The Downside of Being a Woman on Jeopardy!

In short: the male fans on social media
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2016 4:00 PM CST
The Downside of Being a Woman on Jeopardy!
Maybe safer playing at home? This is the official Wii box art of the Jeopardy! video game by THQ.   (Photo: Business Wire)

(Newser) Jeopardy! may not strike you as the sort of game show that would attract the trolls of the Internet, but a first-person piece at Broadly by a former female contestant is proof enough. Talia Lavin appeared on a show that aired in September, and while she didn't win, she drew attention for her final answer: a reference to "Turd Ferguson" from a Saturday Night Live spoof of the game show. It was funny, and all was well—until Lavin started noticing the comments that began surfacing about her online. Hence, the headline of her piece: "The Ugly, Sexist Aftermath of Appearing on Jeopardy!" She was soon "running a sexualized gauntlet of unwelcome tweets, emails, and Facebook messages replete with explicit sexual material."

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Lavin reprints some in lurid detail, and describes how she got a radically different haircut and changed her social media photos, "hoping to render myself unrecognizable." The kicker, though, is that when she reached out to other women from the show, she discovered she wasn't alone. "Nearly every female Jeopardy! contestant that I spoke to talked about receiving one form of unwelcome sexual attention or another, which most of them hadn't expected when appearing on a show they'd loved since childhood." Despite that, the piece ends on a defiant note: Not one of the women regretted appearing, and Lavin uses a quote from fellow contestant Tiombi Prince to end the piece: "Those men don't own me. I own me and determine how I behave and how I present myself. I refuse to have my accomplishments diminished." (Read the full story.)

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