Women Killing It On Jeopardy! For the First Time Ever
On April 8, an environmental compliance manager from Baltimore named Derrick Shivar hauled in $22,800 on Jeopardy! His triumph would be otherwise unremarkable in the annals of the storied game show except for this: That was was the last time a man won a match on the show. Since then, women have been on an unprecedented run on a program that has long been a target for complaints from feminists and other critics wondering why, for three decades now, the vast majority of players and winners have been male.
Whence this injustice? We’ve known for a second that women bet less than men on the show; they also make up a smaller percentage of the contestants. A male blogger quoted in this piece suggests that “we’re starting to see the results of a generation of women being told that being smart is cool.” Being told! That’s one way to frame the idea. Here’s one more way one more man phrased one more thing:
Keith Williams, the 2003 Jeopardy! College Tournament champion whose daily video blog dissects the math behind each player’s Final Jeopardy wagering, agreed with Collins that there’s long been an arrogance about what is considered worthy of the program. “In the past, they were a lot more focused on what we call ‘hard knowledge’ and historical facts, dates, who wrote what book, and so on,” Williams said. “Now you’ll see entire categories devoted to Taylor Swift or celebrity reality shows. I wouldn’t say that women are necessarily better in those categories, but that is a consideration.”
“I wouldn’t say that women are necessarily better at knowing DUMB SHIT,” said Williams, in his brain, “BUT.”
Jass, who teaches women’s studies at Adrian College in Adrian, Michigan, said the show’s writing staff, dominated by men, also allow an “androcentric” perspective to seep into the show material. “You never see a category called ‘Male Artists,’ but you do see ‘Female Artists’ or just ‘Artists,’ which may have some women as answers,” she said.