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Survivor – Bro Down

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This week we were treated to a Survivor double-header. Two hours of great challenges, blindsides, tribal shake-ups and… raging misogyny. Holy crap, people. Has there ever been such a group of sexist bozos? It seemed like every five minutes, someone was saying something that offended me to my core.

But first. First, I need to address the way Mike killed, skinned and cooked a snake. It was both disgusting, and really cool. I mean, you gotta eat, right? But still. The way the skin peeled off all at once, like a glove. Gross.

To the left, to the left…

This week, we had separate Reward and Immunity challenges in both episodes. The first Reward Challenge was a classic blindfolded obstacle course. This challenge always leads to a lot of bruises and scrapes, but nothing as bad as what Kelly experienced.

Partway through the challenge, Kelly got hit in the head and started bleeding right away. The challenge was paused so medical could check her out, but she had to keep her blindfold on. They bandaged her up, and the challenge resumed. What a trooper! Afterwards, Kelly got six stitches in her forehead.

The No Collars won the top prize, three hens and a rooster. The White Collars won second place and received ten eggs. Despite Kelly’s bloodshed, the Blue Collars went home empty-handed.

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Most of the No Collars agreed that they’d cook one of the chickens right then and there, in honor of Will’s birthday. I’m onboard with the idea of eating one chicken. At this stage of the game, you don’t know when there could be a tribe shake-up, and you want to experience some of your reward. I’d argue to keep the others and hope for eggs, but I’d want to eat a little meat.

Jenn, a vegetarian, was totally against the plan. She went off into the woods to mope, and also poked around for the Hidden Immunity Idol. She found it. These things are not hard to find, huh?

Over at the Blue Collar camp, the drama was much more intense. It began with Rodney declaring “Girls need to hold themselves to a higher standard than guys.” Hey, you know the term “slut shaming”? THIS IS IT. Rodney was proudly arguing, over and over, that women should remain more chaste, more well behaved, more pure, than men. Lindsey and Sierra were furious, because they are women and this is offensive BS.

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“I may not be an angel, but when I settle down I wanna find one,” Rodney said. He refused to acknowledge the sexism and disgusting double-standard in what he was saying, and he couldn’t have cared less that he was offending people on this tribe. Because Rodney was only offending the women on this tribe, and to him they do not matter. 

The drama over on the White Collar tribe was a little less controversial. Shirin is still getting under everyone’s skin, this time by announcing how she’d prepared for the possibility of winning live chickens in a reward. She’d watched a video, talked to a farmer, and actually slaughtered a rabbit.

I know, I know, Shirin is annoying. But come on! That’s kind of smart. Call me a psycho, but I respect it. (I just wouldn’t have, you know, advertised it.)

If I Were A Boy…

For the Immunity Challenge, tribe members had to move through a slanted obstacle course on a rope, then maneuver three balls through a maze. As always, Will was a huge drain on the No Collar tribe. On the Blue Collar tribe, Rodney lost a lot of time. Just out of pure stupidity, too. He genuinely did not seem to understand how to get through the obstacle course without becoming entangled in the rope.

No Collar crushed the second portion of the challenge and nabbed first place. White Collar finished second. Of course, Sierra pointed out, a big part of their loss was thanks to Rodney. Dan is obviously a weaker tribe member, but Rodney is hella offensive. The way he bungled the challenge looked like a good way for the ladies to try and oust him.

I was shocked at what little support Lindsey and Sierra got on their quest to vote out Rodney. First, Lindsey told Dan that she was voting Rodney. The condescending way in which Dan described how there’s “listening like a man” and “listening like a woman” made me want to wring his neck. Basically, “listening like a man” (in Dan’s eyes) is to assess a problem and come up with a solution. “Listening like a woman” is to feel lots of empathy, nod and smile, and just go along with whatever is said. Well, Dan. I have been listening to you and I have assessed the problem and I have the solution: YOU CAN CHOKE ON SOME RICE. Dan is the second worst. Because only Rodney is more despicable.

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“These broads just don’t know what they’re doin’. Bye-bye, women.” Rodney has identified the women as the number one problem in his tribe. He’s working with Kelly, but only because a) he has to, and, b) she bites her tongue when he says offensive things. I get the sense that if Rodney could work with another man instead of Kelly, he would.

And now, here’s the ultimate, most offensive, most misogynistic quote from the episode:

“If we were back home I’d grab her [Lindsey] by the hair and spank her like a bad baby.”

I hit rewind a couple times to make sure I got that right. Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 12.20.28 AMRodney actually said that he would use physical violence on a woman for disagreeing with him, and NO ONE SAID ANYTHING. Hey, you know the term “rape culture”? THIS. THIS HERE. THIS IS IT. This man thinks of women as less-than. This man thinks it’s OK to lay hands on a woman. This man thinks women need to be put in their place, which is below him, using physical violence.

Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 12.20.39 AMI hate this man.

Rodney makes my blood boil. I’m not an even-tempered person, not when it comes to issues like this. I wish every pox, every curse, every STD, every misfortune upon him. I will never, ever understand why Kelly would want to work with someone like Rodney. Someone who is a clear misogynist, who will never truly be your alliance mate because he does not respect you, because you are a woman.

At Tribal Council, Rodney talked about how much he respects his mother, and reiterated that women need to hold themselves to a higher standard than men do. Statements like this give me so little hope for the world. How do we ever make change in the world when people like Rodney exist? You can’t reason with the utterly unreasonable.

Lindsey did a much better job at Tribal Council than Rodney. She spoke with passion, she spoke about keeping the team strong. And they voted her out anyway. (First, it was a tie between Rodney, Lindsey and Sierra. Then they voted out Lindsey.)

By the way, can I just point out how utterly ridiculous it was when Mike said that white collar workers live off the hard work of “real Americans”, the blue collar workers? Barf. Probst grinned and nodded, because he is unabashedly biased when it comes to this. I groaned.

Festivus For The Rest Of Us

Back at camp, Sierra was mad. Of course she was mad! She received votes. The vote did not go her way, and instead her best friend was eliminated. She is clearly next on the chopping block. Everyone knew that by voting out Lindsey they’d lose Sierra too, and yet they all acted surprised by it.

Mike wanted everyone to “air grievances” and move on. What was up next, the feats of strength? Instead of making Sierra feel included, Dan did everything he could to further alienate her. He listed everything he thought she’d done wrong so far, including specifics about her performance in challenges. DAN. DAN did this. Dan is the worst! Who is he to criticize a freaking GODDESS like Sierra when it comes to challenge performances?

When the tribes showed up for the next Reward Challenge and Probst told them to drop their buffs, I thought “Well this will be good for Sierra.” And then, it wasn’t.

RED TRIBE: Will, Hali, Jenn, Shirin, Max, Carolyn, Kelly
BLUE TRIBE: Sierra, Rodney, Mike, Dan, Tyler, Joaquin, Joe

The tribe switch was horrible for so many people, but especially for Sierra. She ended up with the three worst people from Blue Collar. She ended up with the two bro-iest dudes from White Collar. And she got beautiful, talented, strong Joe from No Collar. She is the only woman on a tribe of misogynists. (Remember, Joaquin likes “fast women and lots of champagne”.)

Joe also has cause for concern. If he’d been placed on a weaker tribe, he’d be secure until the merge because he wins challenges. But this tribe is entirely comprised of strong people, and he’s the only player from No Collar. They could decide to eliminate the biggest threat in the game before the merge.

Over on Red Tribe, Kelly and Carolyn seemed to make out worst. Carolyn got stuck with the two people she hated most from White Collar. And they were the two people I would have most expected to get along with the No Collars (though, I ended up being wrong there). And Kelly ended up being the only Blue Collar on her tribe. Furthermore, the tribe is just much physically weaker than Blue Tribe. Will and Shirin are definitely weak links, and there’s no one super physically powerful.

Apologies, Apologies

As soon as Blue Tribe arrived at camp, Mike was telling Dan “I told you so.” He’d wanted to smooth things over with Sierra and Dan made it So. Much. Worse. And now look! A woman has become important! She’s the swing vote! The first chance she got, Sierra told the other tribe members that the guys from Blue Collar were jerks, and she was ready to flip.

Mike said he wanted to make sure Sierra’s “mind doesn’t get mixed up”. Oh you know, those silly women – always getting their minds mixed up! WTF? Nothing is “mixed up” about turning your back on a bunch of jerks who betrayed you. Sierra has no reason to remain loyal to the likes of Rodney, Dan and Mike, yet they’ll label her a crazy bitch if she votes against them. I hate these people!

Mike tried to coach Dan on how to apologize to women. EVERYONE ON THIS SHOW IS SUCH A GODDAMN EXPERT ON WOMEN. Women, you see, don’t want a side of explanation with their apology. The way he said it was dripping with condescension. Basically, it doesn’t matter if you know you’re right when dealing with a woman. You just suck it up and apologize, because she isn’t smart enough to reason with. THIS IS SEXISM.

Dan was peeved that advice was even being offered. He’s twice Mike’s age! (Actually, Dan, you’re only nine years older.) He has way more experience “talking to girls”. WHO EVEN SAYS THAT. I hate Dan. I know I have him in the office pool (I was drawn last) but I want him to lose.

Obviously, Dan’s apology sucked.

Over on Red Tribe, Shirin and Max already rubbing her tribe the wrong way. Jenn hadn’t even learned Shirin’s name yet, but already hated her. (I’m going to be honest, I am not Jenn’s #1 fan.) I’ll admit, Shirin does seem annoying. The singing, the whistling, the incessant talking, the announcement of the intention to poop. It’s a lot.

Max also made enemies fast. He suffered some stingray related injuries on his feet, and Jenn told him to put his feet in the pot of hot water. Then, Hali noticed a planter’s wart on his foot and was VERY grossed out. I mean, isn’t this one kind of on Jenn, too? She told him to put his feet in there. Was there nothing else to use?

I Came In Like A Wrecking Ball

The Immunity Challenge required team members to move pots through an obstacle course, then break them using a wrecking ball. It was a physical challenge and given the unevenness of the tribes, it was an obliteration.

Or as Probst put it “Eskemaka (or whatever) is going to have a big advantage because they have a lot of men.”

THIS IS ALSO SEXISM. Men and strength are not synonymous. The most useless person on any tribe is Will, a man. Dan also sucks. He’s a man. There are women I’d pick for my team before Will, Dan or Max. Blue Tribe is strong, and has a lot of dudes. But they have the advantage because they got a lot of the fit men. Not because they got men in general.

Red Tribe had to go to Tribal Council. On paper, it looked like a very simple swing vote situation. Hali, Jenn and Will on one side, Shirin, Max and Carolyn on the other, and Kelly in the middle. Shirin and Max spent a lot of time wooing Kelly. But they forgot something. That Carolyn capital-H HATES them.

Kelly was not the swing vote, because Carolyn hates her old tribe mates enough to jump ship. That meant Kelly had no choice but to go along with the majority. The only task was to decide who was more annoying: Shirin or Max?

It was pretty funny to watch Max and Shirin stand around talking about how they feel good, they’re “finally playing Survivor“, etc., all while their fellow tribe members are discussing who should be sent home first. Those two might be smart, but they completely lack self-awareness.

I have to say, I thought Shirin would be deemed the most annoying. But in fact, it was Max who was voted out. It made his silly “Hey Jeff, hold up bro…. I just always wanted to say that” gag after Jeff asked for any Hidden Immunity Idols just that much more pathetic.

Alright, this was a long blog and I apologize for that. But a double episode is hard to cover briefly, especially when it’s overflowing with misogyny that leads me to rant. So, it’s your turn – hit the comments, tell me what you thought of the episode.

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