I openly admit to watching ‘The Bachelor’ New Zealand. I admit to curling up in my beanbag every Monday and Tuesday night and happily watching these girls compete to find a connection with Jordan.
Is The Bachelor a good concept for a TV show? In terms of entertainment, yes.
But honestly, in terms of society? Probably not.
It’s 20+ girls fighting over one man. He dates them all, kisses them and then sends them home one by one when they fail to fulfil his expectations of his perfect women. Additionally the girls on the show tend to fit very classic standards of beauty and while there is some diversity in race and age, they also represent a very narrow demographic. As much as I enjoy watching the show I would be lying if I didn’t say I find the concept of it problematic.
Yet my main problem isn’t with the supporters of the show but those who hate it. There are many valid points arguing against The Bachelor, but often those who are the most vocal in their dislike are also the ones with the most deplorable attitudes towards the women themselves.
“It’s bad for women,” a friend tells me smugly, “but also do you think that bitch Naz has had a boob job?”
“That show is disgusting because he sent a girl home because she didn’t sleep with him,” another informs me. “Any girl who enters is really fucking stupid.”
Yes, I can agree that show has a lot of issues. Yes, I can agree that we need more discussion on the foundations of a good relationship. But for what it is, I do not agree that the women who participate in the show deserve to be ridiculed, harassed or degraded. They do not deserve to be humiliated, embarrassed or overtly sexualised by the media. If you are arguing in the name of feminism then you really need to check your attitude.
At the end of the day these women chose to enter into the show – they chose to participate in this wild and crazy competition to find love. Rejection, especially televised rejection is terrifying, yet they put themselves out on the line and they gave it a shot. They’re brave -they’re really brave and they deserve to be treated like people.
Because although objectively this season of The Bachelor was shit and the framing and characterisations this season were awful, so many of the girls have proved the ‘catty’ stereotype wrong and come out of this whole thing as friends.
Throughout season two the competitors repetitively pushed the idea that they supported each other. They talked about their friendships with each other, they described it as a journey and they didn’t have any regrets. All of them have come across as really cool, normal people. The kind of women who you’d meet out in town or down at the beach. Good sorts.
So yeah, for sure continue to express your opinion on The Bachelor. The dynamics of relationships continue to change and we need to have way more open discussion on what is healthy and what is good. The discourse brought on by the show could be a really positive thing, but only if we remember what we are fighting for – and the people we don’t need to be fighting against.