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In Defense of The Bachelor

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

Whether you love it or hate it, it’s hard to avoid the cultural phenomenon that is The Bachelor. Though the show began all the way back in 2002, it has taken off in recent years with the current season featuring Ben Higgins bringing in 7.5 million viewers on the premiere night.

As a Bachelor fan, I get a lot of hate from other people about liking the show. Why would a self-respecting girl enjoy watching 28 women compete for one man, embarrassing themselves on national TV while leaving the show heartbroken?

When you put it that way it sounds pretty bad.

But I would argue there’s more to the show than most people think. In order to understand the skepticism and criticism people have towards the show, I turned to one of the show’s biggest critics himself—my father.

My dad’s a cool guy. He likes reading the news, hiking, and pretty much only watches TV when there’s a game on.  He hates The Bachelor. In order to attempt to shed some light on common arguments against the show, I asked him to give some reasons he couldn’t stand the show.

“Ok well, let’s see….um, I think it’s anti-women and discriminatory against women. Even The Bachelorette. Basically, the shows objectify women and put too much emphasis on outward beauty. It doesn’t explore what really counts in people. It emphasizes external beauty over characterit’s misleading in what matters in the world.

Wow, Dad, bringing out the big guns early! I see his point—the show is incredibly focused on looks. Especially in the first few episodes, the Bachelor simply doesn’t have enough time to get to know each girl personally before making a decision if he likes them or not. But is this really so different from dating in the “real world”? Whether you like it or not, physical attraction and chemistry plays a huge role in the dating world.  All of the girls on italic”>The Bachelor  are stunning but it’s only natural that the Bachelor will feel more attracted to certain girls over others. As for the objectification of women, I would actually argue that because the vast majority of the viewers are women, men fall victim to objectification. Still not saying this is okay, but to a certain extent these men know what they’re getting themselves into.

(Completely necessary to show Season 17’s Bachelor Sean Lowe “getting ready” for his date)

“The purpose of it is to entertain and it misleads people in believing that it actually imitates life. It’s entertainment, not reality. People believe it’s reality so they want that reality for themselves. It warps people’s view of the world and their own desires.”

Sorry, Dad, but I’m going to have to argue with this one a little bit. While a small minority of viewers might believe the show imitates reality, I’d bet that most people watch it for the entertainment factor and don’t actually expect something similar to happen to them. The whole concept of the show is unnatural and weird. Do we even want something like this to happen to us? It seems stressful.

“It glamorizes romance over relationships.”

This is true, and the show can be cheesy at times. But is a little romance really so bad in this world of negativity? It’s no secret that viewers love romance. And there are worse things in this world to appreciate and celebrate.

“In choosing contestants, my guess is that it’s all about looks and character doesn’t really play much of a role in auditioning for that show.”

You can’t deny that looks plays a big role in choosing contestants for the show. But the contestants are generally fairly representative of people you would meet in real life—some are shallow and superficial, and others are smart, capable people with tons of redeeming qualities. Watch any season to find inspiring stories as contestants open up and share personal details about their lives. At the end of the day, who are we to judge these people? We don’t really know them, we just see them on TV.

“Well, I don’t really know that much about the show.”

My point exactly. People are quick to judge without even ever watching a full season of the show. In the words of Sean Lowe (Season 17 Bachelor now happily married and expecting a baby with Catherine Lowe, who he met on the show), “sometimes the right path might seem like a crazy move.” The Bachelor is a crazy process that often fails. But it does bring people together–in all, 6 couples from The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, and Bachelor in Paradise have been married. Many more have become great friends from going on the show together and created lasting memories.

(Nikki Ferrell and Andi Dorfman became good friends on Bachelor Season 18)

The Bachelor isn’t the most realistic or wholesome reality show, but it’s not as bad as some people make it out to be. So love your friends, love yourself, and don’t feel bad for loving The Bachelor. 

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Hey guys! My name is Hannah Beighle and I'm a sophomore originally from Seattle, WA but am loving my new home in Breen-Phillips Hall at Notre Dame. You can find me spending all of my flex points (and my friends' flex points) at Starbucks or getting sunburned outside. I love baking, playing sports, binge-watching reality TV, and spending time with friends!