Survivor Edge of Extinction: Yup, women can find idols too

Photo: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

For the first time in Survivor history, three different female castaways have found an idol in the same season.

After Lauren found her idol a few weeks ago,  I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to write an analysis piece on women finding early idols. Little did I know, that both Aubry and now Wentworth would find their own on Survivor: Edge of Extinction, forcing me to write another article on this topic.

There has been so much talk lately from both fans and castaways about the gender imbalance of finding Hidden Immunity Idols. The facts are clear, out of the 99 idols found in 37 seasons of Survivor, only 18 have been found by women. That’s it. 82% of them have been found by men.

Is this just an old school trend? Nope. In the past six seasons alone, men have found 33 idols compared to just two by women! However, that trend ended abruptly, as the past four idols have all been discovered by the girls of the group.

Survivor: Edge of Extinction Idols
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Now that we got all the numbers out of the way, we can’t help but ask why this trend is so lopsided? In a scene a few episodes ago, Julie went on a little rant questioning why the guys are always out and about looking for idols, while the girls are stuck doing the chores. Maybe that is a key factor to these overwhelming stats, that the men are able to sneak away more easily without getting heat for it.

Or possibly it’s because the men are usually the ones with bigger targets, especially coming into the merge, so they feel greater pressure to search for an idol. I’m not going to go in further detail than that, as there are many in-depth articles on this topic including Jeff Pitman’s thorough analysis of all the factors affecting who finds an idol.

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Whatever the reason, the women of this season are trying to shatter these trends. In her pre-game interview with Josh Wigler, Wentworth discussed her new strategy to look for idols. Instead of trying to sneak off on her own, she wanted to institute group idol hunts. Kelley stayed true to her pre-game plans, and it was during these tribe idol hunts that Lauren and herself were able to come up with a Hidden Immunity Idol.

Finding an idol is one thing though, using it correctly is another story. Lauren became the tenth female castaway to enter the merge with an idol, and Wentworth is the first to do it twice. Out of the nine other players who came into the merge with an idol in the show’s history, five of them played theirs correctly, and six made it to the Final Four.

So the odds are looking good for Lauren and Wentworth despite being in an apparent minority. Although it’s usually not a good idea to tell others that you have an idol, we saw how much power the David tribe gained last season by planning out their advantages and idols together.

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Looking at how close Wentworth and Lauren are, I can only see them working together, and possibly keeping their old tribe members alive. As this is only the second time in Survivor history that two women possess an idol at the same time, I’m excited to watch how this powerful duo might be able to take control of this game.