ITV is Planning a New Channel Focused on Women

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ITV is planning a new channel focused on women. I know what men are thinking right now (as I am one of those): “I’ll finally get time to do what I want while ‘she’ is absorbed in her new channel…” Am I wrong?  Let’s see how this develops!

ITVs Womens Channel

ITV reckons it knows what women want. The network has just announced that it’s launching a new “female focused” channel, ITVBe, which will showcase some of the biggest jewels in ITV2s current schedule, including The Only Way Is Essex and the Real Housewives franchise. Crack open the pink wine! Let’s spoil ourselves with a scrape of low-fat cheese spread on a dark rye cracker! At last, we won’t have to touch the remote and risk smudging our newly polished nails when we’re searching for shows to suit our needs.

Sarcasm aside, the initial reaction to ITVBe probably won’t be a positive one. How dare patronising patriarchy pushers assume that our interests are limited to watching women in peplums fighting about their boyfriends, and wandering into wonky indoor tents where they’re sprayed to a shade of Pantone 7518 C? And why the focus on reality TV, which is deeply damaging, dumbing down our culture and ruining our reputation for fine drama, which was all we had after losing the British Empire? Also what about the poor men? Where is their telly? It’s all “pens for women!” and periods these days. It’s a good thing the pay gap persists – poor, neglected men need those extra pounds to console themselves about the lack of interest in their pursuits.

It seems unlikely that ITV had a political gender agenda when the meetings for its female-friendly channel started. The network is interested in turning a profit – that’s all. And as women are powerful consumers, it makes great commercial sense to sell space to potential advertisers when you can be specific about the demographic being targeted.

We can choose not to buy, watch, or take part. But too many of us register our disgust by dismissing anything aimed at women as ridiculous, girly, or too lightweight. Romantic comedies are usually high performers at the box office, but we think of them derisively as guilty pleasures that we reluctantly admit to watching while stressing that we know they’re inferior to Hollywood heavyweights. Novelist Jennifer Weiner recently spoke out about the way fiction written for and by women is not given the same attention and respect as the work of male writers.

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ITv’s women-focused channel will be a hit with both feminists and non-feminists; why would any channel that focuses on women not be popular with them? The real question is what will men think of it and will women actually get the TV time to watch it? Let’s see how it goes!

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