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Survivor

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Gender Bias

Is ''Survivor'''s battle of the sexes unfair? The ladies cite guys' natural jungle ablities, while creator Mark Burnett cheers their girl power

Janet Koth, Survivor: The Amazon | 'AMAZON' QUEEN Koth questions her girl power
Image credit: Janet Koth: Robert Voets
'AMAZON' QUEEN Koth questions her girl power

There's a snake in the grass on the set of ''Survivor: The Amazon'' -- and we're not talking about those anacondas. Creator Mark Burnett didn't decide until well after the 16 Survivors were cast that he would make the show a battle of the sexes. When the women learned of his decision, needless to say they felt blindsided. ''In that kind of harsh environment men have a definite physical advantage,'' says homemaker Janet Koth, 47, the first female castaway to be booted. ''Everybody can starve in similar ways, but when you're required to chop down trees...the only way it would have been a fair fight was to give us a chain saw.'' Burnett has no sympathy. ''A little girl with spirit and drive can do anything,'' he says. ''It's the classic Mars versus Venus. It's the way you would expect men to behave -- juvenile at times and very driven. And the women broke into awful catfights and at other times were very nurturing, washing each other's bodies in a sensual way.'' Okay, now we understand what he was going for.

Originally posted Mar 06, 2003 Published in issue #699 Mar 07, 2003 Order article reprints