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Is The Bachelor Anti-Feminist?

I had never watched The Bachelor before this season and I have to say, I’ve had quite the mix of initial thoughts. There are 29 girls vying for the attention of one guy. He’s basically seen as the most amazing human that’s ever walked this Earth. I understand that the point of the show is to have one guy and lots of girls in hopes that he will find a connection with one, but the whole concept is a little far-fetched.

How are you supposed to force love? Why are they all expected to instantly fall head over heels for this guy?  Here are my impressions on The Bachelor, and whether or not it fairly represents women and the fragile construct of love. The Bachelor takes the archaic idea, of a woman fighting for the affection of a man who is completely in control, to a whole new level. The girls on the show are almost powerless. They don’t get to make the decision to continue things with the man, they instead have to be granted a rose as a pass to stay another week. This construct puts the man in a position to send home a girl based on very shallow concepts. In the first few episodes, especially the premiere, the Bachelor, Arie, dismissed contestants without knowing them at all. It is only logical to think that he based this decision on their appearance, living up to the stereotype that guys care more about the appearance of their partners than women do.

Time after time this season’s bachelor picks girls based on appearance and physical chemistry. Arie on this season even mentions how he was intimidated by contestant Jacqueline because of her intelligence. She is on her way to earning her Ph.D. and isn’t exactly going to give up her dreams to be a housewife. She asks Arie, “Why do you think you wouldn’t gravitate towards someone intelligent?” Arie avoids this question, but still gives Jacqueline a rose so it’s unclear what he’s actually looking for in a woman.

Even though the women in the Bachelor mansion tend to be pretty cutthroat about winning over the bachelor himself, there is the potential for them to be encouraging to one another. In this season, two of the contestants, Kendall and Krystal, are on a two-on-one date with Arie. Krystal has a history of not getting along with the other girls and has often acted in hurtful ways towards them. Kendall has a talk with Krystal, encouraging her to stop tearing down other people as a way to deal with the hardships she has experienced in her life. Kendall shows a lot of empathy and support, even though Krystal doesn’t feel comforted. It’s a nice reminder that not all the girls in the show are all about competition.

As much as I enjoyed watching the drama of this show unfold, I have a hard time believing it really has a purpose other than providing entertainment to its audience. After all, most relationships that originate on the show don’t make it very far after the show’s completion. I can’t help but think that part of this stems from the fact that traditional dating practices that place substantially more power in the male, just don’t work. Sure, if that’s how your relationship ends up happening, that’s great! However, this, combined with girls being pitted against each other, seems to be a recipe for disaster.

Cover photo credit: ABC

 

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Sonja is a senior at Boston University from New Hampshire studying journalism. On campus, Sonja works to promote various brands to the college audience. She has been an ambassador for Razor Scooters, Venmo, Rent the Runway, Comcast Xfinity, and BEARPAW Shoes! When she's not writing or working, she loves exploring restaurants and taking pictures around Boston!