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On Gender Roles and Survivor with NPR’s Linda Holmes

NPR's Linda Holmes uses the Clue Burning Controversy between the Culpeppers and the Codys as a jump off for a discussion on Survivor and Gender Roles

NPR’s Linda Holmes uses the Clue Burning Controversy between the Culpeppers and the Codys as a jump off for a discussion on Survivor and Gender Roles

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On a special edition of Rob Has a Podcast, Rob Cesternino brings in Linda Holmes (@NPRMonkeySee) from NPR’s Monkey See Pop Culture Blog and NPR’s Pop Culutre Happy Hour podcast to discuss gender roles on Survivor.  Plus, we get an extra dose of Stephen Fishbach as he joins us for this discussion.

A few weeks back, Linda wrote “The Tribe is Broken: How Silently is Slowly Killing Survivor” which created a lot of discussion within the Survivor and Rob Has a Podcast community.  Rob begins by asking Linda about the incident which sparked this discussion – which was when Jeff Probst chastised John Cody for listening to Candice when she told him to give the hidden immunity idol clue to Monica.  Then, Jeff Probst didn’t seem to have an issue when Brad told Monica to throw the idol clue in to the fire.

Rob and Stephen discuss a number of gender related issues with Linda about the Survivor casting process and whether Jeff Probst tends to favor male contestants.  Linda describes some of her favorite players to watch play the game and offers some people that she would love to see return to the show.

Plus, Rob and Stephen bring up some of the other gender related issues from Survivor Blood vs Water including the controversial massage between Aras and Laura Morett, Vytas’ role in a tribe of all women, the interplay between Kat and Hayden over switching in to the game and Tina’s wish that Vytas would club her daughter over the head to make grandchildren.

Show Links:

NPR Monkey See Pop Culture Blog – Linda’s Blog on the NPR website

The Tribe is Broken: How Silently is Slowly Killing Survivor - Linda’s blog which began this discussion

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Rob Cesternino

Rob Cesternino is a two-time Survivor player and reality TV aficionado. Rob gives his thoughts on his favorite Reality TV shows as the host of "Rob Has a Podcast" More From Rob Cesternino »



  • https://twitter.com/salomey5 salomey5

    First in to say that in the first five minutes of this podcast, Linda Holmes has earned my eternal gratitude for saying out loud what I’ve been thinking for years: that she found Russell Hantz dreadfully boring.

    Linda, A. Friggin’ MEN. I couldn’t agree more.

    • Matthew Bok

      You can say you think he is a terrible person. You can say that the third time wasn’t the charm for him. I don’t see how you can watch Samoa and say he is boring. He did something no one else has ever done before and he radically changed how the game is played today.

      I think he made some mistakes in both Samoa and HvV, but being boring was not his problem. He was a dead man walking both seasons and he weaseled, fought, connived his way to the end twice. If you find that boring, more power to you, but I’ve never see gamesmanship (not sportsmanship) on that level before or since.

      • Dave L

        Well I found him boring too. I found him intellectually unstimulating. Watching Russell is like riding a rollercoaster. First 3 minutes is interesting. Next 3 minutes is OK, fun, just did that. However we were forced to ride the Russell rollercoaster ride about 100 times, which might have a lot of ups and downs, but they are the same ups and downs over and over again, and you just feel sick in your stomach when you are done.

      • dsharden

        i watched and maybe not boring as irritating as hell. I would have prefer listening to fingernails on a chalkboard than one more second of him. And I am one of those who do NOT believe he changed the game forever……he just made me realize what kind of people I do NOT want to watch.

        • Matthew Bok

          Probst is the one who actually stated that Russel changed the game. Samoa is also the only season that Probst has stated that the wrong person won.

          By his third outing he was almost a caricature of his first season, but the fact that he was able to get to the end his first two seasons was fascinating by how he did it.

          Someone mentioned Phillip above as a comparison. I couldn’t stand Phillip on either of his two outings. Much like Rachel on BB I looked forward to them no longer being there either by getting booted or (unfortunately) winning. That being said, they were great television. Annoying television, frustrating television, but great television. The fact that they invoke emotion (good or bad) in so many people is basically the exact opposite of boring. You might not like them, you may openly dislike them, but if you do, you can’t say you’re boring.

          I know you didn’t say boring, but others have I couldn’t parse out a million different responses to cover everything.

          • dsharden

            There hasn’t been a more fulfilling episode on Survivor than a couple of weeks ago when FUBC was eliminated. No great television, no great player, no great anything except douchebag..
            You have to admit there are people who cause trouble and are annoying but not great television. Many just want them off the show!

      • Morty

        Yeah, I wouldn’t say “boring” exactly. For me, I would describe it as he quickly became tiresome, which is not exactly the same thing.

      • https://twitter.com/salomey5 salomey5

        I’m not saying he’s a bad player and he’s definitely made some great moves, but as a TV character, he bores me to death. I was over him by his third “Ah am the king of Survahvor” confessional. There are only so many times I can hear the same thing before completely losing interest in what someone has to say.

        For the record, I could say the exact same thing about Phillip. As a TV character, big bloody YAWN as far as I’m concerned..

  • thegreatest

    While it’s good that Linda Holmes started a conversation about the sexism on the show, there are a lot of flaws in it. The first being that “sexism only has started recently to kill Survivor” which is completely false. Sexism has been present for more than 10 years since around All-Stars and even before that.

    In the link (from The Tribe: A Survivor Podcast FB group), there is a long-detailed response by Mario Lanza on this issue which be has brought up constantly over the years. It is worth a read.

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/282607711844696/permalink/430485763723556/

    • LosPollosHermanos

      Yeah, Survivor has issues with sexism, but most of Linda’s points in her article suck.

      • PHILtheCANADIAN

        Pretty much, haven’t listened to the podcast yet but if she repeats her terrible points from the article it’ll be a tough listen

        • dsharden

          That’s the beauty of having the decision to listen or not and then commenting after you have heard.

          • PHILtheCANADIAN

            I did listen, and it wasn’t tough to listen to because it seemed like a completely different person than the one who wrote the crappy article. The article was extreme and had nonsensical points, here she was lenient and basically made the points that everyone makes. The points that are real issues to look at and are worth discussing.

          • http://sweetscientist.wordpress.com Pink Pearl

            I think this is because her NPR article revolved around one particular scene and got really nit-picky about it, which I think undermined her larger opinion. (Which, since she had to keep it relatively topical and current for the blog, made sense. I could think of several scenes from previous seasons or even previous BvW episodes that illustrate her points much more clearly, and I’m sure she could too, but she needed a more recent entry point.) Given the chance to tie that into the entire world of Survivor and really run with it (steered by Rob’s stellar interviewing skills), it’s not surprising that the podcast was more enjoyable. I felt the same way.

          • Morty

            Agreed. I thought several of her bullet points were a bit of a reach, but her conclusion is solid. I believe the flaw with the case she built was that it was based on a single episode, and she had to stretch a bit too far on occasion to try to make it work.

            I think she could have bolstered her argument far better by drawing from all episodes so far this season…or even last season.

  • John

    Rob, you were making excellent points with your questions, but unfortunately, Linda answered just about every one with “I don’t know…”. I wish she would’ve taken a clear stance on the questions. But I do agree that Survivor is very sexist, mainly due to the host. Probst just caters to his opinions, and he either isn’t in tune with what the audience wants or just doesn’t care. He is not fit to be a producer. Ever since he became an executive producer, the show has went down hill. He should just stick to being the host.

    And I don’t think we will ever see females with actual personalities because production doesn’t want nor care about their personalities. The pervy production crew just wants hot girls in their bikinis to look at, and their nonexistent personalities let Jeff’s precious alpha males take the spotlight throughout the whole show.

    • thegreatest

      The show’s sexism was long visible before Jeff became executive producer, but no one paid attention or few made a big deal out of it. Just look at All-Stars when he and the production crew claimed that it was hard to cast the female section. They didn’t want to cast more than 3 older women (Tina, Kathy, Sue) so they brought 3rd/4th tier players in Jenna L. and Amber. Vecepia, Helen, Deena, and Teresa C. should have been in consideration for All-Stars, but were completely ignored.

      • Avery Gordon

        Vecepia was not ignored, she was invited to be on All-stars but was pregnant at the time. Know what your talking about first. And ofc they don’t want the bring back more then 3 older women, its the say thing with men. They have to hit certain demos and archatypes for season. You don’t wanna cast someone who play the character as someone else on the the season

        • thegreatest

          Vecepia wasn’t invited to All-Stars and she was not pregnant at that time. That’s been a false rumor over the years. The older women I mentioned are all different and distinct from each other. Also, Amber and Jenna L. had no business being on All-Stars. Jenna M. and Jerri already fit those demographics. There were a lot of 40-yr olds on the men’s side.

          • damnbueno

            Jenna L. was the only real smart player on Pagong. She figured out Rich’s alliance, and came up with a plan that could defeat it. That alone defined her as a good player to me.

            Shii-Ann was probably least deserving of All-Star status. She only made it because Colleen Haskell go some acting roles, and Elisabeth got on “The View.”

          • thegreatest

            Colleen decline because she didn’t enjoy the experience. Shii-Ann (& picked over an older female, Helen Glover) b/c Burnett wanted at least one representative from each season.

            If they wanted young females, Kelly W. (Borneo) and Erinn (Thailand) made more sense.
            Colleen also figured out the alliance thing.

          • damnbueno

            Oh, then I must have been smoking crack when Colleen was still pursuing acting roles (after starring in “The Animal” with Rob Schneider) when All-Stars was being shot.

            So I guess you’re claiming Helen and Shii-Ann were chosen OVER the girl-next-door types (Coleen and Elisabeth) that Survivor casting absolutely loved in the first few seasons.

            Yeah, that makes perfect sense.

            And yes, Colleen did figure out that Rich had a voting alliance. She figured it out right after Jenna told her about it. So did Gervase.

    • http://sweetscientist.wordpress.com Pink Pearl

      To the contrary, I think Linda actually did very well with what are some complicated questions that probably don’t have black-and-white answers. I think she was quite aware of her limitations as someone who has never played the game or seen what goes on behind the scenes. I’d have been more put off if she was purporting to declare gospel truth with every answer or claiming to know more than everyone else (claiming to have THOUGHT about it more than anyone else is a fair claim).

      You are absolutely right, though, that Probst’s role as EP is one of the big turning points here. I’m going to dig into that point a bit more myself because my curiosity’s piqued now. Thanks for the jumping-off point!

    • Dave L

      You forget Holmes is on NPR… you know a newsmedia for intelligent people not for sheep. So she doesn’t shoot her mouth off about a topic pretending she knows everything when she doesn’t since her audience is used to being able to think things through. She simply gave her opinion to tough questions. I thought she gave incredibly clear stances on every question. I appreciated how she didn’t beat around the bush that a lot of her opinions are very personal to herself… she’s not the flagbearer of feminism…she’s just an educated person with an opinion.

      • dsharden

        Love your comment. I also think this about her answers. She wasn’t speaking for the female population and many questions were directed to a black/white answer, which she didn’t do. She made it very clear her opinion and had room for others.

    • Gary

      I read the comments before I listened to the podcast, and so was expecting a bunch of “I don’t know” and wishy-washy answers, but actually found her to be *not* doing either of those things. Her commentary was more or less on point, with the only things she really couldn’t answer being those outside of her actual life experience. (not having been on or involved with the inner workings of Survivor)

  • BobbyKe

    On the topic of more crazy male personalities on Survivor & trying to find out which crazy women to bring back, Abi Maria & Alicia would both bring crazy drama & fit the role of over bearing personality if you want that from a female perspective. Naonka would also, but she’s obviously never coming back

    Overall, is Survivor sexist? In areas. There’s a bunch of point Linda made that are incredibly nitpicky though. The conversation between Candice/John/Brad/Monica was just nothing

    It seems to be a casting & Jeff issue where they definitely pay more attention to the personalities of the males. Probst has gotten much more degrading & less tolerable & if we had a more balanced host this’d be less of an issue

    The point about cutthroat men being taken much differently then cutthroat women is correct. For whatever reason, most people are much less offended if a male is devious & does blindsides & betrays people then if it’s a female. Don’t understand psychology enough to know why that is though

    • Mike Magas

      There is another side to the cutthroat idea though that people ignore.

      Yes women get villainised for cutthroat moves but they also get a hell of a lot more sympathy when they are the victims of it then men yet this isn’t view as an issue.

      A rather classic example is people hated on Neleh for “turning” on Kathy at the final 3 accepting Vee offer of a final 2 and people felt bad for Kathy. Penny turns on jake in thailand despite a very close relationship almost father/daughter and people credit it as her best move of the game and Jake gets no pity.

      If you want to correct the bad side of the coin, you really also have to look at the good side of the coin, I feel and fix that as well.

  • Legionwrex

    Haven’t listened to the podcast yet, but I will say this. I can tell you right now the reason Survivor appears to be sexist: Most women don’t fit into the personality mold that Probst and the editors love, while Alpha-Males do. Generally women are quieter and less aggressive (which is admittedly the better play style in terms of getting far), while the Alphas tend to be highly aggressive, competitive, and cocky. Get more women like BB 15 Amanda on Survivor and I bet their edit will be better.

    As to the topic of Probst liking Alpha-Males better than Alpha-Females, the answer to that appears rather obvious to me but most people seem to beat around the bush when talking about it. In my experience, people generally are drawn more to people of their own gender over the opposite, as they can relate to them more. So it’s no wonder why Probst as a male would prefer male players more.

    To be frank though, I never really cared about the so called sexism in Survivor, probably because of how much people tend to throw accusations of it and racism around to the point where it loses its importance, which is of course bad for when their actually are cases of it.

    *Prepares himself for inevitable down votes*

    • http://sweetscientist.wordpress.com Pink Pearl

      “Prepares HIMself” …could that be why you’ve never really thought or cared about it?

      • Legionwrex

        Probably. As I said, generally people are more interested in things that relate to them. Seeing as I am not female, it flew under my radar until just recently.

      • Morty

        Ya beat me to it!

      • Gary

        When I read this, I got the line “Everybody hates a tourist. Especially one who thinks it’s all such a laugh” stuck in my head.

    • Sarah Freeman

      I’ve made this same point before. I don’t think Probst is overtly a misogynist. He’s already said this season that he loves Candice as a player, and it’s easy to see why (though she’s had terrible edits in the past).

      Yet I’m not going to stop talking about the issue: if the intent isn’t sexist, but the end result is marginalisation of women, then it’s still a problem.

  • Zachary Zarnett-Klein

    I appreciate Linda’s Point of view, but I do agree that she was pretty wishy-washy throughout the podcast.

  • Tammy L. Nelson

    Of course Survivor is sexist. It wasn’t openly suggested until The Amazon.First, you had the men crowing how they would win everything and when they didn’t, Probst pointed out at TC, hooking up was their focus and not the game.

    My only issue is that female winners don’t get the credit they deserve. Men take each other down, but when a woman wins, they don’t get credit because they don’t play a Russell Hantz type game. An assertive woman will get voted out immediately! That’s true in real life as well as Survivor.

  • Lauren

    I see people calling Linda wishy-washy and I’d like to point out that representing an anti-sexist/feminist perspective requires a lot of identity management. There’s a stereotype that feminists are all angry, emotional and aggressive – is it really so surprising that someone wanting to appear like a ‘rational’ feminist would therefore present a less assertive opinion? Just saying, if she HAD been more assertive, people would be calling her a lot worse than wishy-washy.

    • Morty

      Yeah, I think the fact that she was thoughtful, reasoned, more nuanced, and even a bit ambiguous on occasion made her overall argument MORE credible than had she been dogmatic and doctrinaire. It indicates that she weighs evidence and evaluates both sides of an argument before arriving at a conclusion.

      It’s far, far easier to dismiss an unyielding extremist viewpoint that refuses to acknowledge whatsoever contradictory evidence or observations, regardless of how compelling.

  • Josh Hanson

    Thoughtful, intelligent, “level-1″ podcasting. Not sure whether we have resolved whether Survivor is sexist or not, but I really enjoyed this multifaceted discussion. Nominate this show for a podcast award. Oh, hang on…

  • Not_a_Criminal

    Out of curiosity, if Sophie would have happily participated in the discussion, why didn’t she?

    Look, I like Stephen, and it wasn’t like he sucked it up on this particular podcast, but the topic was sexism on Survivor, and there was no female Survivor player to offer their perspective. We had a female fan and two male Survivor players, and that irks that on such a topic the “panel” was not balanced between genders. I’m sorry, but neither Rob nor Stephen can truly offer a viewpoint from a female contestant’s perspective about sexism on Survivor and I’m sorry that Sophie’s offer to participate and give her perspective was dismissed in favor of Stephen’s participation.

    Otherwise, I thought it was an awesome podcast. I would have enjoyed it that much more with Sophie in Stephen’s place. Sorry, Stephen. This opinion is definitely not personal. As a woman, I wanted a woman contestant’s voice in the discussion for balance.

    • Stephen Fishbach

      i agree that the podcast could have benefited from a woman’s perspective. I shoehorned my way in because I wanted to be a part of the discussion personally, but I do think that it would have been interesting to have a woman Survivor on-hand discuss the issues. I’m not entirely sure that Sophie would have been the right person, given how personally aggrieved she feels by her edit, though maybe that would make her ideal.

      • http://www.wordmisplaced.com/ Sophie Landry

        Glad you were there, but I was surprised genders were not balanced for this topic. If not adding Sophie or another female Survivor player with a strong opinion on the matter, I’m sure any female RHAP blogger who has spoken about sexism – that would be all of them – would have welcomed the opportunity.

    • Stephen Fishbach

      i agree that the podcast could have benefited from a woman’s perspective. I shoehorned my way in because I wanted to be a part of the discussion personally, but I do think that it would have been interesting to have a woman Survivor on-hand discuss the issues.

      • Sarah Freeman

        I agree with the main point, but I also think it’s important not to exclude the male perspective from these kinds of discussions. After all, the goal as I see it is for both genders to understand the issues at hand. I personally appreciated that Stephen called out Linda on a few points from her blog, and I also appreciated that she was able to acknowledge that without distilling her overall message.

        That said, I don’t want this to be the only time RHAP discusses this issue. I’d love to hear Sophie’s point of view–I’d love to hear multiple points of view from *both* genders on the subject.

        • Not_a_Criminal

          Understood, and I certainly don’t think I was implying at all that no men should have been included, but that a female contestant’s perspective as a counterpoint to Rob would have been nice. If I was implying exclusion, shame on me but I”m pretty sure my opinion was towards balance – and balance doesn’t equal excluding men from the conversation.

          • Sarah Freeman

            I didn’t mean to imply that you were implying! I just wanted to make the statement to anybody reading the thread that men *can* converse on the subject.

            (My new wish is for a Linda and Jessica Liese conversation, since they’re both into feminism, Survivor and the Amazing Race… I think we could have quite an interesting comparison of the two shows there.)

          • Not_a_Criminal

            From your fingers to Rob’s inbox! Make it so!

          • dsharden

            Yikes……….the great Sarah Freeman stating “since they’re both into feminism” makes it sound like it a little hobby for Linda and Jessica and lets include these two because they are the only ones with the same interests.
            My bad Sarah, if I misunderstood but I am aiming for a world where women speak up and share, not because they are “feminists” but because they are people.
            Sarah, I love your blogs.

          • Sarah Freeman

            You’re right, that was a really poor choice of wording on my part. I meant that they’ve both previously written on the subject of feminist issues and it’s something they actively try and raise awareness of.

          • http://sweetscientist.wordpress.com Pink Pearl

            Much as I would jump at the chance to take part in such a discussion (though I’d stipulate that you be part of it as well!) I think this particular podcast worked so well because Rob and Stephen are more neutral on the issue and open to digging into the nuances.

            If WE ran the discussion it’d be kind of like preaching to the choir, plus I’m pretty sure a lot of the people who probably SHOULD be thinking about it more would dismiss such a podcast out of hand as ladies talking about lady things. Having Rob run the discussion (and having Stephen in the sidekick role) lent some reality-TV authenticity to it. (Not to mention that Rob is really, really good at interviewing whereas I drive my interview subjects to watch Monday Night Football while they’re talking to me.) Not to say I wouldn’t have loved to see Sophie or another outspoken woman from Survivor or TAR as part of the conversation.

            I really did love the podcast, and I think everyone involved made great contributions to it. I tried to comment as much yesterday morning when I finished listening to the podcast, but either Disqus ate it or someone flagged me as spam.

        • Justin

          Another very interesting person for this subject would be Mario Lanza, from the Funny 115, Survivor Historians Podcast, and the defunct Survivor Central.

          His point of view would be interesting because I would venture that no one has written more words on Survivor than he has, has argued the sexism in Survivor for years (and I’d also venture there are few who know more about the game, the show, the strategy, the editing, and the production of Survivor than Mario), and he has come out openly mocking Linda Holmes’s article. But he does not mock it in his sexist way or in a “Survivor is not sexist way.” His response to the article from early October is linked near the bottom of the comments section by thegreatest and is really worth checking out as he raises many interesting points about sexism and Survivor, its history, and the flaws in Linda’s arguments.

          Either way, I would have loved to have him on this podcast. Next to Sophie Clarke, he would be the one person whose take on the issue would be really fascinating. Despite the fact Mario pretty much despises what Survivor has become and basically refuses to talk much about the modern incarnation, he tweeted he would want to talk about this issue (https://twitter.com/MarioJLanza/status/396882220331188224 ). I imagine even those real into Linda Holmes would enjoy his presence and point of view on the podcast.

          • http://sweetscientist.wordpress.com Pink Pearl

            Mario has a lot of great things to say, I love his writing, and in fact I agree with him far more often than I agree with Linda, but I thought his comments about her article were a little harsh. Splitting hairs like that to point out how wrong she is when he agrees with her fundamentally doesn’t really do much except pit them against each other.

            Also, I really wish he’d give latter-day Survivor more of a chance, because I think his perspective would be a lot more even-handed and insightful if he didn’t hate everything post-All-Stars so much. Mario is one of the few male Survivor writers who’s always been able to pick out sexist tropes and scenes with surgical precision, and he was much more fair to female contestants than some of his contemporaries back when he was recapping.

          • Gary

            Given that they were writing about Survivor around the same time, there is bound to be a “little extra” when it comes to discussing the work of “Miss Alli”,

          • Gary

            I’d also recommend his essay in the “Philosophy of Survivor” book on “How did SHE win?” which covers a lot of that early territory.

        • Morty

          The male Survivor viewpoint was represented…it was Rob.

          I like Stephen, I usually agree with his KIA analysis more than Rob’s, and he did provide strong input on this podcast. That said, I agree that having a smart and thoughtful female Survivor on instead would have been a better way to go for this particular podcast.

          • dsharden

            Again, i also felt Stephen really did “shoehorn” his way in with the “tough” questions. His view of Candice saying ‘LET’S do this” as the same as FUBC barking “THROW IT IN THE FIRE’ was off base. To me it was very different…. This was brought up in the beginning of the podcast made me more aware of Stephen comments and I wasn’t a fan.

      • Gary

        Perhaps Johnny Fairplay could have been asked to participate. Sandra did say that’s he’s “just like a girl”!

      • Gary

        While I agree that Sophie would have been great, I think you did fine Stephen. Rob’s job is to keep the podcast flowing, and you were able to come in with counterpoints to add to the discussion.

    • Dave L

      Hmm, I thought having Stephen on made sense. He’s essentially Rob’s 2nd in command, and the two have good chemistry. Stephen mostly stayed out of the conversation. I think it helped things flow. I’m not sure a 3rd person was necessary at all, but Stephen seemed to understand his role well.

      If this format were to continue, then having a female contestant would make sense, but as a 1-time thing, I think Stephen and Rob were in a good place to keep the podcast flowing and to get Holmes’ opinions, which was the main point of all of this. I saw Stephen as more of a RHAP representative than as a former contestant. This is nothing against Sophie, who is probably my 3rd favorite guest and I hope will be on as a guest this season.

    • dsharden

      I agree…Sophie would have been a much better choice to include….again, sorry Stephen. Rob and Stephen were both kinda on the same page and asked some crazy hypothetical questions that Linda was ….”I don’t know but’….Not because she was not intelligent but because of the phrase of the question. Rob and especially Stephan seemed to want her to speak for all woman or to comment for the entire female contestants.
      Would have loved Sophie.
      Stephen is great on “Know It Alls” and I’m sure he wanted to join, but Rob need to make some difficult decisions on who to include with different podcast.
      Personally, I felt the 2 males with Linda was a little hard core. Not exactly disproving her theory of sexism.

  • Stephen

    I found her point about the eye candy where the male eye candy is generally useful in the challenges compared to the female. They always cast the male and female archetype of the popular kid who is mentally and intellectually way out of their depth. The male version is usually good, or should be good in the challenges (some recent examples: Fabio, Elrod, Jay, Carter, Eddie), whereas the females usually offer nothing but comedy by being laughed at (recent examples from the same seasons: Purple Kelly, Natalie Tenerelli, Kat, Angie, not sure for Caramoan).

    Survivor generally casts types, I mentioned in another podcast there is castaways you see on every season, on top of those two I mentioned there is also (the brackets indicate who they probably wanted to hit the role, but at times someone else may have played the role better)

    Male
    The douche (Benry, Albert, Mike, Pete)
    The older guy who physically hangs with the kids (Tyrone, Grant, Rick, Troyzan, Kent)
    The older guy who drives everyone nuts (Jimmy T, Phillip, Coach, Tarzan, not sure for Philippines)
    The guy around 30 who thinks he’s a strategic mastermind (Sash, David, Jim, Matt Quinlan)
    The older guy who will potentially do well in all aspects (Marty, Steve, No idea for SP, Skupin, Mike Snow)
    guy in his mid twenties who had dreamed of being on the show since he was 10 (Cochran, Colton, Malcolm)

    Female
    Southern Belle (Krista, Whitney, Chelsea, Andrea (they stuck her in Plaid in Caramoan and billed her as the farm girl))
    The Firecracker (Na’onka, Stephanie Valencia, Alicia, Abi-Maria, Allie)
    Pageant Girl/Model (Brenda in Nic, Ashley Underwood, Elyse, Hope)
    More confident young woman (Alina, RI Andrea, Sophie, Kim, RC, Brenda in Caramoan)
    Mothering older woman (Holly, Dawn, Monica, Lisa Welchel)
    Physically tough older woman (Jill, Kristina, Christine, Nina, Sherri)
    Lippy woman (Jane, Francesca, Stacy, Sabrina, Roxy?, Corinne)

    The difference between the Firecracker and Lippy woman, the Lippy woman gives people a little attitude but generally seems aware of it and can try to keep it under control (they go into the game saying their mouth will get them in trouble), the firecracker goes to pieces at the drop of a hat, and generally seems completely unaware how they are perceived.

    Probst has his favourite archetypes and it is obvious. The older guys who can hang physically he loves (see also, Tom, Terry), the younger superfan male he loves, and the middle aged guy who drives everyone nuts is one that he loves. There are no female groups that jump out as one that he loves, and I feel the ones who are cast to do well generally do not make the greatest TV and the ones who make the good TV generally do not do well at the game.

    • Mike Magas

      I do have to ask the question if its sexist that the female eye candy doesn’t do well vs. the male eye candy on the part of the game specifically

      If you think that the game casts people to represent society its more a reflection on society, the male eye candy is eye candy often do to fitness, muscles and athletic ability, all attribute of a challenge asset.

      The female in contrast is eye candy because of a pretty face, big boobs and a slim figure. Why this doesn’t preclude them from being good at challenges, numerous examples can be provided of the sexy girl being a challenge beast (Parvati, Stephanie Lagrossa, Amanda Kimmel, Andrea Bohlke) none of their sex appeal attribute guarantee it (neither do the males as there have been sexy busts as well but being strong and fit tends to be an asset), ie big boobs aren’t challenge useful and are if anything a hindrance.

      So is the eye candy casting the game being sexist or simply reflecting elements of society?

      • http://www.wordmisplaced.com/ Sophie Landry

        On the surface, it’s 1 male eye candy for 1 female eye candy, but I don’t think Survivor is reflective enough of the social discourse and eye candy diversity out here upfront. There’s more than one kind of female eye candy in our workplaces, even the ones where sexism has a strong presence.

        The definition of each category is where it all goes awry (could it be because of a gender imbalance in executive positions within Survivor…?). It seems to me that the male eye candy comes in more forms than its female counterparts. For example, Yul, Marcus, Earl and Vytas are a more intellectual form of eye candy to which there are few if any intentional female equivalents. Although Kim, Parvati, Dani and Andrea are all highly intelligent, I suspect their intellects were a happy accident and not at least half of the reason why they were cast.

        • Trixie02

          Misty Giles is an electrical/computer engineer. Marisa Calihan worked with impoverished children in other countries. Tracy Hughes-Wolf is a residential builder. Monica Padilla is a lawyer.

          There are some very beautiful women who were cast not only for their looks, but the Angie, Heidi, Kat, Natalie T, types persist.

          • Mike Magas

            though if we are talking about the dumb female stereotype we have to look at the flip side of the male coin

            There have been DUMB MALES and this is a point that seems ignored, almost every season has a guy who I look at and say, you bring nothing to this game but maybe challenge ability and sex appeal.

            This season lacked that guy but I view the whole loved ones season as a bit of a 1 off thus some of the general problems exist but just to run through.

            Caramoan – Eddie
            Phillipines – Carter
            One World – Frankly the entire 4 rooster alliance, I had some hope for Jay but the rest were very much throw aways to me
            South Pacific – Kieth
            Redemption Island – Matt Elrod and Grant Mattos (Both delivered something to me but the initial reaction I had was this)

            I’ll end there but I’ll say the number of season without a male player who my interest is in no way peaked is very small.

          • http://www.wordmisplaced.com/ Sophie Landry

            Maybe it’s me being cynical, but I’m not convinced the casting criteria was much different from group 1 to group 2 despite a gap in professional backgrounds.

          • Trixie02

            You might be correct, but the first group played respectably IMO. I must admit it has been a while since I’ve seen some of those seasons. Marisa was doubtful of Russell Hantz and was a first boot. Misty was booted because she was thought to have an idol and poor performance. Monica was booted because she was not in Russell’s alliance. Tracy was an outcast on the Fans tribe although she eventually built the shelter.

            Those women actually played. They didn’t use their looks to coast by as sheep on the beach. The latter group followed blindly.

            At least casting has tried to find pretty women in professional fields in past seasons. They generally don’t make it far. These days, it’s back to useless sunbathers. At least in the Philippines Angie didn’t go far nor did the blonds in Caramoan.

          • http://www.wordmisplaced.com/ Sophie Landry

            I really hope I’m not though… I totally agree, they were not about their looks and fought the tide. Same for Nina Acosta. Julie Wolfe I’d like to see again. I wonder who got asked to return from your A group when Survivor faced not having enough “colorful women characters”? There seems to be plenty.

            It’s frustrating to keep seeing women who pride themselves on more than their appearance being booted out early – with a few exceptions. I wish Monica had been brought back solely based on her potential/merit and not marriage, but I’m appreciating her not being a wallflower.

            At the same time, I’m the last person who wants to dislike a younger woman and I wish Survivor would pause and wait a few years with sunbathers and go for more players like Andrea and Marissa.

            Allie Pohevitz I saw a bit differently after her FB rant over the reunion show. Feisty. I just realised she now works for casting at Survivor according to her FB profile…!

        • Mike Magas

          I disagree with this. In the end when producing a show you give the audience what it wants to be successful.

          My point isnt that survivor is devoid of sexist ideas or that is doesnt exist, my point is it reflects the audience.

          If the female audience wasn’t into a man with a 6 pack, massive biceps and such, then dumb guys like that would not be cast, they would have no casting value.

          Similarly, if the male viewership stops finding big boobs appealing, dumb girls with big boobs will probably phase out.

          My point in the end is when adding eye candy to the show you add what works. The sure fire way to get guys to watch is girl who looks good in a bikini. I know guys who watch because of that and their interest fades as the girls start to get gross, they do not care for their minds really.

          In contrast I can’t name a female friend of mine who watches because of that hot guy. The females i watch with for example quickly found Eddie annoying and did not watch to watch him but found guys like Malcolm to be more compelling because of their mind.

          LIke I said, I’m not saying this isn’t sexist casting, I’m saying this reflects society’s appetites and somewhat find the idea that survivor is sexist when it really is a mirror of society.

          • Ron

            But the flaw in that logic is that we’ve seen (at least anecdotally) that Probst, as exec producer, makes decisions based on what he likes, not based on what the audience wants.

            In my fantasy, the podcast would have featured a dialog between Holmes and Probst.

          • Mike Magas

            oh I believe Probst’s ideas and preferences have a BIG role in the issues of survivor but if he really wasn’t in tune with the audience, they would be ignored.

            This is a show about views if you put a great show to you together and it doesn’t get views, you have failed. A great example is the planned show borealis, I loved the concept and the pilot movie but i failed.

            My point is if Probst was solidly wrong and not in tune with what the public wanted, the show would fail. He’s only listened to in so far as it works and thats the case with any producer really.

          • http://www.wordmisplaced.com/ Sophie Landry

            I think you may be underestimating the audience. Jeff Probst and Survivor could engage us at a deeper level by upgrading the casting criteria of young attractive females to more than hot bikini holder. That’s just one example. Re. “dumb males”, most on your list brought potentially more to the table than Trixie02′s list of Angie, Heidi, Kat and Natalie T IMO.

            Big boobs and brains are not mutually exclusive. Expose viewers consistently to more of the two together – as well as a balanced range of contestants – and our taste will evolve. I can’t imagine someone would switch the TV off because a hot female Survivor happens to also be sharp and/or have presence.

            Survivor has a unique platform to be a force of change if it wants to. I personally would like this great show to be more ambitious than to just mirror our society.

            Ratings have been on a soft decline for a while. Maybe what works needs a rethink.

          • Mike Magas

            ok what do the guys im listing bring on a deeper level? and im talking first impressions here the meet the cast video because I admitted that some DID bring more depth but the same can be said of some bikini fodder as well

            as for they can find better women I agree, I know girls who look great in bikinis and also happen to be smart and we have seen some (Kim Spradlin, RC (Questionable player but some brainpower), Brenda Lowe, etc) but if you are not involved in casting you really don’t know how hard it is to see those and if they are necessarily auditioning

            Like I said perfect world casting is much different but my argument is we are commenting on a process we do not witness nor understand the restrictions of so how can we say they are not making the effort?

          • http://www.wordmisplaced.com/ Sophie Landry

            I sincerely hope you’re right and they are going to campuses, athletic events, etc. Indeed I wouldn’t know. It could be the audition process. American Idol seems to reach a wider range of applicants in their early 20′s. This season shows greater creativity with casting so fingers crossed it continues.

            Here’s roughly what I thought first for those contestants:

            Eddie: Survivor must be hoping for Tom Westman v2.
            Carter: Must have some leadership skills when I read he was a track coach.
            One World – Matt’s strong personality might create drama, Michael, alpha male #2 (agree with you, not memorable), Bill I thought well cast, different, school of hard knocks, Jay, male fashion model, reverse typecasting which singled him out, I was curious.
            Keith: looks + pacemaker. Could be a story.
            Matt Elrod: his faith resonated with many viewers. I can’t fault the casting, he could’ve attracted a different market.
            Grant Mattos: NFL training – game intelligence and discipline. These NFL/MLB guys are always interesting to me, but I’d like to see as many pro female athletes of that stature. Ok, he looked good too.

            Re. Angie, Heidi, Kat and Natalie T, the eternal return of the same one dimension IMO. Interchangeable though Heidi surprised me. My point is cast equally attractive female contestants with more substance. There must be other Andreas wanting to play Survivor.

          • Mike Magas

            If you thought Eddie was Tom Westman 2.0 we are just not
            going to see eye to eye lol, yes both are fire fighters but Tom was much
            further in life in all respects and was a compeletely different demographic,
            you just stereotyped firefighters really

            Carter meh, I can’t argue with you but having been on high school and college
            teams, the leadership skills to be a coach are really exaggerated, being a good
            coach takes skill just a coach less so

            Matt and Michael created drama yes but through male doucheness and stupidity
            and maybe its a guy thing but I could read it from the start. Women don’t like
            being reflected as bimbos, guys dont like being reflected as meathead
            douchebags to be blunt gender roles cut both ways. Bill I thought was too light
            hearted but I see your point, Jay mildly sold me by actually talking about
            strategy though the male model made him probably cast for eye candy

            Kieth, I didn’t see but if you did I’ll take your word for it

            Matt Elrod granted had the whole christian thing going

            Grant though ur off on and to be fair football fans know this and its probably
            not obvious to everyone else, Grant was a practice roster guy known for a lack
            of focus who’s hopes in the NFL were over (its the closest we will get to a pro
            athlete in his prime though)

            Though I do have to point out Ashley from RI was a pro basketball player so we
            aren’t without female pro athletes

            Something that is ignored is the male gender role as well, yes the bimbo is
            probably worse as they dont always have challenge strength to back them up but
            you don’t think its offensive for most males viewers to watch the meathead
            douches they cast as reflections of men?

          • http://www.wordmisplaced.com/ Sophie Landry

            We’re almost saying the same thing btw. To clarify re. Eddie, I am not stereotyping firefighters and if you believe I am, it could not be more positive. I have a lot of respect for anyone who puts their life on the line every day for others. Tom and Eddie have that in common (and not much else as we learned).

            You wrote “im talking first impressions” – that’s not hindsight to me and I try hard to give Survivor the benefit of the doubt. It would have been easy to think meathead/hunk about Eddie and leave it at that which I almost did, but I read firefighter and thought maybe Survivor knows something I don’t know and were hoping he would show qualities similar to Tom’s. I’m not gonna assume that young man = not a substantial human being.

            I’m sure you’re right about Grant, I do not watch enough NFL to know him well as a player but he got there and not many do. Steve said he was a ‘one-man wrecking crew’. For his athleticism and likability alone, I thought he was good casting. Anyone who’s close to a pro athlete in his prime or slightly past it, to me and that’s just me, is worth casting. Abby Wambach is on my dream list and a hockey player like Sean Avery could be fun to watch.

            Love Ashley and Crystal (even though she was terrible at challenges). I would just like to see as many women as men when it comes to this category of player.

            I fully agree that sexism goes both way and can think of male players male friends of mine were particularly offended by. I agree Jay was probably cast for his looks and that’s as offensive as Angie being cast. He probably will never get the credit he deserves but he had other assets and she had so very few. I wish absolutely nobody got cast solely based on looks.

            Out of curiosity, what’s your view on Brad?

          • Mike Magas

            Brad I think had promise as a character and a player, a character because he had aloud personality and this in many ways delivered. The player I thought would come into play was the lockerroom leader, the guy the other guys would rally around a bit. To an extent he did this, while it wasn’t shown apparently Vytas, Hayden and John enjoyed hearing some gridirons stories and being able to dude it out, his issue seemed to be when he tried to be more than that, when he tried to be the strategist, he got himself in trouble

            In the end, good on paper, good in practice is some ways but too grand in his plans.

          • http://www.wordmisplaced.com/ Sophie Landry

            That’s what I expected and saw too. I thought he was brilliant casting and should return. His approach excluded women and has made this forum buzz all season which is great, but did you not think that it also reflected poorly on men?

          • Mike Magas

            I do believe some of what he did can certainly be seen as sexist and thus negative for males but taking into account his background as a football player you can see the strategic sense in the matter.

            As a football player, Brad is quite used to alpha type males, a team generally has more than its fair share thus his ability to understand them, work with them, bond with them and predict them is significantly higher than with other types of people. It is in essence his best bet alliance.

            His downfall came from basically 2 things, he went out of his skills zone when he voted out John trying to be too big of a player and of course got bitten by the male he understood the least, Caleb.

            I wouldn’t want to see him again just because my general stance is no pre merge boots coming back and he adds some fire to the sexist argument flames but I would say he was a good cast on paper and thats all casting can do really.

            For example Rick in SP was suppose to be gold and was boring as heck. You really can’t tell how people will react and act.

          • dsharden

            If your female friends watching with you told you Malcolm “was compelling because of his mind” were maybe not so truthful……… It was his looks at first. And, Eddie was annoying and not as good looking as Malcolm.

          • Mike Magas

            oh they didn’t lie and say it wasn’t because he was sexy, but he transcended the sex symbol that most male survivors do not

          • dsharden

            Ok…Got it. Thanks for clarification. he is one of those that went beyond the eye candy.

          • Mike Magas

            no problem, its not overly hard to read into their likes when you watch every week with them lol

      • Trixie02

        Eddie was just eye candy. Ibrahim and Osten had great physiques but little athleticism. I’d say the same for James.

        Male models are often fitness models. Some are gaunt runway models. Female models tend to be very thin but not necessarily athletic. In early seasons like Thailand, the “hot” girls (Erinn) covered up more. I think Jenna and Heidi broke that wall down. Their popularity might have started casting people in the bikini clad roles. Prior to the Amazon, I don’t recall anyone who was simply eye candy. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

        You can be cast in a role but no one forces you to play it up. Danni, Sydney, Misty, and Marissa were all very beautiful women who offered more than looks alone.

        • damnbueno

          James was very athletic. One of his best moments came in FvF1 when he first flipped Erik on his head after Erik bumped into Amanda. Later, he was able to defend two people at once in the same “Put two heavy bags in your end of the lagoon” challenge.

          While James never did much in the individual challenges, he was a lot more useful in tribal challenges than Ibrehim or Osten.

          But I agree he was most likely cast for his eye candy factor.

          • Mike Magas

            he was a grave digger though, I imagine the production expected more than just eye candy from him

          • dsharden

            I agree on eye candy factor. I fell in “love” with him….So disappointed in FvF when he did nothing!

        • Mike Magas

          not saying people have to obey the stereotype just pointing something out.

          People suggest survivor is sexist in how they cast their eye candy but the definition of eye candy is made by the audience not the producters (basically they cant say this is sexy this isnt sexy if they aren’t in tune with what is sexy).

          Male sexy tends to be athletic, female sexy doesnt necessarily translate in the same way.

          Male athletes are sex symbols in some cases, female ahtletes are not.

          If women started to find skinny, nerdy guys sexy they would become the eye candy.

          If men started thinking bodybuilding women were eye candy then that would also change.

          I’m saying its not survivor that is the source of the sexism in this, its society as a whole.

          • Trixie02

            I agree. I think after The Amazon, a shift started. Jenna and Heidi received a lot of attention for their antics. I think they were the first to lounge around suntanning.

          • Justin

            The Amazon is one of my top three favorite Survivor seasons, but that is an incredibly sexist season. From the way Tambaqui is shown oogling the women to the way only the women are objectified, there is a lot of sexist stuff there.

            Of course I suppose a counter to that is a theme of the season is “never underestimate the power of a woman,” the guys shown underestimating the women all lose, and in the first episode Jenna had a confessional about wanting to win just to stick it to the guys.

          • Trixie02

            Jenna, Heidi and Shawna exploited themselves as well. The older women were quite taken aback with their strategy.

            Jenna’s win was a double-edged machete for women.

          • Mike Magas

            I believe Thailand had some suntanning, but it was done by in the end minor characters thus it wasn’t shown as much whereas Jenna won the game and Heidi played a big role so it was the first time it was very in your face

          • Trixie02

            I know Erinn has said that once she was aware of being seen as the “hot chick” she wore more clothes. The women did sun but weren’t necessarily playing up to cameras.

          • Mike Magas

            I imagine true but also its a production decision when you think about it.

            Let’s say survivor was more family oriented and people werent as guaranteed to tolerate that kind of sexual play up (and I was quite young at the time but this seems to jive with my memory) at the time of thailand and amazon

            It’s a lot easier to ignore an erin sun bathing because in the end her impact on the game is minimal. Same with a Penny or a Stephanie from Thailand. In the end the final 5 were from Chuay Ghan and only 2 of them were under 40 so they probably weren’t sunbathing and if they were its not something anyone wanted to see.

            In amazon, you have the winner doing it, the most influential male (rob) being part of it along with to an extent Alex and Matt who also had biggish roles to play and Heidi who also had a big role to play so you have to look at what those players are doing since they effect the story in a big way and heidi and jenna seemed to play it up more.

            So a combination of to me anwyways, major characters being involved and playing it up.

            And since then survivor realised in the aftermath you could generate ratings from sexy women (and to a lesser extent men) and its been a crutch since.

          • Trixie02

            Good point. The exposure (no pun intended) generated by Heidi and Jenna after Survivor was huge as well.

          • Mike Magas

            It was the turning point, WAIT PEOPLE AREN”T OFFENDED BY MOSTLY NAKED WOMAN!? this is gold lol

          • Lauren

            It’s correct to say that Survivor is reflexive to social discourse; literally everything on TV is. However, it should not be a free pass to allow them to perpetuate it. Media representation is such an important part of creating new subjectivities for individuals. Why can’t they break away from social discourse and do something new and different with all the ‘characters’ going forward?

          • Mike Magas

            The characters have to do it though. Survivor Production team doesn’t put a gun to Brad Culpepper’s head and say you have to vote off the outspoken woman to continue our sexist ideas

            They don’t put a gun to the audience’s head and say you must hate Dawn for turning on the woman who found her teeth

            They can’t force us to universally like Candice

            People want to believe Survivor’s Production team has a larger grasp on the control of the game then they do. If a character isn’t very smart and plays into the stereotypical bimbo then that is waht will be shown. If a character is a bitch then that is what will be shown.

            As far as casting better women, better women have to want to go on the show and the other women have to not let men run the early part of the game. And most importantly people have to want to watch it.

            Till society sees changes, I don’t think you’ll see a tremendous change in survivor.

      • Stephen

        It does reflect society I guess. I guess if you polled women between a guy built like Erik and a guy built like Reynold and asked which one is better looking, the Reynold build will probably win. But if you polled men between the skinnier girl and the body building woman, the skinny girl probably wins. However a lot of the female eye candy they cast is completely useless in the game. Watch Jeff’s cast assessments, and count how many times he says “so and so should not be out here, I should have told them not to come,” about women and about men. I don’t work in central casting, but I am sure there are plenty of good looking women who come through who are up to the game and will satisfy the eye candy quota.

        Of the women you mentioned, I think Steph and Andrea were cast as potential players, Amanda and Parvati probably surprised, although Parvati on her first try wasn’t too different to a lot of the eye candy cannon fodder.

        • Mike Magas

          I agree that casting should be better but I’m also pointing out why male eye candy isnt as useless as female eye candy (in general) what makes the guy sexy in part is what makes him a challenge beast potentially, what makes the girl sexy is frankly useless.

          • Stephen

            I 100% agree with you. And even if hot guy is useless in challenges (Eddie) they still get kept around because they should be good.

  • dsharden

    I am anxious to listen to the podcast later today. I have been a fan of Linda Holmes for awhile and love the NPR Pop Culture Happy Hour. Lots of fun! Usually a panel of 4-5 with great insight. Just wanted to give heads up to all podcast voters out here, that her “Pop Culture Happy Hour “is up for best cultural/art podcast. Please vote for this when you cast your daily vote to RHAP………

  • Ron

    Thank you for doing this podcast. I’ve read Linda Holmes/Miss Alli’s work for many years, and have seen her write on this issue many times. Her take on the Richard Hatch/Sue Hawk incident in All-Stars (which I recently re-read) was very sharp. I know you’ll never get Probst to talk seriously about these issues, but it would be interesting to hear what he would say in an unfiltered setting.

  • Matthew Bok

    I’m about half way through the podcast and I have to say that it bothers me, but not in the way that it’s supposed to. The point that there is sexism on survivor is true, but the knife cuts both ways. There are men that are brought on the show purely for their appearance, and some of them get little “voice” airtime.

    I thought the example of bringing Sophie back was an interesting one, because it bolsters my assertion that it cuts both ways. I loved Sophie on her season and thought she was getting a raw deal from people who gave her a hard time. Outside of the game and on RHAP it showed the opposite to be true. She is very anti-male. Her outright dismissal and damning of Malcolm being a sexist based on no evidence points to this. She comes off as very sexist, but is raised as an ideal person to come back.

    Regarding the inequity of bringing females back as part of the few returning players (as opposed to all-star or half/half seasons). If they did bring back a Ceri or a Shambo they would be nothing but cannon fodder and this would further fan the flames of sexism. All of the men that have been brought back have been challenge people who also were pointed out as people who have the experience with shelter building, etc. If someone is not a challenge dominator the value they would be adding for taking a spot that newbs could see better filled with a fellow newb and they would be gone quickly.

    Lastly there were a couple of things that were said that also bothered me. Referring to someone as a puss or a pussy would be considered the height of sexism coming from a male. Coming from a female it serves the purpose of perpetuating inequity of the sexes. Also, one of the things I talked about in a previous post is how men seen crying is demeaned. This was done again here, referring to Russell.

    Sexism exists but if you dare to stand on a soapbox about it you should make sure your own house is in order regarding it.

    • Mike Magas

      Very good point here, thinking with my if i was on survivor cap on and say Kim and Sophie came back, would I really want to play with them?

      In reality while both are strong athletes and seemed to work around camp they aren’t massive challenge difference makers, this is part of what made them successful in their first runs but makes it hard for them as returners.

      You’d have 2 strategic thinking players who have won. Their threat level is high and their usefulness is compared to say Mike Skupin low. I would probably want to vote them off maybe not first since they are strong but pretty damn early.

      I think this is something the calls for female returners really ignore that in a 1 returner scenario the returner does get targeted early and only through leading the tribe in challenges and at camp really overcomes this. Especially if they are the female these people seem to want (the Kim/Sophie type), they really won’t deliver on this very narrow success band.

      I’d still like to see it tried and hope I’m wrong. But really thinking as a survivor do I want to play against and with Kim or Sophie? No I really don’t, and I imagine a number of people they would be playing with would have the same thought.

      • Amanda Rabinowitz

        I don’t think that the fact that new players may not want to play with returning Survivors influences the casting decisions. Do you think that many new Survivor players would be jazzed to hear that they were playing with Russell Hantz? How about Coach?

        Kim was the leader of her tribe, and there’s no reason to assume that she would not be able to do that again. Kim and Sophie are both very useful in challenges.

        Furthermore, given some of the random selection of returnees (a la Russell Swan, Penner, and Skupin; or Coach vs. Ozzy, as if those two players have any relationship to each other) there are number of other female players that could be brought back. How about Abbi vs RC, Eliza vs Andrea, Holly vs. Mikayla.

        • Mike Magas

          I’m not denying both have challenge strength its just not the wow we have to keep you kind (see Ozzy)

          It didn’t seem either were influential in establishing camp (see boston rob)

          and we keep hearing how people dont respond to strong leader females in survivor yet we think kim or sophie could lead a mixed tribe easily?

          And I think how they will do is a factor, The plot device of the returning player is to give the audience someone they are immediately invested in or at least know. If they last 1 episode its largely a bust.

          As for the choices made:
          Boston Rob vs, Russell
          This was about bad blood and settling what started in HvV, keep in mind Russell meant views back then, we hate on him now but Russell centric episodes did better ratings that previous ones or post ones. Now that could be people praying to god he loses and gets voted out but they are still watching.

          Coach vs. Ozzy
          I grant you this one sucks. Ozzy back sure, hes fun to watch, he will last while because he brings great challenge assets and is a minimal long term threat if you can just beat him at 1 immunity. Coach was a bad idea that somehow ended up a good one, go figure. But I file this under the people will watch to see Coach be nuts and then get voted off.

          And the medevacs returnees had to happen at some point, people did want to see skupin again and penner not really Russell but you needed a third med evac who fit a similar role.

          My point is casting does what it does to get you to turn in. If this is watching for Coach to fail they will do it. Sure Kim vs. Sophie may have a great premier episode but allow me to present a rather likley scenario.

          Tribe Sophie turns against Sophie because some her comments about men post survivor have really come off as sexist and her challenge value doesnt trump her strategic threat level.

          Tribe Kim says Kim we love you and are fans but you will probably beat us long term and again turn against her.

          The stunt casting basically fails at that point.

          • Amanda Rabinowitz

            I’m not convinced that this is more of an issue with female than male returning players. I think that is an empirical question that could only be answered by casting female returnees as team captains.

            The truth is that when you only cast one stunt player per tribe, you are running the risk that they are voted out early and stunt casting fails. It’s a huge gamble for male and female players alike. The only example we have a female team captain is Stefanie from Guatemala, who made it all the way to final tribal. So I’m not so sure that female returnees are, by nature, more likely to get booted early.

          • Mike Magas

            well lets look at the stephanie casting for possible pros and cons.

            now first lets look at how stephanie was precieved as a player. She was coming off her last member of the tribe standing, a superb challenge asset who really didn’t display any advanced game play during Palau, she played how she should when with a bunch of chest pounding southern males, she played somewhat submissive and proved her worth in the challenges.

            To add to this, she was placed on a tribe that at first glance seemed weaker. Nakum had big muscles in Blake, Bobby Jon and Brandon along with a big dude in Judd and some athletic looking girls, Yaxha had Jamie, 2 kinda frail looking guys, an old dude (yes he was a former NFL Player but he hid that), 2 older ladies who looked lacklustre and 2 beanpole girls.

            Despite her high challenge value and precieved minimal strategic threat when her tribe lost 3 members of it still targeted her (Jamie, Morgan and Brianna) as a returning player who had to go, cooler heads prevailed she stayed.

            She was then further saved by Brianna being useless in challenges and apparently not pleasant to be around along with knowing lydia was also weak in challenges and amy had hurt herself.

            At the tribe switch she was still needed both for numbers and challenge ability, at the merge she had ingrained herself (to be clear if Kim and Sophie make the merge I think they are fine the challenge is getting there).

            So a challenge asset with minimal game threat was still targetted and got somewhat fortunate on the makeup of her tribe, ie they needed her or felt they did.

            I think we see more pitfalls, I wouldn’t be opposed to trying it but I what I’m trying to bring up is there are some problematic issues that have to be looked at for casting.

            The other thing that really sticks to me is people want female winners to come back but the returning players (male or female) have never been winners.

            Only twice has survivor brought back winners, all stars and hvv so my argument immediately becomes if they dont bring back winners, you have to propose females who did not win.

          • Amanda Rabinowitz

            There are two winners on this season. I’ve suggested non-winners as well. I’m not a huge fan of the “team captain” casting scheme any way. But you could also make the case that Ozzy and Coach were early targets and had to fight and prove their worth to stay on the tribe. Penner also had to wheel and deal to evade vote out on his season.

            One of the reasons that people suggest Kim and Sophie so frequently goes right to the heart of the issue– Survivor has a problem with under-developing their female players.

          • Mike Magas

            This season yes has winners but im talking the mixed seasons (yes this one is mixed but its loved so its a bit of a weird one to handle)

            Ozzy did have to struggle to prove it but he had a magical wand really, I’m a challenge beast and my strategy sucks. Coach as well had a magic wand, I can lead at camp, people will instantly pick me as the leader cause I insist on it, im reasonably good at challenges and crazy basically I’m the perfect shadow for a player like Sophie.

            Most actual winners really can’t use these, they can’t say their strategy sucks, they won, they can’t say they make a great shadow, they won.

            Now if we could find 2 challenge useful ladies (because regardless of gender the returning player cant be the challenge weak link, the immediate trouble is too much) who did not win then maybe we have the makings of a returnee season (since the multiple returnees season have women thus can’t be where we are talking about a lack of female returners)

          • Amanda Rabinowitz

            Someone else on this thread has already put of a list of female players that they would like to see return. Here are some suggestions that I can think of. You could take issue with individual choices, but I NEVER thought that Survivor would bring back Ozzy again– talk about diminishing returns. Chelsea, Mikayla, RC, Ashley Underwood, Abi Maria (she was weak on her season, but it’s clear that she had a serious injury that was not reported), Amanda, Taj, Erinn, Natalie Bolton, Eliza, Michelle Yi, Candice, Michelle Yi

          • Mike Magas

            some of these interest me though id leave abi off (yes an acl is a very serious injury but her first impression is still a challenge liability whos a bit of a bitch, thats an early boot and im just not intrigued to see her plya again)

            I could deal with Chelsea vs. Ashley though, both are physical fit ladies who wouldn’t immediately get a weak label, I do see a pitfall for both, Chelsea made a bad impression on people of both genders which could really be an issue for a returner and Ashley was labeled lazy at camp (now I know camplife isn’t nearly as important as it was early on but part of the advantage of the returning player is they jump start the camp something Ashley probably can’t do thus leading to some disappointment)

            There are other combos i’d be behind, RC could be interesting, Amanda certainly, taj i think has the rich person stigma that makes me say no to but id still watch it, erinn id have to say no to same with natalie, neither was overly strong in challenges or around camp and both have some social limitations, same with Eliza.

            I WOULD LOVE IF MICHELLE YI CAME BACK, one of the most screwed survivors ever and so cute and fun to watch (yes I realize im pulling an eye candy card but she had a lot of game potential too)

            Candice i would have said no to prior to this season, too floppy and hard to trust but marriage seems to have given her a stronger confidence and stable core that could make her a deadly player.

          • Amanda Rabinowitz

            I was instantly a big fan of Michelle Yi. She got a raw deal her first time out, and I’d love to see her again.

          • Mike Magas

            agreed

            For some reason Danielle Di Lorenzo vs. Amanda Kimmel is sticking in my head as a good idea

        • cameron

          Abi and RC have made it clear they won’t play on a season that the other is also on.

          Eliza and Andrea would just be a little too far. They actually hate each other as people, not just tv characters.

          I do believe there are some possible survivor women who would be good suits. Sandra v Franny for one lol (2 time winner; 2 time first boot).

          I think some strong veterans could also be ‘leaders’ like Steph was in S11, such as Amanda.

    • Dave L

      If I remember correctly, she didn’t refer to somebody as a puss, she was saying that other people were doing that. Which makes a world of a difference.

      I’ve heard it said before that Sophie was anti-male (mostly by men I’d imagine) but I’ve never seen that. She just seems to be an intelligent woman that speaks her mind and doesn’t highly worry about tact (the latter 2 being qualities that many men have). Interestingly I would say that it’s sexism itself that leads many men to call a strong woman that speaks her mind as anti-male. And also in her defense, a lot of men (especially alpha T.V. personalities) are blowholes.

      • Matthew Bok

        The exact quote was, “At the very least they’re the same. At the very least the guy is doing the same thing she did. And still her husband gets the response of like, you know, you’re a puss.” I still think it’s questionable phrasing from someone that is speaking about sexism.

        About Sophie. “I really think the bros are a threat to win it. As much as I think they are assholes, I think they’re fooling everyone else….I think the problem with Malcolm is he’s this bro who like played football at Dartmouth and he’s pretty well spoken so he puts on this facade of being a strategic genius…but it’s just not there. There’s not strategic genius to be found…I’m not anti-Malcolm I just think that with all the unwarranted unearned praise he’s getting…It was the obvious play for an idiot. I thought he was going to be this great cerebral player that would be fun to play with. Both Malcolm and Albert give off that air of being that person, but it’s just because they’re well spoken, and they’re slick. And beneath all that is there really any meat? And I think neither of them have meat….frat boy culture…part of Malcolm’s motivation are this like ‘I’m a frat boy, and like hey, yo, Malcolm hottie, throw me your idol dude.” They probably like stroke each other’s hair. Frat, frat, frat….(ding marry kill question) I’d kill Malcolm. Malcolm for be is too broey. I have issue with his broeyness. I think Malcolm, just because he went to Dartmouth, is able to hide his broeyness.”

        She went on and on about his fratty and broeyness based purely on speculation, blindly disliking him for characteristics she thinks he has that has never been displayed.

        • Morty

          You are really grasping at straws with the “puss” remark. She was attributing it to what she believed to be Probst’s thoughts on the matter, as in Probst seemed to be suggesting John is what he would see as a “puss.”
          I agree with her.

          Even if she wasn’t, so what? People are complex and flawed by nature, so if a thoughtful, smart, and reasoned person lets slip an utterance here and there that could be interpreted by some as possibly being at odds with that person’s own worldview, does that mean that person’s worldview is somehow nullified?

          I’ll freely admit to imperfection and being guilty of garden-variety sexist remarks and behavior at times…not often or egregiously, I hope…but I’m also thoroughly convinced that there is indeed an aura of sexist/low-level misogyny that permeates and undercuts the world of Survivor. Does the fact of the former make my views on the latter meaningless?

        • Dave L

          Yes, thanks for clarifying, the comment was actually as I remember. She was saying that Probst was calling him that. Which was true. Let’s put it to a real test. Were any women offended by that?
          I don’t see anything anti-male about her opinion of Malcolm. It’s an opinion I largely agree with btw, although I don’t think she gives him enough credit for his preparation going in.
          She’s a woman with an opinion. While many would prefer those women to be confined to the kitchen, others would prefer them to share those opinions. And please don’t call me offensive for saying “confined to the kitchen”.

          • http://www.wordmisplaced.com/ Sophie Landry

            Surprised but not offended. I thought she would mitigate the risk of perpetuating a negative connotation. When she didn’t, I hoped her point and stance which were clear to me wouldn’t be lost. What I find offensive is Jeff Probst appearing to think precisely what Linda described.

        • Trixie02

          I think this may have been after an episode in which Malcolm was boasting how he often lies to women. It seems a bit like a frat boy comment. Eddie was on the island to hook up and Dawn claimed Reynold regularly made chauvinistic remarks.

          Call me shallow.I enjoyed the three amigos.

          Sophie attended Middlebury, a little ivy. Her problems with Malcolm, Cochran and Stephen probably stem from the fact that they attended actual ivy league schools.

    • dsharden

      I’m unsure that writing a blog post is standing ‘on a soapbox’……but I appreciate you looking out from your glass house.

      • Matthew Bok

        I realize the “soapbox” comment maybe was a little harsh and that was not my intent, but you work for NPR. That is definitely a forum
        where you have a guaranteed audience. I believe your premise is solid, but I think your corroborating evidence is flawed.

        You talk about people that don’t get airtime, but exclude counter examples. A prime example is Rick from Redemption Island. By all accounts he was very well like and was hilarious. He got less than five confessionals for the entire season and he was in it almost until the end. Some people just don’t fit the shape of the season, and the arc that the team puts together. Purple Kelly didn’t get airtime purely because of how she went out. If she hadn’t quit she would have gotten more. It was “punishment” for lack of a better term.

        For returning players, there are two things, one of which I covered before, but the other is ratings draw. Who would make viewers turn in? Parv would, but she would be targeted immediately. Would Sophie? Probably not. Kim Spradlin? Maybe, but she would be targeted immediately also. Bringing back Boston Rob, Coach, Ozzy, etc. is more likely to make people tune in than bringing back Cirie, Amanda, Sue Hawk, etc.

        Going back to previous seasons, Eddie, Jay, Matt, Michael, and the list goes on of people who had shallow edits that were male eye candy. Eddie is probably the most obvious as his edit was all about the women.

        I think the bigger issue is how gay people are cast. If you look across the CBS big three most of the gay people cast (on the male side) could not be more stereotypical. This is all the more appalling when you consider where both Survivor and TAR started with strongly defined non-stereotypical gay men on their first seasons.

        My critique was meant as that, a critique. It wasn’t meant as an attack, and if you took it that way I apologize. As I stated I think you have good points but you’re looking at it from such a narrow point of view, excluding counter-points and other stereotyping that is going on.

        As for the Glass House, I don’t think that is coming back for a second season.

        • Matthew Bok

          I believe I mistakenly thought the comment I responded to was from the author of the original piece and the podcast guest.

          • dsharden

            Yeah, I just a listener and fan of RHAP & NPR. Thanks for replying and offering up your thoughts. You are allow your opinion and I enjoyed “talking” with you.

    • Trixie02

      I am actually pleased with female casting this season.

      Candice: Outspoken, good at challenges

      Monica: Good at challenges

      Laura M: Head of an alliance in Somoa, outspoken

      Tina: Amazing

      Kat: Not the typical bikini type. She was very serious about playing.

      No one is playing up to the cameras. The men, however…Vytas, Aras, Brad, Colton, Gervase and Tyson…

      The loved ones are weaker, but they were chosen by the players.

      Marissa: Probably would have been good at challenges, outspoken

      Ciera, Rachel, Katie: Atypical of young women
      Laura B: Good at challenges

      • Matthew Bok

        I agree, but seasons with multiple returning players (either all stars of half and half) are a different beast because the playing field is leveled for the returnees.

        The only thing I disagree with is Ciera, Rachel and Katie have (so far) been non-entities, which is the problem with a season with returning players and with 20 contestants.

        Rupert was gone first and his name has probably been mentioned as often as a few of the three in the discussion. Hell the Hantz name has probably come up as many times.

  • Beatriz Forlenza Camilli

    Great podcast… as a woman`s right student and a survivor fan it couldn`t be better…
    Though it feels like Linda doesn’t like much about survivor as it is right now, hahahaha

  • Scott Ekins

    She’s “obsessed” with Survivor and thinks Penner played on Heroes Versus Villains and doesn’t know the name of redemption island?

    • Dave L

      Off with her head!

    • Gary

      She’s Miss Alli. That’s the answer!

  • Marie-France Trepanier

    Just like this season, this issue has many layers.

  • Homertownee

    With all the stereotyping on reality TV, all the two-word labels used to sum up people’s lives, all the bikinis and shirtless guys, all that they consider sexism is the teasing a NFL player instead of his wife?????

    And f there were more women than men returning players, then wouldn’t they then complain that more men got the chance to play Survivor than women?

  • BogDa

    For anyone from Survivor Casting reading these comments these are the women who should be considered for recasting in the future in order.

    1) Kim (One World: Heroes Tribe 2. Top 3 winners ever.)
    2) Vecepia, (Marquesas: Villains Tribe 2: One of the best winners period. I guarantee she will good.)
    3) Sophie, (South Pacific: Heroes Tribe 2: A great underrated winner)
    4) Eliza (Vanuatu/Micronesia: An all time great. Will cause endless drama no matter what)
    5) Deena (Amazon: Female Leaders of Tribes, Had great game and potential.)
    6) Holly (Nicaraqua: Heroes Tribe 2. Obvious.)
    7) Kathy (Marquesas/All Stars: Female Leaders Tribe. Great player)
    8) Helen (Thailand: Female Leaders Tribe. Should have beeb on All-Stars)
    9) Jenna M (Amazon/All Stars: Heroes Tribe 2, I’d love to see her play again.)
    10) Twila (Vanuatu: Female Leaders Tribe of Villains)
    11) Gandhia (Thailand: Villains Tribe 2: Super Fan. Really cool. Got a raw deal her first time, but would be very different a second time –see her Survivor Oz podcast)
    12) PeiGee (China: Heroes Tribe. Fought hard to stay and had real game)
    13) Shii Ann (Thailand: Villains Tribe 2, a super villain)
    14) Andrea (Redemption/Caramoan: Played hard round 2)
    15) Taj (Tocantins: A pretty impressive player)
    16) Laura (Caramoan: Early boot with a lot of potential)
    17) Abi Maria (Phllipines: Villains Tribe 2)
    18) RC (Phillipines: Heroes Tribe 2)
    Marissa (Blood: Got a raw deal.)
    19) Kimmi (Australia: Early boot who was a great character.)
    20) Michelle (Fiji: Had a lot of game, but got screwed)
    21) Teresa (Africa: Great character)
    22) Lindsey (Africa: Villain. Incredably unpopular, but deserves some redemption.)
    23) Neleh (Marquesas: According to John Carrol would be great to see again.)
    24) Kristina (Redemption Island: One of the only people to go after Boston Rob)
    25) Chelsea (One World: Smart athletic woman.)
    26) Michela (South Pacific: Athletic woman could have been another Stephanie. Would play hard on a second time.)
    27) Sabrina. (One World: Had a solid game for someone with no knowledge of the game.)
    28) NaOnka: (Nicaragua: Unlikely, but I think she’d jump at a chance for redemption. Even if she quit again, she’d deliver for the first part of the season. So why not put her on Heroes vs Villains 2, she’s the ultimate villain.)
    29) Alicia (One World: Villains 2)
    30) Heidi (Amazon: I don’t think she’d do it, but she was awesome)
    31) Stephanie (Redemption: Villains 2)
    32) Amy (Guatemala: A great character.)
    33) Courtney (Exile Island: One of the great nut jobs)
    34) Trish (Pearl Islands: Had great potential as a villain)
    35) Dawn (South Pacific/Caramoan: She annoys me, but she was a great player.)
    36) Tracy (Micronesia: Super fan, had game.)
    37) Natalie (Micronesia: Villains 2)
    38) Corrine (Gabon/Caramoan: Vilains 2)
    39) Crystal (Gabon: Villains 2)
    40) Angie (Palau: Great potential)
    41) Erin (Tocantins: Had potential)
    42) Kelly (Borneo: Wild Card. Hasn’t seen a single episode since season 1.)
    43) Shambo (Samoa: Apparently doesn’t want to go back).

    44) Denise (Phillipines. Not a huge fan, but a good player)
    45) Danni (Guatemala: A bit boring, but a great player)

    • Trixie02

      I’d rather see Christine or Stacey from South Pacific than Jenna M.

    • cameron

      I disagree with the majority of the above :/ People like Michaela didn’t make it far, weren’t good players and are not entertaining. However, there are still a few who need to return (e.g. PG)

      Many of them have been asked back in the past but could not/declined. Vecepia was pregnant when she was asked for All Stars. Shii Ann was also pregnant when she was asked for a third time.

  • Amanda Rabinowitz

    Thanks, Rob, for taking on such an important issue in this thought-provoking podcast! It seems as though the discussion with Linda Holmes only scratched the surface of this topic, and I hope there is room on the podcast for more follow-up discussion, particularly with female survivors.

    This discussion raised some interesting issues that I hadn’t previously considered– such as a the fact that it may be more difficult to recruit professional women to appear on the show. This highlights the many layers of influence on the portrayal of gender on Survivor.

    Obviously, Survivor exists within the context of the rest of the world. So the extent to which players hold sexist views or behave in ways that reflect gender stereotypes is something for which that the show is not directly responsible. Nor is it something that the show is obliged to mitigate. Part of what the show does well is serve as a microcosm of the real world, where most people are influenced by stereotypes to some degree. Demonstrating that on TV can be interesting and even productive if it provokes conversation.

    Furthermore, Survivor exists within the players’ real lives. This means that factors that influence whether women or men are available and interested in appearing on the show will also effect the way that women and men are portrayed. For example, mothers of young children or women with professional careers may be less likely to apply than new fathers or profession men. As a result, the female Survivor players may be disproportionately populated female students, model/actresses, and pharmaceutical reps. On top of that, real life consequences may effect the way that men and women conduct themselves on the show. Dawn’s reception after Caramoan serves as a cautionary tale in this regard.

    It is on top of these societal and cultural forces that show production elements play out i.e. casting, editing, and Jeff’s intervention. In my view, Survivor’s casting and editing choices seem to be problematic in this regard. But we can really only speculate on those points, because we don’t have access to the pool of applications and raw footage. Jeff’s comments, however, speak for themselves, and this is why Linda’s Culpepper vs. Cody example is such a good one– not because it fully encapsulates this complex issue, but because it’s a very clear example of the one thing that viewers can be certain is fully under the show’s control.

    • Gary

      I would LOVE to see follow up podcasts with female Survivors, to get their perspectives on the issue(s).

      • Gary

        This isn’t an “one and done” thing. This needs to be an ongoing dialogue.

  • Individual Immunity

    If Survivor had existed at the height of the mid-1990′s women’s studies hysteria, this would have been the type of 1 hour lecture on the show I would have expected from that mandatory class everyone (including most straight women) hated to be forced to attend. The fact she still feels this same way makes her an amusing quaint museum piece, but then again, who expects any advancement in political thinking from the likes of NPR which as on most other issues is 30 years behind the curve…thanks for the reminder of why most younger women reject the term “feminist” and consider it a negative these days, that dogma won’t hunt…

    • dsharden

      Is this your go to answer for every post? You seem to regurgitate the same crap every discussion.
      Think of something new, or better yet, Think.

      • Individual Immunity

        dsharden said he/she was done with me and I was a troll that didn’t deserve future responses, yet now in desperation he/she is responding to every message I posted here including this one I wrote 5 days ago! Talk about an addiction, I got him/her hooked bigtime, LMAO! The only thing worse than being trolled is accusing someone of trolling you and still not being able to stop yourself! Man, a conservative pretending to be a clueless liberal couldn’t do a better job of acting than you are doing presently, keep the entertainment coming…

  • BogDa

    I’m a bit disappointed in this podcast. It just doesn’t really go very far. The total lack of cultural critique in the world of Reality TV is evident when an article that doesn’t say all that much and focuses mainly on the current season gets so much attention. I felt like there is so much to talk about on this topic, but you guys barely scratched the surface.

    I feel like having Sophie on this podcast would have been a much better move than Stephan. She would have had direct first hand experience about the difference between how female winners are portrayed. She was completely overshadowed by Coach and Ozzy in the editing yet beat both of them by playing a solid strategic game that made few mistakes. She’s a really smart player, I’m sure her commentary would have been good.

    I’m surprised that this podcast didn’t really address the big issue which to me is how the female winners are portrayed in comparison with the men. The women, with the exception of Parvati and Sandra 2 are not the major characters of their seasons and are generally not considered great winners. Kim is by fans. But winners like Vecepia, Danni and Sophie are largely forgotten. Natalie gets 14 confessionals in her entire season compared with Russells something like 90 confessionals in Samoa. Brad Culpepper got 9 confessions in episode 1 of Blood vs. Water. Natalie won the game, yet had almost no story. They could have presented two strong parallel stories running side by side. One was the extreme strategic game of Russell and the other the slow and steady social game of Natalie. They could have shown us her having conversations with people, slowly getting to know them. Then by the end we would clearly see why she won over him. I feel like the editing of both Samoa and South Pacific was supposed to tell us that they didn’t deserve their wins. Russell and Coach should have won according to the edit of the show—but they didn’t.

    • Amanda Rabinowitz

      I definitely agree that this discussion barely scratched the surface of the issue. I’m not particularly disappointed, however, because this is such a large topic that a thorough treatment is probably too much to expect in a 1-hr podcast. I think that Linda Holmes was put in a difficult position to represent this issue because 1) she’s just a journalist and viewer with no particular expert knowledge in the production of the game (unlike Rob and Stephen who have experience as players), and 2) even with her very fair and EXTREMELY cautious criticisms, she’s being dismissed as a shrill feminist in many of the comments. I hope that this is only a jumping off point, and we hear more on this issue from female survivor players. Personally, I’d love to hear from Sophie, Kim, Denise, and Dawn on this issue.

      • BogDa

        Agreed. She’s totally playing it safe. It would be great to have a REAL CRITIC of Survivor on the podcast. There must be academics writing about this.

        • Trixie02

          See above post.

    • http://sweetscientist.wordpress.com Pink Pearl

      Even Parv and Sandra, memorable as they are, were severely underedited. (After Natalie and Sophie, they’re the two winners with the lowest confessional count per episode average.)

      • Gary

        In Sandra’s case, limiting her confessionals should be considered a criminal act. You KNOW she was giving them gold!

        • http://sweetscientist.wordpress.com Pink Pearl

          I have a Survivor factoid that’s even more infuriating than that. You know who got fewer confessionals per episode in her season than Purple Kelly did in Nicaragua? Courtney Yates in Heroes vs. Villains.

          • Gary

            That’s horrifying! (Although I did remark, at the time, that she wasn’t getting nearly enough screen time)

          • Zachary Zarnett-Klein

            Ya It was a disgrace How Courtney got 0 airtime in H vs. V

          • BogDa

            I was always shocked by that. I think the reason is the Courtney doesn’t hold anything back, she actually says her catty comments right there on camera in front of everyone. So they don’t even need to get her to stay stuff in private. Her lack of confessionals is surprising since she is so present on both of her seasons.

    • Dan C

      I like when the winner gets limited confessionals because it makes the show more unpredictable. If the winner is seen a mile away it ruins the suspense, like last season and Cochran’s golden edit.

  • Travelest

    I find that gender and race based analysis to be prejudiced by definition. It demeans the group identified as the “victim” and makes unfair generalizations about the so-called “abusers”. It would be empty analysis if it wasn’t so harmful.

    • Individual Immunity

      Next week Rob plans to interview Ragan Fox on his multi-year “genius” rant, uh, I mean theory, that BB homophobia will never permit an openly gay winner…oops…how many times do these reality show “experts” have to be dead wrong and fall flat on their faces before the reality community starts ignoring them? Voodoo doctors do better analysis of the stockmarket than a lot of these reality gurus do of Survivor, BB, or the Amazing Race, look at their miserable track records. All the politically correct theories they spewed out this year turned out to be piles of garbage like always. It got so bad Eric Curto couldn’t even force himself to admit you could be gay AND hate Andy, that the two aren’t mutually exclusive. When you’re dealing with closed minds like that, what’s the point in trying to discuss anything sanely with them?

    • Amanda Rabinowitz

      Your comment suggests that simply acknowledging race and gender as issues is “unfair” and “harmful”. I must strongly disagree. It seems abundantly clear to me that perceptions of race and gender influence human behavior in many many ways, and some of these ways can be harmful to certain individuals or groups.

      I do agree that accusations of racism and sexism often lead to defensiveness that often stifles productive discussion. However, if you listen to the podcast, I think that it’s clear that Linda Holmes, Rob, and Stephen do not blatantly accuse anyone of holding sexist and misogynistic views, but rather highlight some of the choices that may unintentionally lead to the portrayal of women in a certain way.

      The fact that you acknowledge that it is harmful to portray individuals as “victims” and “abusers” demonstrates that you understand that portrayals matter. Why not talk about that?

      • Mike Magas

        I agree with Travelest in what I think he’s trying to say which is we seem to over analyze race and gender issues by applying them to every situation instead or where applicable (if this isn’t what was meant then I probably disagree)

        For example the Marissa vote out was view by some as sexist and racist, but if we really look at it are we masking the real issue there and thus devaluing the race and gender inequalities?

        Certainly Marissa was a black woman and the only black member of her tribe that being said, her position in life was also very different than the rest of her tribe, she openly spoke up against the leader of the tribe, her uncle made an ass of himself and angered her tribe yet some people went immediately to the black female card and discarded the other reasons.

        I’m not in her tribes head, they may be sexist and racist but none of the women made any effort to save marissa and didnt seem to bond with her, similarly the men didnt seem to bond with her and generally followed up any talk of her with talking about Gervase’s display at the challenge, it seems that was at the forefront of their thinking.

        To make her vote out an issue of race and gender is to smokescreen the issue and devalue actual victims of this prejudice, which is counter productive.

        • Amanda Rabinowitz

          It is true that there are degrees of prejudice and bias, and all instances of these should not be lumped together. However, I think that the Marissa example that you bring up is actually a really good one.

          In my viewing of the show, there was a totally legitimate game-play-related reason that Marissa was the first person voted out (Laura B. notwithstanding)– she openly challenged the leader of her tribe. In her case, it seems obvious that race and gender were not the principal causes of her vote-out. BUT it is actually impossible to infer whether race and gender played ANY role at all if we only consider her case in isolation. In order to examine that question, you’d have to look at all survivor players and how race and gender correlate (or don’t correlate) with success in the game. If black women are overly represented among early boots, or disproportionally under represented among players who go deep in the game, then race and gender may play a role in survivor success.

          If that’s the case (I might crunch the numbers to test this hypothesis), then I believe it is an interesting issue worth examining. To be clear, that would not necessarily imply that the game and/or its players are racist (in that they believe black people are inferior) or sexist (in that they believe women are inferior). It would just mean that, generally speaking, people playing Survivor have a tendency to behave in a certain way that results in less successful outcomes for players with a particular demographic background.

          African Americans are a minority in the Survivor universe. If you look at the past three seasons, black contestants represent only 13% of survivors. Black men outnumber black women nearly 2 to 1 on recent seasons. If you do a thought experiment and imagine that you are a white man cast on Survivor who is placed on a team with 9 players, 8 are of African decent, and the 9th is a white woman who is roughly the same age as most of the black women on the tribe. In this thought experiment, your hypothetical Survivor player might do very well. However, it stands to reason that this player would have an additional hurdle when trying to fit in with the tribe. Over many seasons and many players, survivors who face this additional hurdle may have a tendency to be less successful in the game.

          • Mike Magas

            Your point is interesting but seems to point to a problem not related to say gender or race but the real issue of when thrown into an uncomfortable position you bound with similar people, this could be race, gender, age, hometown, profession or even interests

            This is a human condition that I’m pretty sure is uncurable

          • Amanda Rabinowitz

            You’re right. It is a human tendency to bond with and seek out those who are similar to them. And people can be similar across a variety of dimensions.

            So, why are race and gender “special”? Well, it’s a question of access. If individuals of African descent are under-represented in medical schools, then very qualified black medical students will get less social support and be presented with fewer opportunities from professors than their white peers. If women are under-represented in the upper echelons of corporate management, then highly qualified women who seek these positions will be less effective at networking and obtaining mentorship.

            I may be from New Jersey and like yoga, but are these factors likely to influence my access to important social and career opportunities? Probably not. These factors could influence who I bond with if I’m cast on Survivor. However, the first thing that people will recognize about me are my obvious demographic attributes: age, race, gender.

            If survivor consistently cast 18 individuals who were from the same home town and 2 people from the rest of the country, then it could be said that in this case race and home-town were equivalent.

          • Mike Magas

            I understand the issue but we have the problem do we have a solution?

            Survivor casting has in the past said that finding minorities has been difficult, in fiji and cook islands (the most diverse casts) was when they had to use HEAVY recruiting to meet quotas, something survivor fans complain quite vehemently about in short we did not like it

            so do you go back to that casting process and risk angering your core audience further or do you continue as is?

            both directions have a problem, so what is the solution here?

          • Amanda Rabinowitz

            The viewers can only have a very limited influence on casting and editing choices. It is hard for us to even see what the specific problems are and how they could be addressed from a production standpoint.

            The one thing that we can do is create a dialogue about these issues, and hope that discussion raises awareness of the subtle influences on our behavior. It’s probably naive to think this, but with greater awareness of these issues, more fans from under-represented minorities might apply to be on the show. Or, perhaps future players who are aware of this discussion will have pause before going with a knee-jerk reaction to voting out the athletic young black woman early in the game.

          • Mike Magas

            Hmm id have to say the knee jerk reaction stopping is probably reaching but yes trying to create awareness about this could help with applicants and lead to a more diverse cast that are actually survivor fans.

            But the manner in which some do this I think is counter productive, they make the reason sound like survivor is sexist/racist, if anything that will dissuade people from applying

          • Matthew Bok

            Some of your points I agree with, some of them I disagree with, and one I feel is just flat out wrong.

            “If individuals of African descent are under-represented in medical
            schools, then very qualified black medical students will get less social
            support and be presented with fewer opportunities from professors than
            their white peers. If women are under-represented in the upper echelons
            of corporate management, then highly qualified women who seek these
            positions will be less effective at networking and obtaining mentorship.”

            As you mentioned above privilege is something that is worth talking about. Today in the workplace and in college most privilege tends to hurt, not help people. As a push for collegiate and professional diversity increases the original benefactor of privilege becomes the marginalized group, where being part of that group makes it harder to get into a school or get a promotion or get a job. This is less true at a the C job level, but below that there is a movement where women and minorities are coveted (and often recruited) for these positions. The idea that very qualified black medical students will get fewer opportunities is (to me) laughable, because it simply is not true. In the corporate world the boys club mentality still exists is some workplaces, but it usually is so far above where most people ever get to it becomes less important.

          • Amanda Rabinowitz

            I can see where you’re coming from to a point. It is true that in an effort to rectify the poor representation of African Americans in professional education and careers many institutions have made a concerted effort to recruit and support individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds.

            However, I see no compelling evidence that these measures are disadvantaging individuals in the majority. Despite representing 12.3% of the population, African Americans only make up 6.4% of students in medical school, and only 3% of all medical faculty. Maybe in another 10 years, the current African American student population will professionally excel, and we’ll see the percentage of medical faculty rise to 6% or more. However, evidence to suggest that there is a “leaky pipeline” for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds– meaning that trainees and young professionals drop out of high status careers before achieving the highest levels of success. Many believe that this is because of lack of support.

            A lot of people make the case that privilege is a disadvantage in the age of affirmative action. I strongly disagree with this argument. It can be difficult to see all of the ways that having a majority high status background provides advantages in one’s day to day life– advantages that translate to connections and resume boosting opportunities. However, these “invisible” advantages can have very real and visible consequences– hence we continue to see an underrepresentation of disadvantaged minorities in nearly every prestigious profession.

            There are subtle ways that sharing a similar background with your superiors and mentors confers benefits. In the medical school example, I think that it’s natural for mentors to respond enthusiastically to students who remind them of younger versions of themselves. Professors may be more likely to include the “little me” on an invited review paper for a prestigious medical journal, or email their friend who is head of the residency program at another institution on that student’s behalf. These small benefits add up over time, such that privilege begets more privilege. These instances may not be as obvious as the scholarship opportunity for minority students, but they are still very real. The numbers don’t lie.

          • Matthew Bok

            The numbers may not lie, but the numbers provided are incomplete. You can’t take the percentage of medical (or law, etc) school students as the final number as proof, because there are numbers that precede that. What was the percentage of applicants by race/gender, etc. ? You said that 6.4% of medical students are African American. What percentage of applicants to medical school are African American? I did some searching and the % of African American students that applied is 7.4% whereas the number of accepted applicants is around 40%. That is lower than the average of about 46%.

            However those are raw numbers and we don’t know what those numbers are based on. We don’t know the MCAT scores and any correlation between them.

            It’s like the lottery, if you don’t play (apply), you can’t win (be accepted). If you look at raw numbers you can make them say anything you want. The things we know for sure are there are incentives for universities to have racially diverse student populations and there are both racist and sexist scholarships that are out there.

            A lot of my opinion is based solely on my experiences and any reading I have done on the subject. The vast majority of my professors were female, whereas TA’s were split about 50/50. In the job market I have seen a tougher road to hoe for men towards middle management (though no racial bias), but upper management seems to be where the idea of the glass ceiling comes in. As far as getting jobs how many ads or announcements for jobs have you seen where “minorities encouraged to apply” is stated clearly?

            We obviously disagree on this, but much of my observations are anecdotal which will vary quite a bit by job field and area of the country. While I was in education very few males were hired, but most principals and SI’s seemed to be male. In IT mostly men were hired, but that was based (a lot) on the applicant pool.

            I’m pretty set in my job and my (university) education is decades behind me, so this doesn’t really apply to me, but think about this scenario: You are someone (no gender, race, etc. attributed) and you apply to the college of your choice. You have a good GPA, some extra curricular, but nothing outstanding. You figure you’re on the bubble of getting in. Your buddy also applies. They have a nearly equal average application, but are a few points behind you in class rank, GPA, and ACT scores. You get your rejection letter, they get their acceptance. Is that in any way, shape or form fair?

          • Amanda Rabinowitz

            I disagree that you can make raw numbers “say anything you want.” I do agree with you that it is a complex issue that has many layers, and people often selectively present the evidence that best supports their point of view.

            I also take issue with labeling scholarship opportunities targeted towards underrepresented minorities as sexist or racist. Here’s a definition of racism from Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary: “poor treatment of or violence against people because of their race: the belief that some races of people are better than others.”

            Practices that promote diversity in the workplace and academy are based on a fundamental belief in racial equality, and have the intention to remedy inequities based on racist practices from the past.

            Experimental research has shown that employers and admission officers rate applicants’ identical resumes as more qualified for a job/academic program if they have a stereotypical white name as opposed to a stereotypical African American name. That is unfair.

            For many people affirmative action, and the hypothetical example you present above, is a crude and inelegant tool for fixing a complex problem. I am sympathetic to that point. However, I think that most reasonable people agree that it would be a good thing to achieve proportional representation of racial groups in schools and professions. Consider this. In California, where race-blind college admissions are mandated and test scores, GPA, and class rank and the primary considerations, Asians significantly outnumber white students. Furthermore, female high school students are academically superior to male students on nearly every metric of success (GPA, class rank, advance courses, overall SAT score) aside from SAT Math score. The fact that a holistic approach to admissions often benefits white males is part of this issue that is nearly always overlooked.

          • Matthew Bok

            I appreciate that we can have a “dialogue” where differing viewpoints are offered and it doesn’t spiral into ad hominem attacks like so often happens in forums (especially when discussing an issue such as this).

            I do find race and gender based scholarships to be racist and sexist. You may not agree, but there’s a simple test I use to guide whether something is racist or sexist. Take whatever statement (or theory, whatever) and replace the race with white and the gender with male. If the result is viewed as racist or sexist then the original is also. I understand the counterpoint to it, but I disagree with it. “This scholarship is only open to African Americans” becomes “This scholarship is only open to white people.” I think there is little doubt that the second one would be viewed as racist. Perhaps racist and sexist are the wrong words by definition, so discriminatory would work better.

            There are currently 60 women’s colleges in the United States. There are 3 colleges that are men’s colleges that are not male only due to religious things. There are 106 HBCU’s in the US. To my knowledge only one of those three groups has been successfully sued for discrimination.

            As of April of this year women made up 57.4% of college enrollments which is much higher than their actual population makeup. Using this document as a guide http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s0286.pdf (info through 2008) the freshman percentages by race are as follows (with population percentages in parenthesis after).

            White: 61.8% (72.4)
            Black 15.0% (12.6)
            Asian 6.6% (4.8)
            Hispanic 14.1% (16.4)

            The numbers don’t quite add up on the percentage of population because the two charts I used measured things differently and have additional values for all categories for Hispanic vs. non-Hispanic. Using those numbers on a purely race make-up level the representations among college freshman are close to spot on.

            The interesting thing is that many things that seem to be racial trends actually are not, but are truly socioeconomic trends. If you slice data across income levels there is a lot more equality across races when it comes to collegiate and career success. It’s a systemic problem with no easy solutions. The idea of the cycle of poverty is very real, and it knows no racial boundaries.

            Lastly there is the concept of everyone is equal, but some are more equal than others. Jobs (rightfully so) are not allowed to discriminate based on gender, race, sexual preference among other things. However there are jobs that have different qualifications based on those same criteria. For example, take police officers or (more importantly) firemen. The endurance requirements for women are lower to become firemen (sorry I refuse to say fireperson because it sounds stupid). This is done to ensure a gender spread amongst the profession, which is a good idea in theory. However, when I am stuck on the 2nd floor of my apartment building and someone has to dead lift my passed out body to take me to safety, the ensuring of gender equality becomes a lot less important.

          • Amanda Rabinowitz

            The word discriminatory may be applicable, I’ll agree with that.

            I said the following in an earlier post, and I think it applies here: “We live in a social world where gender and race influence our behavior. Every instance of this influence is not necessarily racist (e.g. Shawn’s statement in Marqueses), and it is very misleading to simply trade out black/white and male/female and ask- why is this considered “ok” in one direction and not the other? These equivalencies are false because of differences in status and differences in the actors intentions.”

            I too appreciate the opportunity to dialogue with you in a respectful and intelligent way! People tend to only discuss these topics in their own echo chambers, or resort to hurtful and baseless attacks when they encounter someone with a different view. Thanks for chatting with me, Matthew. If you reply to this post, I promise to let you have the last word ;)!

          • Dave L

            Actually I wouldn’t be surprised if the white male did quite well. I would expect the African decent players to be far more tolerant of the outsider, and not judge according to skin color. You can’t simply say it’s 8 from Column A, and 2 from Column B. White people in our society are born with priviledge; many minorities are taught from a young age that they better treat the white man well for their own safety.
            The key here is that only a tiny sliver of white people know about white priviledge, while only a tiny sliver of nonwhite people don’t know about it. Once you know about your own racism, it’s easier to not be overwhelmed with it.

          • Amanda Rabinowitz

            I fully agree with your point about privilege. In fact, I believe that most of the anger and defensiveness in these conversations comes from the discomfort that individuals feel when they are made aware of an unearned privilege they had unknowingly enjoyed. Being confronted with privilege is uncomfortable because it feels a lot like you’re being accused of cheating. It’s not like cheating, we have no choice in the privileges we are endowed with by accident of our birth. There’s no need to feel guilty about it or defend against it. I believe that the most productive thing to do is to acknowledge it, and become conscious of the moments when you can choose whether or not your perpetuate this privilege at someone else’s expense.

          • Matthew Bok

            You raise an interesting point that I think is always not portrayed correctly. You state that black contestants represent “only” 13% of Survivors. After checking some statistics, I found that African Americans make up ALMOST 13% of the US population. If you’re looking at it purely from a societal experiment, the numbers line up quite well. Not to harp on this card again, but gay people are under-represented, usually having one contestant per season (this season being the exception.)

            You also talk about how it is impossible to infer if race or gender lead to Marissa’s boot. The same can be applied to basically any boot. If someone is booted due to race I think that is pretty clear that there is racism behind it, but sexism is far less clear. The problem comes down to if someone was booted due to gender is it necessarily sexist? Think of all the seasons that started as men v. women. Look at how Tina and others were talking about voting out all the guys. Look at the original FvF and how they targeted the men. Is that sexist? Some people stated they voted for Jenna M. in the Amazon because they wanted a woman to win. Is that sexist? I think it would be considered sexist if someone said that they wanted a man to win.

            Even with race the lens is definitely different depending on the source. In Marquesas when Sean said he wanted a black person to win, is that racist? If someone said they wanted a white person to win it definitely would be.

            You can point to the minority aspect of it, but with gender that holds no water as women make up more of the population.

          • Mike Magas

            This is something that has somewhat boggled my mind as well, I get it because when we think of sexism we think of women getting the short end of the stick (I’m not saying this isn’t the case) but when an alliance on survivor is all women and targeting men (see one world) we hear words like empowering

            Reverse the roles the alliance is male (like this season) and targeting women (marissa and Rachel) we hear the words sexist, how are these 2 instances actually different is my question?

            Amazon was a great watershed for this, the guy tribe talks about the girls sex appeal (whos the hottest etc) and how they may not survive without men, the audience despite this being meant a bit for humor purposes got quite offended.

            The women however said some pretty similar things, they talked about male sex appeal, they talked that the men would go lord of the flies without them, later on they commented how dumb most of the male tribe was. There was no backlash to this really.

          • Matthew Bok

            The other component about this is how sex appeal, gender, and race are used. I would cite Jenna M. as the prime example of this. She knew how her outward appearance would impact the thoughts (and lack thereof) of her male competition and she used it to her advantage, which I think is smart.

            The rub is that acknowledging it is somehow wrong (she’s hot, etc.), but using it is fine. Much like the other points in this long discussion thread there are two sides to everything and everyone tends to view things based on their personal experiences. As a white male I can’t pretend to understand the background, point of view, etc. from someone who is either not white or not a male. On the flipside they can’t see things from my position either.

            A real world example was when Obama was elected the first time. To me it was just another President being elected that will play politician more than leader, no different than those that came before him. I acknowledged that his racial makeup made it kind of a watershed moment in American history, but to me it was just another leader in a long line that I had to take with a grain of salt. A black woman I worked with was moved to tears by the whole thing. We talked about the whole thing and it just meant something completely different to her than it did to me.

            When viewing Survivor we not only have the lens of our personal background, but we also have the editors serving as the unreliable narrator. Lots of what we see did not happen how we see it and a story thread is often invented out of the air to fit a narrative that really wasn’t there. The whole “throw it in the fire” and the fallout from that is a perfect example. When hearing what actually happened there it is (with all apologies to Sammy Hagar) a different kind of truth.

            Lastly one of the things that used to be a staple on RHAP was the Jeff Probst inappropriate comments. Balls on a disk, balancing his pole, etc. Note how none of these ever come at the expense of women, and they could. How many challenges have contained bags? This could easily be fodder for some breast type comments (she’s got two big bags in front of her or something like that), but they never are.

          • Mike Magas

            Very true, I feel the irony is those who argue that they have the short end of the stick though fixate on how it must be the fault of discrimination.

            The Marissa vote seems the most apt description for my point so I will beat the dog once again. If Marissa is a white 20 something year old man, his uncle talks mad smack despite having nearly lost the challenge for his team and he openly challenges the leader of a dominant alliance and gets voted out, there is no uproar, the player made a bad game move and paid for it. Because its Marissa, black and a woman some people (not all) immediately play the race and gender card. Now I cannot see this from a black or female point of view, as thats not what I am but why is it that Black and Female survivors are somehow immune to making bad moves and paying for them in the eyes of a section of society?

          • Amanda Rabinowitz

            So, shooting for 13% casting as African Americans is certainly defensible. My point is that it places the minority group at a disadvantage when people will be more likely to bond with those who are most like them. This is the very nature of minority marginalization. I’ve never implied that “Survivor needs to fix this” vis a vis something like a casting a majority of black players. They did play with this idea on Cook Islands, which I actually found very interesting, but this was also controversial.

            Sexism has never had anything to do with being in the minority, as you correctly point out. When we talk about group dynamics there are multiple dimensions that are relevant– group size is one important dimension, but STATUS is also very important. Someone posting on this thread brings up privilege, which is an important point.

            The way I see it, terms like “sexist” and “racist” refer to both the consequence of an act and an the actors intentions/beliefs– for example, if I vote a woman out because I believe women are inferior to men, then that’s sexist; If I keep a woman around because I believe that women are weaker than men, and less threatening, also sexist; if I vote for a woman to win the game because I believe that women are under-represented among Survivor winners and this will promote more equality in the game, it is not a sexist act.

            We live in a social world where gender and race influence our behavior. Every instance of this influence is not necessarily racist (e.g. Shawn’s statement in Marqueses), and it is very misleading to simply trade out black/white and male/female and ask- why is this considered “ok” in one direction and not the other? These equivalencies are false because of differences in status and differences in the actors intentions.

            I’d also like to reiterate that I am not insisting that Survivor “fix” casting by casting more women or more minorities, although I’m not opposed to it. I just think that we should be having discussions exactly like the one we’re having, in order to get the most benefit out of a socially fascinating show!

        • dsharden

          “To make her vote out an issue of race and gender is to smokescreen the issue and devalue actual victims of this prejudice, which is counter productive.’

          I missed these assumptions. Are they on the pod cast of her leaving or on her exit interview?

          • Mike Magas

            It was heavily discussed when Marissa was voted out, suggestions of sexism and racism were quite rampant.

            Maybe I’m wrong but the over use of sexism to me devalues when it actually happens and has victims. Basically if we cry sexism everytime a woman gets voted off, are we really doing the issue as a whole a favor?

      • Travelest

        Thank you for your polite response. please see my response to Morty above. I think it states my POV and is applicable to your response too. I just think it is a poor way to look at the world.

        • Amanda Rabinowitz

          I really appreciate your civil tone. It’s clear that we have different views on this topic, but we both probably agree that hurtful accusations of sexism and racism are counter-productive.

          One of the things that I like most about Survivor is the way that it mirrors human behavior in real life. This is why I really enjoy discussing the larger social issues that the show sometimes touches on.

          I’m very grateful that RHAP provides a space where fans can share their ideas, often in a polite and intelligent way. In my experience, people often avoid discussion with those with different POVs. I know that a lot of people see things the way that you do. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me, and keeping things cordial!

    • Morty

      I’m confused as to what you are trying to say. Are you saying that labeling one as a “victim” or “abuser” with respect to gender or race is unjust because sexism and racism do not exist? Or, are you saying that sexism and racism do exist, but people should never discuss it?

      I’d imagine that plenty o’ white males would be deliriously happy with either misguided suggestion!

      • Travelest

        You don’t sound confused at all. You sound disapproving and judgmental. Your last comment demonstrates my point very well. If you look at the world through gross negative generalizations, you’ll find the negatives you seek but no way out of your worldview. I think that pov crates more problems than it solves.

        • Morty

          If ya don’t wanna answer the question, just say so!

          • Travelest

            I am saying neither. I am not advocating controlling what people discuss nor defining whether people’s generalizations exist. I am saying that looking at things from a Sexism or Racism viewpoint is empty and ultimately divisive.

          • Morty

            Do you believe sexism and racism exist?
            If they do exist, how should rational people respond when confronted with what appears to them to be either?

            BTW, I don’t have a “sexism or racism viewpoint.”
            I also don’t walk the streets or live my life waiting for or expecting some random person to come up to me and spit in my face. In fact, I don’t give it a thought. If someone DID walk up and spit in my face, however, I’m certain I would notice, and I’d very likely object.

  • Nick

    Sorry if these points have been raised, but I dont think so.
    There has been talk about “archetypes” and “typecasting” of both men and women. Survivor seems more prepared to take a risk on breaking these archetypes and choosing someone different when it comes to men, but tends to stick with a tried and true formula with women. If you are casting the same type of people you will end up with the same type of results.
    Regarding returning players, its worth noting that generally speaking, women are casualties of early votes and therefore men have a statistically better shot of making it far in the game, and making an impression big enough to get an invite to play again.
    The stats for how juries vote for a winner is interetsing too; men overwhemingly get more votes than women.

    • Homertownee

      These shows are going to tag everyone with a two-word label that, of course, is stereotype. One thing that makes “reality TV” interesting is watching how some people live up to the stereotype perfectly and some people burst the stereotype.

      Scripted shows use stereotypes too, but since they are scripted the breaking of the stereotype is a trope and not very interesting.

  • Trixie02
  • Homertownee

    Dog bites man = husband tells wife to do something

    Man bites dog = Former NFL Quarterback, who for years called the plays for 11 huge warriors in front of 80,000 screaming people and millions of TV watchers, gets told what to do by his wife.

    Which one is more interesting?

    • Mike Magas

      theres a problem with your comparison

      Brad Culpepper was a defensive lineman not a QB and probably called very minimal plays

      • Gary

        Zero plays.

        • Mike Magas

          meh maybe calling a twist on the pass rush or something but yeah not even a full play

    • Gary

      That didn’t happen though. It was John who was “told what to do” by his wife. Brad (former NFL player – Defense btw, not a quarterback) was the one who “told his wife what to do”.

      • Homertownee

        You are right. I mixed Vikings Brad Culpepper (92-93) up with Daunte Culpepper (Vikings QB 1999-2005).

  • Gary

    This immersion of RHAP into the rest of the internet is certainly going to make things interesting. Especially given several of the figures on the “Mount Rushmore” and Rob’s own Amazon era reputation (as someone giving sound bites in a “Men vs Women” season). Will we see less Fincher and Fairplay and more Spradlin and Clarke?

  • BulletToothToney

    Jonathan Penner was never on Heroes vs. Villains and he was never medically evacuated. Linda has no idea what she’s talking about.

    • Justin

      While I do not agree with some of the details Linda argues (I’m more apt to agree with Mario Lanza’s take on this situation, posted below via Facebook link), her knowledge of Jonathan Penner trivia in no way dismisses her credibility in discussing sexism in Survivor. The two topics are completely unrelated.

      When Linda said Penner was on Heroes vs. Villians, she surely was talking about Fans vs. Favorites (version 1) and yes, Penner was medically evacuated that season. http://www.realitytvworld.com/news/jonathan-penner-and-chet-welch-both-exit-survivor-micronesia-6725.php

      • Individual Immunity

        How long have you had the ability to read her mind? Or did Rob email you a copy of the script so you know what she was supposed to say? LOL!

        • Justin

          Mind-reading and obtaining a non-existent pre-show script are not required to understand what Linda had intended to say there.

          “I recapped three episodes of Amazon, took it over in Pearl Islands, and I recapped until Jonathan Penner was medically evacuated on Heroes and Villains, I guess. So all the way through there, I stopped by the time Stephen’s season happened.” – Linda Holmes beginning around the 3:15 mark of the podcast

          If you replace “Heroes and Villains” with “Fans and Favorites” everything else she said makes perfect sense. She probably thought of the “versus” theme and “Heroes and Villains” came out instead of Fans and Favorites. As far as how one can deduce the mistake was made in season identification and not player identification, she appears to struggle to recollect the season name while having no problem recollecting Jonathan Penner as a person medically evacuated in the last episode she recapped, something true of Penner in Fans vs. Favorites 1 (Season 16). Linked in my above comment is the Reality TV World recap of that episode for those that may not remember.

          Then if you continue on to her very next sentence as quoted above, she goes about having no longer recapped the show by the time Stephen’s season aired (Season 18 Survivor: Tocantins). Once again, if you replace “Heroes and Villains” with “Fans and Favorites,” her statement suddenly becomes factually and chronologically accurate!

          And once again, as stated above, one’s ability to answer the trivia question “In what Survivor season was Jonathan Penner medically evacuated?” does not preclude one from issues such as sexism in Survivor, something not remotely related to trivia. So while I now feel extraordinarily confident about my ability to beat Linda in a Survivor trivia contest, her opinions about sexism in Survivor and the societal issue of sexism should not be dismissed because she confused season titles from four and six years ago.

          Like I said before, I more fall in line with Mario Lanza’s theory that someone as smart and intelligent as Linda Holmes should have taken notice to Survivor’s (and Probst’s) sexism years and years ago (and in her particularly case, apparently start to lose enjoyment in it as she stated on the podcast), but I’m also not so shallow as to entirely dismiss her argument over Survivor trivia completely irrelevant to the subject at hand.

          • Individual Immunity

            If only you had acted this calmly defending Andy, think of everything you could have avoided. Just between us you can admit none of the games ended up being worth it, in fact they were sadly very costly for you. I’m glad I helped you recover your humanity…no thank yous are necessary…happy trails…

    • Morty

      Exactly! A minor error of detail completely unrelated to her overall point makes her sexism argument utterly meaningless.

      • Individual Immunity

        In other words, morty falls under the category of mindless posters who blindly champion a guest they agree with politically/ideologically even though it’s obvious with her numerous glaring errors she doesn’t know a thing about the subject she’s attempting to criticize. Both are acting like typical liberals…

        • Morty

          Thanks, I laughed out loud at your post!

          • Individual Immunity

            No prob, I aim to please my public…;-)

          • Trixie02

            Welcome back.

          • Individual Immunity

            Always a pleasure, especially when you up arrow my comments! ;-) See you on Know-it-Alls…

    • Jason Lee

      This is a ridiculous argument, Rob and Stephen make mistakes of the same caliber all the time. Rob claimed in this week’s KIA that Jonathan Penner has never played with any of the Blood vs. Water cast when he played with Candice in Cook Islands. Survivor has a huge history and even experts can make mistakes every now and then.

  • http://ptsnob.com/ Dan Heaton

    I think a lot of people are being overly harsh to Linda Holmes. She wrote an opinion piece that made solid points about Survivor (and Probst’s) presentation of gender dynamics. This has led to some good discussion about the issue on RHAP and in other venues, and that was likely the goal from her piece.

    The podcast with Linda was enjoyable and showed that she’s a fan of the show and not just a TV critic jumping in to make a point without evidence. She listed the wrong season for Penner, but that’s such a minor thing. I’m a big Survivor fan, but I’m sure that I’d make a bunch of mistakes on an hour-long podcast about it.

    I understand if you wanted more out of the podcast, but I think it was a good discussion. There’s no way to really cover the entire issue within this time frame. It’s not like they were going to go through each season and discuss all the women. Rob, Linda, and Stephen made worthwhile points and had some good back-and-forth about some murky territory for Probst and the show. They raised some interesting topics and had some fun too. That’s all that I expected from the podcast.

    • Individual Immunity

      Why not have a voice on this topic from the conservative side of the spectrum? Over two-thirds of the Survivor audience self-identifies as conservative to moderate, yet the leftist fraction is the only one that ever gets interviewed on these various topics. If you thought Linda did a lousy job here’s the typical reply you get here, “we need to interview sophie”, yep, that solves the problem of political balance bigtime, going from one extreme ideological feminist to an even more doctrinaire one. God forbid anyone thought to invite a non-leftist guest to discuss this topic…honest liberals need to drop their blinders if they ever want to achieve true credibility, this was the perfect opportunity to invite a different point of view to express itself but as always we only get to do that via the trenches of the comment boards. You can’t keep treating moderates and conservatives as jokes or second class citizens and expect to build a truly huge fanbase or be broadly popular, hopefully someday RHAP will realize that…

      • Morty

        Why does the topic of marginalizing people based on gender or race have to be a “conservative” or “liberal” one?

        The entire point of Ms. Holmes’ blog entry was that women are often marginalized on Survivor. That being the point, it just makes sense to some of us that if you’re going to have a male survivor discuss the matter with the author of the blog, then the perspective of a female survivor should also be included. The blog IS entirely about the depiction of female survivors, after all!

        I was under the impression Sophie had expressed some sort of interest in participating. If so, I think people were simply rallying to her in response to that tidbit. While Sophie would have been fine, I would have been happy to see ANY of the sharp female survivors who remain fans of the show participate over Stephen.

        I like Stephen, I think he does a helluva job on the podcast, and he was good in this one, but his inclusion means you have two men who have played Survivor answering an article that claims women are marginalized on Survivor. Wouldn’t the perspective of a female survivor add credibility to this particular discussion?

        • Individual Immunity

          Yes, and a conservative woman Survivor player would provide a much fresher more interesting perspective to the whole discussion as opposed to your typical kneejerk feminist who we’ve heard from here a thousand times before. Be honest, aren’t you tired of these liberal-only panels preaching to the choir? Open your minds to the real world and escape your ideological bubbles, who knows, you might accidentally learn something about yourself or, GASP!, change one of your opinions…

          • Morty

            I think ANY woman who played the game, has an informed opinion on the matter, and can communicate that opinion in a coherent fashion on-air would have sufficed.

          • Individual Immunity

            Great, we agree. I would take ANY articulate randomly chosen female player over Sophie any day. I’ve suffered through all her previous podcasts, each gets more insulting and venom-filled than the previous one, her jealousy and hatred of popular male players is also unrelenting. She’s the Survivor WIKI poster girl for the definition of “sore winner”. Like most fans at this point I can’t stand her, let her be miserable in private…

          • dsharden

            So Glenn Beck should be interviewed next?

          • Individual Immunity

            Nope, your weak liberal body would probably pee your pants leading to a major bladder infection or have a heart attack as a result of listening to a podcast by someone you politically disagree with (that’ll be a first for you), and since obamacare is a huge disaster flat on its back and currently on life support, you’d probably die as a result and I happen to be a humanitarian…

      • http://ptsnob.com/ Dan Heaton

        I’m really not seeing this as a “liberal vs. conservative” issue. I have no idea where Linda falls on the political spectrum. Rob decided that Linda would be an interesting guest based on her article, so he asked her to join the show. I don’t think it was because she had a liberal agenda. Are you saying that saying there’s sexism on Survivor makes you a liberal? I don’t get that way of thinking at all.

        Sophie is an interesting choice because she’s the perfect example of a winner who played a great game yet got no credit because Probst likes Coach. She played under the radar and smart and won really easily. She’s also intelligent and would have plenty to say on the subject.

        I didn’t mind having Rob and Stephen on with Linda and think they have a good chemistry on the show. I would be interested to hear Sophie talk about the experience of being on the show, however. I understand if you’re not a fan of Sophie, but I wouldn’t call her or Linda “extreme ideological feminists”. What does that even mean?

        I respect your opinions so please don’t take this the wrong way. I just didn’t take this as a political issue so I’m thrown off by your response.

        • Individual Immunity

          Thanks Dan for the very kind words. At first I wrote a book in response to your comments (something I’m always criticizing Eric for doing, LOL) but I soon realized I’d be bored to tears writing about this subject for another week so I’m going to end it here. I think this story has already eaten up much more time than it deserved. If a commentator from national public radio, the nation’s last national bastion of liberal talk radio since Air America went down in flames, states that Survivor is a Boy’s Club that discriminates against women, yet you claim you are truly confused as to what part of the political spectrum her ideology comes from, there really isn’t a point in continuing this conversation. Of course one of her friends or heaven forbid Linda herself could easily let us know she’s a liberal democrat feminist but why ruin your confusion? See you on the other comment boards, take care…

      • Damien Roberts

        I notice that you didn’t offer your opinion on the matter, which the comment section is essentially your floor.

        The issue with the likelihood of them ever bringing a conservative voice to the show is that their probably aren’t too many conservative writers or bloggers out there that are specializing on anything Survivor.

        I guess you can bring on a conservative past player, but the fact of the matter is Linda wrote a very thoughtful article that is hard to disagree with.

        • Individual Immunity

          “I notice that you didn’t offer your opinion on the matter, which the comment section is essentially your floor. ”

          My first comment described it as a mid-1990′s women’s studies 1 hour mandatory lecture diatribe, that wasn’t enough to give you my opinion? ;-) If you need further clarification let me know…

          “The issue with the likelihood of them ever bringing a conservative voice to the show is that their probably aren’t too many conservative writers or bloggers out there that are specializing on anything Survivor.”

          Really, based on what research? Have you, Rob, or the people who book his podcasts ever really tried to find any? You might be pleasantly surprised.

          “I guess you can bring on a conservative past player, but the fact of the matter is Linda wrote a very thoughtful article that is hard to disagree with.”

          Within your very narrow political mindset you might find it hard to disagree with, but many of us don’t suffer the same limitations. Those voices deserve to be on a podcast.

          • Damien Roberts

            Limitations? Narrow mindset? How does my agreement that the show might have sexist tendencies at all pigeonhole me as a certain political party? I think theres a certain irony in you calling anyone narrow-minded as its quite obvious that rather than doing a little research and maybe even reading the article that Linda wrote YOU are the one choosing to bring politics into this. Nobody else. Get a grip.

          • Individual Immunity

            “Get a grip.”
            Pot meet kettle…

          • Damien Roberts

            I don’t think I mentioned a political agenda once…that was you. This isn’t a political issue.

          • Individual Immunity

            Ha! If you don’t think sexism is a political issue for NPR and the left than you’re either a liar or very politically naïve. Based on your photo I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and lean towards naivety…

          • Damien Roberts

            And just to clarify, I find a lot of what is pointed out in the article as a bit nit-picky, but some of it is definitely something people should think about.

          • Individual Immunity

            We’ve thought about it long enough, now let’s think about the moon being made of cheese…mmm…

          • dsharden

            “Those voices deserve to be on a podcast.” why yes, start one. What you really mean ..These voices deserve to be on RHAP podcast. But, as far as i know, you are not the producer. Rob is doing brilliant without you.

          • Individual Immunity

            He’ll do even better if he starts picking guests outside of the NPR political spectrum, liberals make up less than 30% of Survivor’s audience, don’t you want RHAP to thrive and grow or is living in a cocoon the only kind of existence your weak ideology can take?

      • dsharden

        I listened. How did the conservatives/liberal make it in? how did you take it there? secret agenda?

        • Individual Immunity

          Damn folks, I think we found msnbc’s 1 remaining viewer…

          • dsharden

            RHAP is doing quite well. maybe you should start your own podcast. Other than that, you are no fun to talk to, so I’m out…Have fun Mr Troll.

          • Individual Immunity

            Don’t forget to take your baseball home with you, LOL! Thanks for giving us the textbook example of typical closed-minded liberal behavior, it’s always quite entertaining. Never try matching wits with a master…;-)

  • Matthew Bok

    I googled it, but could not find the Mario Lanza response to this. Does anyone have a direct link?

  • Homertownee

    Two observations:

    1. It is interesting how everyone accepts Survivor production dividing up the Tribes by sex almost every season, but the one time they divided up the Tribes by race they got tons of criticism.

    2. It is interesting how many times a million dollars is determined by a “women’s alliance” or “men’s alliance”, but nobody criticizes that or argues that it violates the US Civil Rights laws.

    • Amanda Rabinowitz

      I am completely baffled as to how anyone could argue that an all male or all female alliance on Survivor has anything, even remotely, to do with the Civil Rights Act. Here’s the text of the law for reference: http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=true&doc=97&page=transcript

      • Homertownee

        Keep you day job and don’t even think about law school:

        “unlawful to exclude or to expel from its membership, or otherwise to discriminate against, any individual because of his race, color, religion, sex, or national origin;

        • Amanda Rabinowitz

          Ok smarty pants… but if you could be bothered to read the line directly above the one that the quote here, you would see that the that complete subsection states (emphasis added by me):

          “(c) It shall be an unlawful EMPLOYMENT PRACTICE for a LABOR ORGANIZATION–
          (1) to exclude or to expel from its membership, or otherwise to discriminate against, any individual because of his race, color, religion, sex, or national origin”

          • Homertownee

            And a “labor organization” is sometimes called a “union” or — …. you will never guess ….. … wait for it …..sometimes called …………….an ………….”alliance”.!

          • Amanda Rabinowitz

            good luck taking this one to court, buddy

          • Homertownee

            If I were a lawyer, I obviously wouldn’t want you on the jury. But I would like my odds in a lawsuit against Probst Inc. because their Philippine Division made layoffs based upon a “men’s alliance” that decided to lay off all the women first.

  • Steve Klemetti

    I am so sick of people who say they are so sick of things such as Linda.
    She said she was sick of Rupert and the pirate attitude. She was sick or Russell Hantz.
    They both made the show great.

    • dsharden

      I’m unsure now what makes you really sick?

  • shaqattaq32

    I love Linda’s opinions and glad Rob backed her up. This was a refreshing podcast. Normally I am into it for 10 minutes and tune out but this was extremely engaging throughout.

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