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Nick Viall Isn’t The Problem

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Alabama chapter.

The Bachelor to college women is like football to Alabama residents; it’s our common language. No matter what differences you may have with someone, chances are you can start up a conversation about who you want to win or what you think about the latest contestant to go home. As someone who has watched the show since before Trista and Ryan, I am quite familiar with its ins and outs and have gotten my sorority sisters, roommates, and even my dad and brother hooked on this guilty pleasure of mine. Ever since Nick Viall was announced as the next Bachelor, it seems to be all my friends can talk about. If you think he is the most problematic part of the show, you are not paying attention. 

Nick is not my all-time favorite contestant, nor was he my top pick for Ben’s successor. However, if we are going to hate on him for being douchey we might as well hate on every immature young adult who has ever schemed their way into someone’s heart. The producers know he is a polarizing character and that’s exactly why they chose him. This season’s ratings are most likely going to be huge as people tune in to see what happens to the guy they love to hate as he takes his fourth try at televised love. The premise of finding love by process of elimination from a group of people is intriguing and makes for good TV. That being said, the structure of The Bachelor takes advantage of young women looking for their Prince Charming and exploits their insecurities, villianizes certain ones through editing footage, and pits them against each other while promoting the idea that a woman’s worth comes from their appeal to the opposite sex.

Unfortunately, objectifying messages are all too common in today’s media. From a young age, girls are taught that their looks matter most and if someone does not like them back then it is probably due to a fatal flaw inherent within them rather than simply not being compatible with that person. At my school I have met dozens of women who were told their whole lives that college is for finding a husband, and these same women become troubled and heartbroken if they graduate without a “ring by spring,” no matter what else they accomplish during their four years. On The Bachelor, 25 women vy for one man’s attention, and if it doesn’t work out then they confront the same negative thought patterns that my peers have been socialized to adopt. Women should focus on their strengths rather than over-analyzing their weaknesses. There is more to life than finding the one, and it is completely possible to live a fulfilling life without a romantic partner.

Dating is hard whether your journey is broadcasted to millions or not, but it is completely unfair for The Bachelor to take women and put them on a platform where they become incredibly vulnerable to body shaming, slut shaming, and endless spewing of hatred on social media. There is no shame in having emotions or showing them, especially when going through something as impactful as falling for someone or having your heart broken by them. The chances of The Bachelor’s cancellation anytime soon are slim to none, though if you decide to watch it, try to make sure your reactions don’t enforce the idea that women taking a chance at finding a husband on a reality show somehow means they deserve to be brought down. Remind the women in your life how much they matter to you and how worthy of love they are. If you feel like someone is your competition for a significant other or a job, don’t use that as an excuse to turn them into your enemy, too. Everyone has unique qualities that should be celebrated, and no one deserves to be criticized so harshly for something as silly as their boyfriend.

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Helmi Henkin

Alabama '18

Helmi is a senior at The University of Alabama from Menlo Park, California studying psychology and French. She has been to 78 countries on seven continents! Her favorites are Finland (since that's where her family lives), Bali and Antarctica. When she's not in class or traveling she loves reading, singing and songwriting, and hanging out with friends.