University Challenge is at the centre of a sexism row after Twitter users slam viewers' 'lewd' remarks about Oxford-Pembroke college captain's 'attrib
University Challenge is at the centre of a sexism row after Twitter users slam viewers’ ‘lewd’ remarks about Oxford-Pembroke college captain’s ‘attributes’
New Testament Greek, cognitive linguistics … Katharine Perry has mastered some fearsome-sounding subjects.
Yet when she captained her Oxford team on University Challenge viewers were more interested in the 29-year-old’s cleavage.
Miss Perry, who is studying for a PhD at Pembroke College, Oxford, led her team into battle with Downing, Cambridge on Monday’s episode for a place in the second round of the competition.
Yet despite answering several questions correctly on the BBC2 quiz show, much of the focus on social media was on her chest.
Writing about the contestant, who was wearing a low-cut black top, one viewer said on Twitter: ‘Bloody hell Perry isn’t aiming for the demure look this eve.’ Another added: ‘That’s impressive cleavage!’
But others criticised fans who were making ‘lewd and sexist’ comments about the appearance of Miss Perry – who was the only woman in the team – rather than her brains.
One wrote: ‘[People say] “Why aren’t more women on University Challenge?” [then go] “Phwoar look at her knockers”. Jesus Christ people can you not watch #universitychallenge without either mocking or objectifying contestants.’
Another added: ‘It is saddening to see Pembroke-Perry, who exercised her role as team captain with admirable grace and serenity, become the victim of so much sexist abuse. Shame on people who make lewd comments about her and about female #UniversityChallenge contestants in general.’ A third wrote: ‘Why is everyone going on about Perry’s cleavage when she’s so obviously intelligent and seems like a lovely, supportive teammate – have some respect.’
Miss Perry, from Birmingham, earned a degree in theology at Oxford and completed a masters at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. She then returned to Pembroke to study for a PhD and has lectured on demonology, New Testament Greek and cognitive linguistics.
She got several questions correct on Monday night’s show – including knowing that the Swedish naturalist dubbed the father of modern biological classification was Linnaeus.
She isn’t the first to find herself the centre of attention from viewers. Last year, Oxford medical student Emma Johnson was described as ‘the most perfect woman’ by viewers – but later called it ‘the 2017 version of catcalling’. Gail Trimble – nicknamed the human Google – was offered ‘tasteful’ photo shoots in lads’ mags after almost single-handedly winning the title for Corpus Christi, Oxford in 2009.
University Challenge has previously come under fire over its lack of gender equality. Just 22 per cent of the contestants in last year’s series were female – and just 5 per cent of the finalists in the last five years have been women.
University officials have said many female students are discouraged from taking part in the TV quiz because of attacks by social media trolls about their looks.
Pembroke lost Monday night’s round to Downing by 230 points to 75, and were booted out of the competition.
Source: Daily Mail, UK