Review: When Women Rule The World- Ha! When Sexism is Blatantly Perpetuated

September 4, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews


Channel 4, Thursday 4th September, 10.35pm

As news of the glass ceiling for women in business being, in fact, more of a reinforced concrete ceiling hits the headlines today, it is with great gusto that I say, women everywhere should take personal offence at Channel 4’s new show, When Women Rule The World.  Quite simply, this is an insulting piece of rubbish founded on the premise that the situation of having women in charge is all a bit of a joke, an Amazonian dalliance from the real world, where, thank heavens, men are in control.

Set on an exotic island where ‘women rule and men obey’, the show hides beneath a thin veil of pro-feminist values mostly portrayed by a soundtrack of annoyingly mouthy “girl power? songs (Mystique feature heavily) but actually sets women up to look silly, naggy and bitchy.  Apart from picking contestants whose faux-powerful occupations include a “Door Whore? and “the former Porn Queen of England? (actually just male turn-ons*) and dressing the ‘strong’ women in skimpy bikinis while they bicker (*see above), presenter and well-known ladies man, Steve Jones litters his voiceover with cringe-worthy comments about the boys “exploring virgin territory? and the incredulity of the whole situation, “the Ultimate Gender Experiment.?

Yeah, yeah, I’m sure many of you are thinking, “just chill out, love- it’s a bit of a laugh? but don’t you be taken in by that old chestnut.  It’s a cunning tactic, Channel 4, getting a T4 presenter with all his trendy T4 irony to coolly present a show like this so we see that it’s aware of its own ridiculousness, honestly.  However, that doesn’t mean you get away with it.  Just airing this kind of formulaic nonsense blatantly perpetuates the bogus, yet scarily widespread perception of women as inadequate in positions of power, but presenting it as ‘just a bit of fun’ doesn’t just cover up this underlying idea, it reinforces it.  Ah, isn’t it hilarious that women are ruling!

When Women Rule The World’s main fault is that it’s too extreme and it knows this, but does it anyway.  It’s there to aggravate even the most reasonable of feminists (like me- yes, I’m reasonable) and entertain chauvinists and women, who have sadly been sucked in by the idea that this show portrays their gender as somehow powerful.  Why not swap the ruling gender half way through (then we can see how most male-dominated organisations are actually run these day) and then mix the genders up? That would have been a more interesting, less predictable concept- but, wait, it probably would have shown women and men as real people, not 2D gender cut-outs and we couldn’t have that, could we?…

By Susan Allen