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Culture > Entertainment

The Bachelor is Not Bad for Feminism

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

The conversation around the popular reality television show The Bachelor is often one that shames women for enjoying the show. We are told the show is not one of female empowerment because of its premise of women competing for a man. While the show certainly has its faults, I find that this critique of the show lacks nuance. 

I’m a big Bachelor fan. It’s an escape for me, but it’s also a show I genuinely get invested in. I follow the women on social media and keep up with couples to see how long they’ll last. I even listen to podcasts from former contestants. I find the entire franchise fascinating and the transformation of the show that has come from social media fascinating as well. In many ways, the show has become less about finding love and more about finding a way to become “famous” enough to make the internet a full-time career. The production of the show is also fascinating as every season becomes more and more dramatic at the hands of the producers creating unbelievable scenarios.  I also have a strange family connection to the franchise as a former “Bachelor,” Juan Pablo Galavis (yes, he was the homophobic one, unfortunately) is a distant cousin of mine. I’m genuinely invested in the franchise, and maybe I get defensive when people insult it because of that. I do understand the criticism and agree with a lot of it, but I think, ultimately, something I’ve taken away from my time as a member of “Bachelor Nation,” is that female friendships always come out strong no matter the circumstance.

Man Kissing Woman Holding Selfie Stick
James Frid / Pexels

The shows’ premise of literally pitting women against each other as they compete for a man is one that is often criticized, but despite the intense environment these women are put into, the strongest relationships that come from the show are the friendships between the contestants. The Bachelor isn’t necessarily the best at creating fruitful romantic relationships, but it definitely is successful at creating lasting female friendships. While some women don’t get along and there is obviously conflict, the positive bonds persist. The contestants spend more time with each other throughout the process than they ever do with the lead and this along with the high stakes environment, creates extreme bonds as well as extreme conflict. The process of being on the show is a unique one that creates a sisterhood. Contestants have been part of each other’s weddings or gone on to host podcasts together. On Hannah Brown’s season, her friends from the show made appearances in the pilot to help her weed out a contestant who had a girlfriend at home.

Kayla Bacon-Love Your Melon Group
Kayla Bacon / Her Campus
The Bachelorette is more and more becoming a show where a female lead can be a multifaceted woman, especially after Hannah Brown’s season, and Bachelor in Paradise made progress towards LGBT inclusivity last season as well. While the franchise has a long way to go on a lot of fronts, it is succeeding in showing us the power of female friendships no matter the circumstance.

Emi is an English major at Kenyon College who loves Taylor Swift, her cat, and her twin sister.
Jenny Nagel

Kenyon '20

Jenny is a writer and Campus Correspondent for Her Campus Kenyon. She is currently a senior English and Psychology double major at Kenyon College, and in her free time she loves to sing, cuddle cats, and fangirl over musicals.