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Double Standards Between Men and Women on Reality TV

Fans of the television show “The Bachelor” had a case of deja vu after Madison Prewett, a female contestant, told the Bachelor that she would not be able to continue pursuing him if he had sex with another female contestant. This exact scenario appeared on Hannah Brown’s season of “The Bachelorette” last year, with all around villain Luke P. who put the Bachelorette in the same situation. While many fans spread online hatred towards Luke P after his conversation with Hannah Brown; Madison is gaining praise for her courage to voice her morals to Bachelor Peter Weber. This whole ordeal sparked a new conversation about the double standards between men and women on reality television. 

 

One factor that needs to be considered is that Luke P and Madison have had completely different portrayals during their time on “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette”. Luke P. instantly became a villain in his season, which instantly made fans biased and dislike him already. Despite his constant manipulation, he managed to make it to the final four on the show. This is where the infamous “sex talk” between him and Hannah occured where he said “I don’t believe that’s something you should be doing. I just want to make sure that you’re not going to be sexually intimate with the other relationships here.” While his tone during the delivery sounds commanding, it is the underlying message that is important. He does not want Hannah to have sex with the other men because of his religious beliefs. 

 

Likewise, Madison is a virgin who is saving herself for marriage and happens to share the same religious beliefs as Luke P. During the dinner portion of her date she says to Peter, “I wouldn’t be able to say yes to an engagement and continue to move forward if you have slept with the other women.”  She continues on to explain how she doesn’t want to come across as judgmental and how she can’t forget about the morals that she has lived by. Compared to Luke P’s conversation with Hannah, Madison clearly looks like the better person, but is it because gender is aiding her in this scenario? 

 

Luke telling Hannah not to have sex sparked controversey because men have been telling women what to do and not do with their bodies for years. Of course no one appreciated his judgment of Hannah’s sex life, but it was his right to express his feelings about sex just like Madison. Is it equally as wrong for Madison to give Peter an ultimatum and tell him what not to do with his body? At the end of the day nobody should be told who they can have sex with and when, especially in an enviornment like “The Bachelor” where the premiss of the show is that the relationships aren’t exclusive. 

 

Looking at the situation I have to say that there is definitely a double standard because the delivery and tone may have been completely different, but the message was the same. However, it is Madison’s likeability and a collective hatred of Luke P. that makes me continue questioning my own stance on the situation.

Junior, Film major and Women's Studies minor
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