For the past I don’t know how many years of my life, I’ve had an on and off fling with the show “The Bachelor.” At first, it was fun to watch souls get crushed and hearts destroyed in the wake of primetime drama. I took excessive amounts of pleasure from watching The One Everyone Hates get her wily wiles exposed, or from seeing the cute one I wanted to get the guy actually get the guy.
“The Bachelor” became this guilty pleasure trip for me, one I could tune in or out of at the click of a remote.
But then I started using my brain. It caused me to ask questions, namely:
What in THE HECK am I watching?
Why do I enjoy seeing these girls’ pain?
Who are they, really? Characters? Or human beings?
One blog post later, (two, counting this one), I am not sorry to tell ABC that it’s not me, it’s them.
The honeymoon period is over.
I’m just not that into your TV show, Chris Harrison.
I do not accept your M&M endorsed, pitiful excuse for a rose.
It’s time to end this thing.
“The Bachelor” is the most disgusting, ill-conceived matchmaking show I have ever seen that not only exploits female insecurity, but also advocates unrealistic relationships, hypocritically glorifies and condemns sexuality, and completely strips marriage of any fidelity and sanctity. And those are the nicest things I have to say about it.
In plain English, it is one of the most dishonest, trashy things on TV to date.
As a woman who values her worth, I can’t justify watching it anymore. I have serious issues with “The Bachelor.” Last night, as I winced in severe pain while watching the Final Rose fireside chat, I realized just how messed up this TV show is. For those who chose worthier pursuits (and I applaud you), the show ended with the bachelor, Juan Pablo, not proposing to any girl or telling any girl he loved her, but instead, giving out a rose and a promise to keep seeing one of them.
I was so relieved he didn’t propose that it’s embarrassing to think about how much I cared.
Juan Pablo, doing the honest thing, not caving in to the show’s demands that you propose to someone at the end because he didn’t feel ready to do that, got thrown under the bus by Chris Harrison, the studio audience, and bachelor “alumni,” who obviously know what they’re talking about when it comes to relationships. *insert sarcasm* They tore him to shreds.
How dare you not propose!
You obviously love her.
Don’t slap the hand that feeds you.
Well, let’s just shower that one off.
I can’t say that was enjoyable to watch.
This show, this stupid, pea-brained show basically handed us a microscope and told us, “See, look how messed up this is!” But instead of cheering on Juan Pablo for being honest, everyone bristled in their seats like angry wasps.
Instead of a show forcing human beings to exploit themselves, Juan Pablo got thrown under the bus. Instead of a show that inflicts emotional damage upon contestants, Juan Pablo got thrown under the bus. Instead of this sham of a relationship contest that no one in their right mind can possibly believe works, Juan Pablo got thrown under the bus.
I felt like I was watching Ceaser Flickerman trying to cover up for the fact that his bleeding Hunger Games DIDN’T GO THE WAY THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO.
And if there’s anything YA literature has taught me, it has taught me that we, society, are that horrific Capitol that takes pleasure from watching everyone else suffer. Because it’s entertaining! Heaven forbid someone mess with the rules and eat berries and not propose and rebel against the system.
With that painfully long, tangential prologue, here are five good reasons why we need to stop watching/supporting “The Bachelor.” You think I’m kidding, but I’m not.
1. “The Bachelor” completely warps what sexuality is and how we should think about it.
Let’s get this one out of the way, shall we? From day one, the girls the general public tends to hate the most are the ones who physically throw themselves at the bachelor. I feel, personally, that this is due to the fact that women tend to be jealous about that kind of stuff. We don’t like seeing other girls show off and shove themselves into the arms of attractive men. Why? I don’t know, because there are unspoken rules about that stuff that we’re just wired to follow, I guess. Something. At any rate, we hate that. It’s frowned on. How dare that [insert crude word] do that! we think to ourselves. How dare she throw herself at him! How dare she flaunt herself!
Give it a few weeks time and we’re visiting “the fantasy suite,” and like a magical band-aid, everything’s okay. Oh joy.
Personally, I despise this portion of the show and pretend it doesn’t exist, which doesn’t solve any problems. I think it’s utterly revolting. In essence, what ABC is making us do is reject sexuality until they decide it’s okay. Do you get what I’m saying? Early in the show, that kind of stuff is no bueno. Suddenly, the fantasy suite arrives, and like a magical fairy godmother, the producers paint a beautiful picture around sexuality.
It’s okay. You can do this now, they say.
What a freaking load.
Critics of my opinions would say that that’s what organized religions do anyway, quote unquote dictating that you can’t have sex until you are married. The difference is that the method that honors the individual and monogamous commitment tends to work out excessively better than the other. Argue against that all you want, but there’s a reason why they call it a “hook up.” The fish ain’t stayin’ on that line for long.
As someone who, in general, fights against any illusion that sex before marriage is appropriate, I resent this to the point where my anger burns like an eternal flame inside of me. I resent that TV producers feel that they have any authority to determine the timing and quantity of sexuality. I resent that the entire show parades as a model of the chaste, traditional journey to marriage and then, in Hunger Games sponser-like fashion, parachutes a little silver key into the arena as an incentive, as a “you’ve gotten this far, you deserve it” kind of reward.
It’s horrific, when you think about it. But most people don’t.
2. “The Bachelor” makes family the bad guy.
We’ve all seen the teaser trailers. Desiree takes Shawn home, but her family causes problems! Dun, dun, dun. Cue legitimately concerned brother. Cue father who wants the best for his daughter. Cue mother who can see what no one else seems to see: the show is manipulating her daughter into thinking she’s the one when there are two others.
This show, this ridiculous show that likes to pretend that it’s all about families and marriages paints a very negative image of the very families who should have a say in their child’s life. The families see through the show like it’s glass because they are the ones with a child who might be hurt by it. None of that matters when you are a complete stranger sitting on your behind watching someone else compete for a wedding ring. It only matters when you know them.
Every Bachelor episode I’ve ever seen where the family is not so welcoming has been advertised like it’s Romeo and Juliet or any other silly chick flick where the parents hate the fiance. The biggest difference is that there are typically not three other girls in a relationship with said fiance in those silly chick flicks. The families are the smartest groups of people on the show, but because they get in the way of “marital felicity,” they are the villains.
“The Bachelor” sends the message loud and clear that you should love whoever you want, completely rebelling against your family’s concerns. Yeah. Good message, ABC. ‘Cause it always works out when you pursue someone and/or in some way that your family doesn’t like.
3. “The Bachelor” advocates uncommitted relationships.
I one time knew a girl who was dating two or three guys at the same time because she thought it was okay. I don’t blame that on “The Bachelor,” but when you think about it, the show isn’t doing anything to prevent situations like that.
In fact, it’s doing the exact opposite.
One hypocrisy of the show “The Bachelor” is that everyone expects the winning girl and the man to faithfully date and then marry each other at the end. I hate to burst that rose-colored bubble, but the kind of long-term relationship you have is completely dependent on what kind of dating experience you have. If you date multiple women at the same time, telling all of them that you feel strongly for them, you’re going to feel tied down in a marriage. That’s just how it goes.
So why do we keep forcing fidelity onto this show? Viewers don’t seem to want it. Why do we take so much pleasure watching a man kiss and hug other women at the same time when, in real life, a man who did that would get his butt kicked to the curb so fast that he wouldn’t know what hit him? Why do we accept these things? Because they’re on TV?
These people are still real people. They’re being trained to think that it’s okay to date lots of people at the same time. It’s okay to not commit. I mean, heck, how can you commit when your emotions are going ten different ways?
That’s my biggest gripe with this show. It demands a committed relationship from people who have not prepared properly for it. In so doing, it sends the message that that is okay. And it is not.
4. “The Bachelor” is emotional torture.
This point is related to the last one, so I won’t go into too much detail. Mainly, I don’t like “The Bachelor” because I know how it feels to be strung along, to be the girl that someone seeks out for a fun time instead of a deep, fulfilling relationship. You get that a lot as a female rock climber, because many male climbers are only looking for someone to belay them rather than someone to get to know and love. Yup. Fun times.
Similarly, “The Bachelor” strings along women and causes them to invest in something and be loyal to someone who does not feel the same. It is incredibly painful for me to watch. I know how badly they’ll be hurt, I know how it will feel when they get sent home. They don’t even see it because to see it is to distrust the relationship, and to distrust the relationship is to destroy everything.
Lots of people like to think, “Well, this is what they signed up for.” Maybe it is, but it’s so painful to go through and to watch. Imagine going through that simply to entertain the general public. “The Bachelor” is emotional manipulation at its finest, and we’re kind of sick to enjoy watching it.
How can you enjoy watching this? How?
5. “The Bachelor” insults marriage.
This point has hopefully been made throughout this post, but I’ll reiterate it.
“The Bachelor” prepares no one for marriage, and by forcing marriage onto the same people it has confused and manipulated, it is insulting the whole institution.
Marriage isn’t something you compete for. It isn’t something you do to please other people. Marriage isn’t prepared for by dating lots of people at the same time, putting on a TV face as you date, or doing extravagant things in beautiful places. That is not how you prepare for marriage.
You prepare by doing hard things, like dating one person at a time and communicating with them and seeing if it goes anywhere. You prepare by doing simple things, like complimenting people and serving them, not jumping down their throats or back-biting. You prepare by being your best, even when there aren’t cameras demanding that you have to be.
Marriage and commitment and felicity are everything that this show DOES NOT promote. You don’t “put a ring on it” because you “like it.” You put your trust and your faith and your love in another person because you love them. It isn’t just because you love them more than everyone else, either. It’s because you know them and you understand them and they make you a better person.
THAT is what prepares you for marriage. THAT is the kind of attitude you need to have going into it.
I can’t support a show that doesn’t support that. So I won’t.
I could list many, many, many more reasons why “The Bachelor” is an alarming show, but I think you get the picture.
Do what you will and watch what you want, but as for me and my house, “The Bachelor” ain’t the Juan.