Issue 01: Representations
The 2005 entries were originally written for the journal I kept in WST 3015/Intro to Women's Studies. They have been modified slightly since then.

2005 September 30, 9:15 am

I was re-watching a scene from Survivor: Panama while my brother was watching it, and I got annoyed again at what played out in it. The Nakum men were trying to set up a tarp that they'd won, and a woman named Margaret examined the supplies and then gave directions for how to do it. The guys were then commenting to each other and to the camera (not to her face) that "You can't tell grown men what to do" and that she was trying to be "the mother hen."

It bothered me the first time I saw it, but I didn't really analyze why until I just watched it again. These men were automatically taking the standpoint that it was a men versus woman problem, not a people-out-to-have-fun versus person-trying-to-control. What actually annoyed them about Margaret wasn't that she was a woman, but that she was trying to direct them— and yet they attributed the problem to them being "grown men" and her acting like "the mother hen."

I don't think this is how they would've responded if it had been another man acting the same way. They would've still been mad, but I don't think the "grown men" dialogue would've come up because they wouldn’t have perceived it as a gender issue.

I'm sure there are many cases where we automatically refer to gender when we're talking about the problems we have with someone. The day before this entry, my Non-fiction Workshop, class was discussing an issue in someone's paper; he had been exploring how a male character's social isolation might've been because of "a woman." Our teacher asked the class, how many times have we said (in an exasperated tone) "men!" or "women!" (and then she modified it to ask a gay man in the class if he'd ever said "men!") The class discussed it and found that the issue he really was looking at was that this man could've been isolated as the result of a bad relationship, which is different from saying "a woman" and then exploring how women could cause problems. Hopefully he will take the paper in a different direction, but I was pleased when he noted, "I guess it comes off kind of misogynistic, and that's not what I meant."

Those Survivor men have some thinking to do, but it's good to see a class of mine recognizing the problem of discussing people as genders instead of individuals.

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October 13, 10:22 pm

There goes Survivor again. Stephanie was critical of Bobby Jon for cheering "like a girl" when he wins, and she was saying how he's so "gay" when he does that. Whoa girl, that is NOT cool.

What makes it "like a girl" to be excited about something? To be happy to win? Is there anything feminine about being enthusiastic? I don't even understand what cheering "like a girl" would mean! I also don't appreciate saying that it's "gay." The implication, of course, is that acting like a girl = being effeminate = being gay, and it obviously has negative connotations. I've been cheering for her since the last season, but I really can't stand for saying things like that.

Too many times in middle school, I had to listen to other students talk about how things were "gay" (stupid) or call other kids "gay" as an insult. I'm sick of it being used as the most insulting thing people can think of. It shouldn't be a negative thing to be gay, but of course the word gets thrown around like this and nobody does anything about it. I never saw teachers reprimanding students for using that word, or the administration saying not to use that word, or students telling each other not to say that. The times that any students did try, they of course got insulted for it.

Way to make yourself look good, Steph.

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2005 November 20, 9:28 pm

I can finally say something that's not totally negative about Survivor.

Props to Jamie for saying "May the best man or woman win" instead of just using the old phrase "May the best man win." I didn't count to see if there's more women than men left in the game when I wrote this, but I was surprised to hear a man actually acknowledging on the show that it's not just about men. Actually, I know that for awhile more women had won the game and made it to the final two; I don't remember how it's changed in recent seasons.

However, winning something like that isn't a matter of gender. There are men and women with strong personalities and winning abilities; there are men and women who are weak at these things. It doesn't take a man— or a woman— to win, but an individual's approach and his/her personal talents.

I always think it's silly when people talk about a "women's alliance" in that game. I think the point is that a lot of women on the game feel like the men are a physical threat, and believe that the men are physically more capable of winning certain things than the women. However, there's certainly women in the game who are much stronger than some of the men (mind and body-wise.) I don't really get banding together just to have a women's alliance, however, it's disappointing when a women's alliance does form and then falls apart. If they make one, I hope it stays together instead of falling apart like ones have on other seasons.

It may be "bad TV" or "trashy" or whatever to watch a show like this, but it really does bring up interesting things!

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This e-zine copyright © 2006 Immora. All other properties are copyright to their respective holders. E-zine originally created as a service learning project for WST 3930/Third Wave Feminisms. Project started on March 18 2006.