Alex Trebek Thinks I'm a Filthy Slut?
University of Missouri senior Lindsay Eanet is currently competing on the Jeopardy!" College Championship. (Wash U student Nick Yozamp is also in the same competition.) A journalism major, she told the Columbia Tribune that being on the show was a life goal. Eanet advanced to the semifinals last week, and appeared on a subsequent episode in recent days -- where things apparently turned bizarre. According to an account published by The L Magazine:
screencap via Lindsay Eanet. Aspiring music journalist.
Lindsay, who attends the University of Missouri, shared a nice little story about how the movie Almost Famous made her want to be a music journalist, just like William Miller. Without missing a beat, Trebek was like, "Oh, so you want to be a groupie?" When Lindsay awkwardly explained that, no, she wanted to be, you know... a journalist, Trebek shrugged it off, mouthing to the camera once again, "a groupie."
It didn't end there.
Occasional L Magazine contributor Jessica Suarez points out, via Twitter, "Wow she just swept the 'band names' category and Alex said, 'Remember what i said earlier.'
Music journalism is -- and always has been -- a male-dominated profession, with mastheads dominated by men. That's a fact. But to say that female music journalists are groupies is beyond ignorant, and condescending to those of us who work in the business. As a freelancer, I've worked with multiple female editors -- and in fact, Village Voice Media currently has female music editors in Miami, San Francisco, Minneapolis and Kansas City. The pop music critic at the LA Times (Ann Powers) is female. Spin's masthead always contains women. At the RFT, my stable of freelance writers contains both men and women.
Trebek making a flippant statement on national TV perpetuates the nasty stereotype that women are only in music journalism to have sex with musicians. It negates those of us who love music, enjoy thinking about music, enjoy consuming music and like discovering amazing new bands. My job has its downsides -- late nights, bad music, heavy workload -- but I also get to talk to some amazing people and tell their (hopefully interesting) stories. Hearing someone dismiss female music journalists as "groupies" makes me angry. Because of gender, our work isn't being perceived as thoughtful or intelligent discourse -- and it isn't earning the same respect as articles penned by men. Instead, our motivations are implied to be baser, vapid and driven by libido.
Lindsay's keeping a blog about her Jeopardy! experience here. It'll be interesting to see if she has any reaction to the episode. And Lindsay, if you see this? Email me.