 female contestants on knowing all answers in a football category and now I remember why I don’t watch Jeopardy.
— Brendan Noel (@BrendanDNoel) April 17, 2014
Well, I saw that coming. Trebek, just now: “You ladies did very well in that football category, congratulations!” @Jeopardy make it stop!
— Carrie (@CarrieKamikaze) April 17, 2014
“wow, you ladies did really well with the football category.” Cool misogyny, Alex Trebek. #jeopardy
— Leah Stone (@LoisPennycandy) April 18, 2014
Hey Alex Trebek, you can stop being so surprised when a woman answers sport questions.
— Anne-Marie Hart (@Anne_MarieHart) April 17, 2014
Yeah, Alex Trebek congratulating three female contestants on sweeping a football category wasn’t awful or awkward or anything. #Jeopardy
— More Like Tim HEEL (@timtheredmenace) April 17, 2014
“You ladies did very well in that football category. Congratulations.” -Alex Trebek Wow Trebek, wow pic.twitter.com/GvqZE03HLR
— Sarah Flores (@sarbear54) April 17, 2014