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Survivor: The Amazon – Role Reversal & Player Traitsby Paris Cosby -- 03/06/2003
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I don't usually write about Survivor, but two things struck me this last episode that I felt I had to get out. The first has to do with the gender-split tribes. I have found this incredibly interesting. It seems to me that the roles have almost been reversed according to what one might consider basic gender roles that people will naturally fall into even in a tribal setting like we see on Survivor.
Women are usually the ones who do more of the cooking and cleaning – not in all cases, but in most. Men are the hunters and the more physical gender. In the past when the tribes have been made up of both men and women, things seemed to have fallen into place, but not this time. I can't see it being based on the 16 people who were chosen, so it must have something to do with human beings in general when put together with other human beings all of their own gender. Something goes wrong – at least according to what we would expect to happen.
The women's camp was a mess! Basically, it was disgusting. The pot was filthy, the flour had mold in it, there was garbage everywhere, etc. It's amazing one of them isn't seriously ill yet. They also can't seem to get it together enough to figure out how to fix their lack of organization. And, oddly enough, the woman they picked to lead them is the one woman among them that most resembles a man.
When we head over to the other side of camp, we see that the men have a fairly organized camp, things are clean, and they seem to have quite a little social structure going on there. It's like a news flash that men don't need to have women to take care of them. They're cooking, getting along (for the most part) and surviving a lot better than the women are – which surprised me.
In fact, the entire thing has surprised me. I thought the women would have been able to pull it together a lot better than the men and the opposite has been true. And the same thing goes for the challenges – it's been the opposite of what I expected. The men have lost all but one challenge – and that challenge wasn’t a physical one. I expected the men to win more than they have.
The fishing is another thing. It's not that I don't think women can fish. I love to fish. I've caught some nice-sized rainbow trout with just a stick, line, and hook. But, in typical gender roles, men are considered hunters and they basically suck so far. And you would think the women would be able to clean a pot and make sure there isn't any mold in their food. I'm sure I'll get people freaking out on me about this because I shouldn't base things on gender, but I don't think I'm wrong here. If you take any college student and go to their room, open the male's fridge door. What will you find? Some beer, leftover pizza, some moldy stuff, and maybe ketchup. You go to the woman's fridge door and you'll likely find all sorts of things without mold and a nice, clean fridge. It's not true all of the time but most of the time.
I love the way this Survivor has been set up because I think we can see all sorts of different dynamics. The show was getting a little boring and this was a great way to shake things up. I like it, I find it incredibly interesting. I'm not so much into the game play as I am into watching and observing people. This is different. I like it.
Now my second point is with a few of the people on the show. Heidi is first because what she did was so hideously wrong! Heidi was a complete embarrassment to herself when she made reference to the "cute girls." Honey, none of you are cute right now. You're dirty and your hair is falling out! Never mind the fact that this woman is a school teacher. What kind of role model is that? Especially in high school! I swear high school can scar people for life. I've had people come up to me 10 years later and tell me how horrible I was to them and I didn't even know they were at my school! UGH! Imagine hearing your teacher be a complete snot! Talk about getting a few of your gym class students into anorexia! Way to go, Heidi! Anyway, she sets a terrible example for the profession she is in while, at the same time, making a complete ass of herself. I liked her up until that point. And, I don't dislike people just because they are cute or pretty. I'm cute! But I sure don't go around saying someone can't hang out with me because maybe other people might not perceive them as attractive. If you ask me, Heidi is an idiot. Blonde bimbo definitely applies to this one. Maybe her luxury item should have been a mirror with the words, "Think before you speak," written on there. I have no idea how she's a mentor for young teens. I sure wouldn't want her dealing with my kids.
Matthew is another player that I wanted to talk about. I don't dislike him but he scares me in an intriguing sort of way. I find myself so drawn to him but he's creepy! He's like the dark prince in the fairytale. He's obviously incredibly intelligent but there's something sinister about him. I couldn't stop watching him but at the same time I didn't want to watch him. He so easily slipped into Cantonese that it was almost evil. He seems evil – his look, his smile, his eyes. I can't quite put a finger on what makes him so amazing to watch. He reminds me of a Count. Count Dracula to be exact. He's charming and mysterious and, to be quite frank, scary. He is the dark prince.
This whole series is something of a Disney story. On Jaburu, you have the evil stepsisters (the three spoiled brats, moreso Jenna and Heidi than Shawna) and Cinderella who most viewers adore (Christy), the dark prince (Matthew), the real prince (Alex), and the court jester (Rob). There's also the crazy Aunt (JoAnna) and the freakish ruling king (Roger). Deena can be the sane, rational one, maybe the fairy godmother. Butch could be the mice or the coach driver and anyone else isn't really popping to mind right now but you get the idea.
Despite all my complaining, I really do like this show. I think it's bringing Survivor back to a level that it once had. It's interesting, the characters are great, the tension is high, and it makes for good television. I don't usually like this show until after the merge but it's only three episodes in and I can't wait for the next episode!
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