The new game show is provoking a momentous backash in even this normally patriarchal Caucasus society.
Is Salvador Dali a French nudist, an Italian hairstylist or a Spanish surrealist? A television quiz show that portrays the ignorant answers of long-legged, skimpily clad female contestants to trivia questions is sparking an unprecedented outcry in traditionally patriarchal Georgia. Feminist activists see the debate over the show as limited progress toward gender equality in a country better known for its machismo.
The Dali question, which ultimately stumped two women models who recently appeared as contestants on "Women's Logic", illustrates the concerns. Unfamiliar with the meaning of "nudist" or "surrealist," the models, after examining a photo of the mustachioed artist, chose "hair stylist" -- a word they both knew. "Now it's trendy for men in the fashion business to have a moustache," one model said, explaining her reasoning.
The weekly show's male participants are not expected to give correct answers. Rather, they need to guess how the women with whom they are paired will respond to the questions -- or, as the show producers would put it, try to comprehend the world of "women's logic."
Such exchanges have left quite a few Georgian viewers fuming with anger. "Logic does not have a sex," argued Ninia Kakabadze, a prominent journalist and member of the Media Club, a journalism advocacy group. "There are both stupid men and women out there."
Not long after the show's launch in March, a handful of protesters in Tbilisi gathered at the gates of Imedi TV, the show's broadcaster, to demand that the station cancel the program, or change its format. Within a few days, more than 1,000 people -- both men and women -- had signed a petition drawn up by Kakabadze and several likeminded women echoing that demand.
The petition asserts that Women's Logic violates Imedi's own ethics standards and the country's code of conduct for broadcasters as well as laws on gender discrimination and Georgia's international commitments not to propagate discrimination. Imedi is now reviewing the complaint.
The activists say that the show and similar content in Georgian media only promote denigrating stereotypes about women, and damage any chance for gender equality. "The situation is dire as it is, and media should know better than to perpetuate damaging stereotypes and portray women as being inferior to men," commented Teo Khatiashvili, a film critic and social activist.
Georgia, though, sometimes seems to contain a mixture of attitudes toward women. A comparative study conducted in 2010 by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers, found far greater support in Georgia for equal access to jobs and education than in Russia, Turkey, Armenia or Azerbaijan.