The CBC has some explaining to do. That’s the sentiment among female hockey fans across the country who aren’t very fond of the national network’s recent endorsement of a “female-friendly” sports broadcast called While the Men Watch. The broadcast, live-streamed during the Stanley Cup finals at whilethemenwatch.com, is described as “a first of its kind, live sports talk show for women . . . Sex and the City meets ESPN.” Hosted by two “real-life girlfriends,” Lena Sutherland and Jules Mancuso, both blog and broadcast are aimed at sports-wary women interested in anything from “interpreting the rules of the game to coaches in need of a makeover.” Female sports fans are not enthused. “Seriously #CBC?,” tweeted Laurie Kempton. “I’m a serious sports fan. Thanks for the patronizing insult.”
Log onto the show’s blog, however, and it becomes clear that Sutherland and Mancuso aren’t without irony: “If your man is anything like ours,” reads one post, “he believes that players, coaches and refs can hear the instructions they yell out through the TV.” In fact, rather than an insult to female intelligence, the blog reads more like two bored wives making fun of their sports fanatic husbands. It is, in a way, the anti-Cosmo.
Not everyone agrees: Jaclyn Garfinkle, a 23-year-old sports fanatic and an associate producer at TSN’s Off the Record, thinks While the Men Watch is grossly “miscalculated” in its assumption that women don’t know about sports. “I think it’s somewhat ridiculous,” she says. “I think females in Canada are really underestimated in terms of how much they watch hockey.”
Still, one of the show’s biggest endorsements has come from a surprising source: “I think it’s going to be fun,” said two-time gold medallist and women’s hockey legend Cassie Campbell-Pascall. “It may even resonate with some of the most dedicated fans.”