...the one thing I wanted to comment on was the part about the male vs female comp wins.
What you said was in fact true, but keep in mind that...
- The first HoH was thrown to Rachel by ED/Dani. Rachel may have eventually won it anyway - or Dani may also have won it, so for male vs female, the outcome probably doesn't matter on that level (likely still would have been a female win).
- The second HoH was thrown to Jordan. Both Jeff and Brendon had a chance to win this, but we'll never know, because they both threw it.
- The third HoH was thrown to Rachel. Again, we'll never know if Brendon could have won that one, because as soon as everyone else was out, he started answering randomly, until he picked wrong (so Rachel could eat her HoH basket that week on slop).
...aside from other potential reasons (slop, etc), in each case above there was still an element of retained/obtained 'power' in throwing the comps. In other words, throwing the comp to someone (the perceived weaker player) on your team means that you get to compete again the following week with your strongest players.
I think all of the above is just stating the obvious, but it I think it does argue against the idea that the women were the (sole) Power Players this year. I think I'd also add to that, the amount of actual control/power Jeff/Brendon had (or at least wielded) within that alliance - they bullied Adam into flip-flopping around... they bullied Kalia into a 'scolded-fearful-puppy' state, etc.
Having said all of the above - I still do definitely agree that the women of the house ultimately ruled and defined the game this year, with an impressive number of them sharing in that effort.
Finally, of the newbies, you singled out Dom as not being a 'giant miss'... personally, I'd add Cassi to that list (very similar game to Dom's). I just wish we could have seen this particular newbie cast (plus 6 more) _without_ having to deal with the re-runs.