P.C.Pop with Pablo

Survivor Leadership, Chapter 2 — Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

In body image, CBS, diversity, homophobia, Leadership, Malavenda, Mob Wives, Pablo Malavenda, Pop Culture, Reality TV, self-fulfilling prophecy, sexism, Survivor, Survivor Cook Island, survivor women, TV shows, Uncategorized on February 28, 2012 at 7:36 am

Before reading this PC Pop blog post, you may want to first read the first post about Survivor and Leadership: Survivor Leadership, Chapter 1 — The Leadership Primer

Survivor: One World premiered on February 15, 2012 with a big programming announcement – a game twist.  The latest and 24th session of Survivor would have single sex tribes sharing the same camp site. Immediately the reality TV bloggers around the world began commenting on the differences between women and men.  After only two episodes, Survivor: One World has many examples of Jeff Probsthow women and men behave when used in this (cruel) experiment of human nature.  Jeff Probst told the women at tribal council, ” “You’re off to one of the worst starts ever in this game because of the absolute and total dysfunction within this group. It’s almost like I’m talking to sixth-graders.”

As you know from my blog “Survivor Leadership” this is a grand experiment bound to teach you many lessons about LEADERSHIP. B-U-T…Don’t kid yourself that you will learn anything about the difference between the sexes, or among the genders. As spectators and fans we convince ourselves that the selection process for reality TV show cast members is similar to a job interview.  You could not be more wrong.  In a job interview, the employer is (most of the time) attempting to vet the candidates to determine who would be the most experienced, best fit, and have the greatest chance of succeeding.  Smart employers even try to balance out their existing team by looking at diversity and including individuals with different experiences and backgrounds.  This includes a balance of view points, leadership styles, behavior types and yes, gender balance.  Many employers today are attempting to give individuals a chance who historically would not have had opportunities — debunking stereo-types and breaking glass ceilings. This is NOT how the “employers” hire the contestants on Survivor or any other reality show.

The producers and casting are first and foremost trying to get you to tune in and stay tuned in. A quick study of TV shows with high ratings will prove that train wrecks sell tickets. (By the way — young, skinny, shirtless models sell too.) As a producer you can create an Rupert and Pabloenvironment on the set of a reality TV show that not only encourages train wrecks but they also become down right inevitable. And we fall for it – slowing down traffic to rubber neck to see the blood and gore.  We are attracted to accidents, and we also want to be the first to tweet about it.  We love when we are a part of a story that is trending. Beyond casting only those who reinforce negative stereotypes, they do unnatural things like separate genders, separate tribes by age, include former Survivor cast members like Boston Rob or Rupert or Jerry Manthey, create redemption island, put scorned cast members on the jury, have tribes share a camp without giving them equal resources, and force individuals to give their Immunity Idol to someone from the other tribe.  Yes, they even, during the season Survivor Cook Islandsof Survivor: Cook Islandsdivided the contestants into four tribes by ethnicity: African-AmericanAsian AmericanHispanic American, and White American. All of these tactics are designed to create that proverbial train wreck. Add dysfunctional cast members and the behavior will look familiar — a self-fulfilling prophecy — giving you a reason to reinforce your (false) beliefs even if they are

biased or bigoted or sexist or homophobic or racist or ageist — not to mention the issues with body image. Even Jeff Probst’s reaction to the women in tribal council reinforces these beliefs.

Survivor One World - Women's Tribe

So, when you find yourself at the water-cooler or blogging or tweeting about Survivor, please refrain from commenting on how this grand experiment teaches us anything about the differences in the sexes or races or the young and older.  Because it DOESN’T.  Quite contrary, reality shows are giving you what you want presumably based on ratings — an exaggerated look at the most vile and negative stereotypes that we have been taught about each other.  Don’t fall for it.  Crusade against it, if you wish.  By all means, enjoy it as a guilty pleasure.  But be smart enough to know that stereotypes, especially negative ones, rarely have any value in an advanced society like ours.

Now — I have to scoot. The Mob Wives marathon is about to start.

Read more about studying Leadership while watching the CBS reality TV show, Survivor, in the PCPop blog posts:

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