So, a couple weeks ago we talked about stereotyping. That was fun, right? Well, after a week away, I’m back and I still want to talk about stereotyping, sort of.
Last time, we discussed the cognitive process that happens in the brain when people stereotype others. In that case, I believe, Reem was older than everyone else, so she was stereotyped as old, motherly, etc. It led to her downfall.
This week, I think we saw something similar with Wendy. That’s why we’re going to talk about the phenomenon of stacking. We usually talk about stacking in relation to sports, but since Survivor is basically a sport, I think it works.
OK, so what is stacking? Stacking is a concept that describes why there is an over- or underrepresentation of a particular race or ethnicity in a sport or specific position based on stereotypical beliefs. If you’re interested in a study that talks about this, maybe check out this one by Daniel Buffington and Todd Fraley, or one I co-authored. In general, though, stacking studies ask participants to place athletes of different races into categories based on the sport or position they play. Basically, one potential study could be me giving you a poster with blank squares that underneath give positions in football. Then, I give you a set of cards with pictures of anonymous football players on them and ask you to put cards in specific squares. Most stacking studies show that people will, for example, put white players in the quarterback or left tackle or center squares and black players in the wide receiver or running back squares.
Does that make sense? That’s racial stacking and it’s essentially a way that stereotyping happens.
Well, that’s what I think we’ve seen Manu do with both Reem and Wendy. Both of these castaways actually look pretty good in challenges, but they don’t look like they should be good in challenges, so we hear folks like the Wardog consistently talk about how they’re not strong. That’s BS.
Now, with that said, can I talk a little about Wendy? While she’s probably a very good person outside of the game, I’m really not digging her as a player. Basically everything she does is counter-intuitive to winning this game. I don’t care if some of it makes her a better person in real life — although the hypercritical stuff with the chicken is not a good look — I want my Survivor players trying to win. She is not doing that at all. Even when players make dumb decisions, that’s OK if they’re decisions aimed at winning. Wendy does not want to win. She wants screen time.
If Manu was smart, Wendy was the move this week. And it’s not because she’s not great athletically, because she’s really good. The reason is, as Wardog actually noted in episode one (sort of), this is not a person to ever align with. She’s not someone who will consistently vote with an alliance. Again, she doesn’t want to win, which means she’s not playing rationally. Good players remove wild cards. Good players don’t target someone like Chris when he’s bringing you consistent information, when he trusts you.
Does this make sense? I know it’s weird I’m not talking about Chris this week, but we barely got to know him and he made some obvious boneheaded moves. There’s really nothing to say.
And that’s the case with most of this season so far. It’s not been good and we don’t know who many of these folks even are at this point. What we do know is the tribe keeps targeting “weak” players who aren’t actually weak, they just look weak (stacking). We know Manu probably couldn’t win an immunity challenge if it was their whole team against just Joe. And we know Wendy is a bad Survivor player who should have gone home week one.
That’s all I got. Let’s just hope this season gets better, but, in the meantime, let’s talk about the remaining, non-Extinction players:
OK, that’s all I got. Let’s talk next week.
Pat Ferrucci started watching Survivor when episode two of Borneo first aired. He's seen every episode since. Besides recapping here, he'll be live-tweeting this season from the Mountain Time Zone. Why? Because nobody cares about the Mountain Time Zone except when they want to ski. Follow him @PatFerrucci for Survivor stuff and tweets about anything and everything that enters his feeble mind.