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'The way they just disregarded her was so dirty,' say netizens who think Physical: 100's latest challenge discriminates against female contestants

'The way they just disregarded her was so dirty,' say netizens who think Physical: 100's latest challenge discriminates against female contestants
With Jang Eun-sil's Team 10 consisting of three women, the others deemed them not strong enough to form an alliance with.
PHOTO: Screengrab/YouTube/The Swoon

Everyone likes a good underdog story.

In Netflix's new competitive variety show Physical: 100, last week's episodes saw 50 contestants vote for 10 team leaders including fan-favourites MMA fighter Choo Sung-hoon (also known as Yoshihiro 'Sexyama' Akiyama) and Winter Olympics gold medallist Yun Sung-bin.

The final pick happened to be the only woman to lead a team, wrestler Jang Eun-sil, and some fans have been rooting for her team of underdogs, consisting of three women and stragglers who weren't picked by other leaders.

They were probably seen as easy opponents by fellow wrestler Nam Kyung-jin (who was voted second among the team leaders) and his team of heavyweights including a national team rugby player and a Navy UDT/Seal.

"They chose our team and then said they were sorry, but they don't have to feel sorry," Eun-sil said. "We don't know who will win until we enter the arena.

"We'll show them how strong we are."

Warning: spoilers ahead.

Episodes five and six which were released yesterday (Feb 7) start off with the great underdog story of how Eun-sil's Team 10 managed to win against Kyung-jin's team.

Episode six also saw five eliminated contestants, including Seong Chi-hyun who had a leg injury, win a comeback round to form an additional team.

But despite the heartwarming story of David beating Goliath, the next challenge again placed Team 10 at a disadvantage.

In the third quest, teams had to pair up and move a 1.5-tonne ship, and with Team 10 consisting of three women, the others deemed them not strong enough to form an alliance with.


Contestants could be seen discussing: "We just have to avoid those two teams since [Team 10 is] mostly women, and Chi-hyun has got a leg injury."

Another said: "We could steer them to form a group that would most likely come last."

"Moving a ship requires a tremendous amount of strength. I thought that a team that mostly consists of men would be at an advantage," said Ma Sun-ho of Team 7.

Park Jin-yong of Team 8 said: "For an easy win, I wanted to team up with Sung-bin, because all of them are guys, but everyone else must be thinking the same way."


Eun-sil confronted the men later, asking Team 8 leader Jo Jin-hyeong: "Do we look like ordinary women to you?"

She also reminded the rest that her team defeated their strong opponents led by Kyung-jin.

Eventually, Team 10 and the five who were previously eliminated — including a fourth woman, fitness YouTuber Shim Eu-ddeum — were forced to form a new team as the others — full of bodybuilders, strongmen contestants and only two other women in total — joined forces.

Twitter users were in uproar over how the women were glanced over by the male contestants.

"Jang Eun-sil is so tired of these men," one tweet read. "Same, girl, same."

Another Twitter user responded: "I am too; the way they just disregarded her was so dirty."

A Twitter user shared screenshots of male contestants saying: "A woman made it back? That's incredible" and "I was surprised that Jang Eun-sil's team won."

"I don't know why these men are so surprised whenever a woman exerts their very best here," the tweet read. "They are part of the show for a reason and they've survived till now — they are strong just like you."

In a Reddit thread discussing the "unfairness" of the show, one comment read: "The most unfair part is the way they divided teams, in my opinion. The female leader of the 10th team got put in a s***** position for doing well. She would have been better off not being voted."

"They became the underdog team again because of the unfair position they were in to begin with. In my opinion, the third quest should have reshuffled all the teams," another Redditor wrote.

Yet another comment suggested that they should have let Eun-sil's team pick their allies first to balance out the fact that she got the last picks for her choice in teammates, stating: "Ridiculous she's been punished twice."

'All the contestants knew what they were getting into'

While some netizens were up in arms about the alleged discrimination against women in the show, others weren't bothered as the different challenges showed different aspects of strength.

"All the contestants knew what they were getting into, and if there was a parkour event or relay race, some of those giant dudes would fall like flies," one Redditor wrote prior to the third challenge being revealed.

Others recalled how the death-match challenge favoured wrestlers and MMA fighters, which resulted in Kyung-jin winning despite picking a prison guard who was physically larger than him: "The pro-wrestlers basically had a free card for the first challenge, it's not even about men and women in this case."

One Reddit user reckoned that there was no way "pitting 100 physically fit people of different genders, ages and weights" could be fair, writing: "This is also a variety show at its core. It is meant for entertainment, so entertainment value trumps over fairness."


While the latest episodes left us with a cliffhanger — only showing the first two combined teams and not Eun-sil and her new team — fans of the underdogs remain optimistic that the latter could succeed in pulling the 1.5-tonne ship with better planning.

"The other teams weren't using physics in their favour. Pulling against friction, pushing into the ramp rather than pulling it up, pulling at poor angles," one comment on Reddit read.

Another read: "Tactics are very important here. They could use the tools they have way better than the other teams."

Physical: 100 streams on Netflix with two new episodes every Tuesday.

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