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David vs Goliath: Media Themes on Inequality

The theme for this season of the show ‘Survivor’ is David vs Goliath. ‘Survivor’ pits two teams against one another in a series of challenges each week and then hold a vote to see who goes and who stays. The teams were chosen based on the premise that some applicants were either ‘lucky’ Goliaths or ‘unlucky’ Davids in life. The Goliaths are overwhelmingly from middle class backgrounds, are physically fit, and well educated. The Davids are from lower class families, are physically weaker, and are less educated. The separation of socioeconomic class based solely on a ‘luck’ factor is eerie because it challenges the idea that there is equal opportunity in America.┬áIt appears that the Davids are at a disadvantage, and have been their whole lives, whereas the Goliaths seem plain lucky. One Goliath refuted this, claiming she understood the Davids’ struggles because she had to work hard in medical school. The host asked if anyone on the David team had the opportunity to go to medical school. No one raised their hand. In fact, most had joined the work force out of high school.

Another interesting disparity between teams was the difference in teamwork. The Goliaths were too busy competing to be the alpha to build an effective shelter, whereas the Davids quickly fell into rank based on their individual skill sets to complete a sturdy, elevated shelter. The individualistic tendencies of the Goliath team progressed to the point where everyone split off to find an immunity totem. Despite the strong team dynamic of the David team, they lost the first challenge. As if scripted, the leader of the Davids was injured and medically evacuated. At an all time low, the Davids mirrored their positions in life. But, in a fitting twist, the Davids currently outnumber the Goliaths, continuing to work as a close knit team. By pitting the privileged against the marginalized, the show both shows the strong divide between social classes as well as suggests that it needn’t be that way. It offers a unique catharsis of class tensions while rejecting social-Darwinist ideas that are becoming alarmingly resurgent in justifying inequality. Survivor aims to see whether the end will be an underdog or top-dog victory, and as of now, it seems the Davids are winning.

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