“Survivor: Winners at War” was quite the journey of discovery — and not just for the castaways.
Wednesday’s season finale was a battle among those left in the game, as the players focused on building their résumés to win. Natalie’s reentry into the game from the Edge of Extinction exposed a major issue facing the women on the show (and in daily life), as Sarah realized that despite her hustling this season, she wasn’t seen in the same light as her “Cops R Us” ally, Tony.
“It made me realize that if a woman in this game lies or cheats or steals, she’s fake and phony and a b**ch,” Sarah said at Tribal Council, tearing up. “If a guy does it, it’s good gameplay.”
“It’s a gender bias, it holds me back. It holds other women back from playing the game the way we should be playing the game,” she added.
Sarah started crying as she realized what she needed to do to break through. “I can do a lot of things. I’m not scared,” she said.
Host Jeff Probst noted, “We are in a cultural shift, and it’s beautiful and it’s powerful. But to Sarah’s point, men have not had to deal with a lot of the labels that come with playing aggressively or lying or cheating.” He then asked the men left in the competition — Tony and Ben — to weigh in.
“I’m not re-appreciating it or reevaluating it, because I already know it,” Tony told Jeff. “I see it in real life. I see it in my work place. I see it everywhere.”
“I know that women can do anything that a man can do, especially in ‘Survivor’, and there’s a lot that goes in ‘Survivor’ that doesn’t relate outside, and strong women like Sarah are bringing it to light,” Ben added. “I think everyone needs to respect women, because they’re all our mothers, and they’re our daughters. And that’s what we got to sit back and realize.”
Then came a surprising revelation from Jeff himself, as he admitted to having gender bias over his years hosting the show.
“Let me own my part. I am certain if I look back at all of the comments I have made over 20 years, I would find the exact same bias in me — who I call by last names. Guys have different relationships with each other, and I might not know how to have that relationship with a woman,” he expressed.
“So, I’ll definitely own that I don’t think I saw it when ‘Survivor’ started, and I don’t think I even knew I was supposed to look for it. But I’m very much aware of it now, and I’m grateful that we can open up and investigate, even though it comes with crisis or hardship or it comes with some tears. Whatever it is, it’s out there and it’s being talked about,” Jeff said.
“You can start calling me Lacina,” Sarah quipped as Jeff flashed a smile and Tribal Council continued.
In an interview with ET, “Boston” Rob and Amber Mariano opened up about whom fans should look out for in the finale.
“Personally I can’t believe Tony hasn’t been targeted,” Rob shared. “I like the way he’s manipulating different situations and getting away with it, so I think he’s playing the best game right now. Tyson [Apostol] has been playing a good game. He fought his way back in once and he’s gonna try to do it again. But he’s gonna have to deal with me and everybody else that’s on the Edge — and Natalie’s playing a great game on the Edge too.”
“She’s been there from the beginning, there was a huge advantage for her. She kind of got to see how things worked,” he noted. “I’m impressed with lots of different people’s games.”
See more on “Survivor” in the video below.
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