Thursday, September 14, 2006

Oh Noes! Survivor Plays To Stereotypes?!

Sponsors Abandon Survivor

This article discusses GM's scarpering, but Coca Cola and Home Depot have bailed as well. I find the whole business hilarious. Alanis Morissette, please call your office--this really IS ironic!

I have now read four articles on the subject of Survivor's latest insipid gimmick--dividing the four tribes by race in case you've been living on a deserted island yourself--and heard endless radio commentary, but not one of these outraged pearl clutchers has addressed the show's past scheme of dividing tribes by sex.

How is it different? No, really. How?

What a testimony this kerfluffle is to the lousy sexist culture we still are. Did any sponsors take their toys and go home during the seasons when that preening jackass Jeff Probst took every opportunity to suggest that men who lost to women were a bunch of worthless pussies?

Will we see Jeff gleefully querying, say, White team members on their feelings about losing a swimming challenge to the Black team? Or the Asian participants on losing a puzzle challenge to a bunch of Hispanics?

Will he encourage Black contestants to stand on blocks and strip naked for food like the women contestants have?

Shall I go on? Perhaps not. The point is that sexism remains so normalized, so invisible in its ubiquitousness, that our eyes pass right over it. We react viscerally to the idea of turning racial tension into game show fodder, and rightfully so, because the legacy of racial hatred is violent and horrible, but what about the stain of gender violence? Why should "the battle of the sexes" be harmless and cute while "battle of the races" offends, particularly when rape and domestic violence still threaten us?


At 8:24 PM, Blogger Sassy Pants said...

See! This is why I read blogs. 1) Because I was totally out of the loop on the Survivor thing and 2) you provide a totally new way for me to look at things. I was obviously disgusted by the race premise but I didn't really think about how ok we are with gendered competition. Despite the fact that I wrote a paper on that men against women season in a Gender and Power class for my Masters. Thanks for the perspective.

At 10:56 PM, Blogger Babs said...

I didn't know anything about this either.
And you made a very good point!

At 3:23 AM, Anonymous Manny said...

I have always hated Survivor. This is just the latest ploy to get suckers to watch a totally meaningless waste of an hour.

At 8:37 AM, Blogger CrankyProf said...

I had to teach last night, and therefore my Probst voodoo doll went unpinned.

Was it the trainwreck it appeared to be?

At 4:22 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

I have always wondered how porno would look if instead of featuring women, it featured minorities, as in "Black in Chains". I think I got that idea from Dworkin back in the day.

At 6:47 PM, Blogger Shell said...

sassy, I'd love to hear more about that paper.

Thanks, babs!

And, manny, yeah--can't argue with you there.

cranky, believe it or not I have it DVRed but have not yet viewed the carnage. I'm sure it's much less compelling than the hype.

Exactly, michelle--excellent point.

At 11:37 PM, Blogger CP said...

You know why they didn't include "Jews" as one of the groups? We'd be too busy trying to buy off one of the other groups to get them to do our work for us.


Hey. I'm Jewish. I can say it.

This is the worst survivor idea EVER!



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