Survivor and Feminism

Feminism and CBS’s Survivor

I am a feminist.
I am a feminist because:
A. I believe that women and men are intellectual equals. And that everyone should be allowed to choose the career that they want, even if the job is traditionally done by the other sex.
and
B. I think about women’s issues and women’s points of view more than the average guy.

This season of “Survivor” (Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty) has introduced me to some fascinating, flawed women.
First there’s Kass McQuillen. Kass had all the tools to win the game: she’s smart, she’s tough, and she’s level-headed.
Kass is a trial lawyer. And, unsurprisingly, she is exceptionally good at coming up with reasonable arguments about strategy and presenting them to her tribemates.
About halfway through the season, Kass had put herself in a perfect position. She was one of the most influential people in a majority alliance that was in control of the game.
But then she was undone by her (and many women’s) fatal flaw: her primal hated of other women.
Reason, strategy, and self-preservation went out the window when Kass developed a grudge against one her tribemates, Sarah. As so often happens in real life, a minor spark of disagreement exploded into an unstoppable wildfire of anger. And before long, Kass had voted this poor girl out and torpedoed her own game in the process.
I have absolutely no idea why women are so quick to turn on each other and become enemies. But the phenomenon is real. And frightening.

This season of “Survivor” also introduced me to Morgan McCloud and the plight of attractive young women.
I know that looks are subjective, but Morgan from the Beauty Tribe is unarguably the best looking girl on television. And beauty is taking its toll on her.
Morgan got voted off a few weeks ago because she wasn’t playing the game very hard and because she was lounging around and letting other people do all the work around camp.
But this isn’t really her fault. As she explained as she was leaving, the guys on her tribe started serving her and doing her work from day one. And this has been happening since she went through puberty. Morgan’s great looks have made it so men are eager to do her work for her.
As for her decision not to participate too much in the intellectual strategy aspect of the game; her beauty dictated that, too. Morgan, like most hot teenage girls, probably had a busier social life than average. And less time to study.
Also, sadly, if Morgan was naturally smart, she would have learned rather quickly that there is a disturbing tendency for people to resent smart girls. A smart, pretty girl who wants to be well-liked has to learn to act less smart or risk being hated by her classmates.
Morgan’s beauty is making her life easier now. But it the long run, she’ll discover that it is a curse. When she loses her looks, she’ll find that life is very difficult for a woman with below-average intelligence, unimpressive character, and a lousy work-ethic.

If you’re interested in Sociology, “Survivor” (CBS, Wednesday nights at 8pm) is the most intellectually stimulating show on television. There certainly aren’t any other shows on network TV that inspire me to write a column about feminism.

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