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5 Issues With the Portrayal of Women in The Bachelor and How We Can Fix It

Like many other Americans, I am also guilty of enjoying the Monday night special. It has become a bit of a weekly tradition to sit down and watch The Bachelor with a hot cup of chamomile tea in my house. People watch reality TV typically to feel better about their own lives—something about watching the issues of others in a public way makes us feel that our own lives are not all that bad. I used to not think too much about the downsides of reality TV, I knew it was mainly scripted and that it’s a nice way to relax at the end of the day. Reality TV is very mindless, especially The Bachelor where you can jump in at any time and enjoy it all the same. If you miss an episode, you can easily catch up by looking at Twitter as well. Recently, I found myself looking maybe a little too deep into the beloved television show, and found a lot of issues with it. Here are 5 of the biggest issues with how The Bachelor portrays women and how we can fix this.

All Women are the Same Size

Has anyone else noticed that on group dates all the women pick from the same clothing rack? It might be a small thing, but this heavily implies that all of the women are the same size, which is completely unrealistic. If you look at all of the girls as well, there are no plus-sized princesses included in the mix. There is no diversity in size, becoming clear that The Bachelor still favors the idea that a beautiful woman is a lean woman, which is a horrible message for viewers. 

Toxic High School Like Behavior 

This current season (Season 25) has, more than ever, women causing drama and fighting with one another. In the latest episode, one of the “villains” of the show, Anna, began spreading rumors about one of the newer contestants being an escort in a way to turn other women in the house against her. If that is not bad enough, in episode three when Sarah was debating leaving Victoria, Kit and Serena C began attacking her and promised to make her living situation toxic and unbearable. Mature Queen Katie (another contestant) came to the rescue and brought the drama to the attention of Matt (the bachelor) but if she had not, who knows how long this toxic behavior would continue? Is this really the way women should be portrayed when in a group setting too? In reality, yes, there is no such thing as a group of people living together in perfect harmony without any fighting ever occurring. However, I want to see more support—more Katies being portrayed on The Bachelor. I understand that the drama is what makes it entertaining, and I would be lying if I said I was not amused by it. However, viewers need to understand that bullying is not okay, and it should never be tolerated.

Pre-Judging People We Do Not Know  

This season, the show did something new. Five new women were added to the show as contestants after four weeks in. This decision was completely made by the producers and had absolutely nothing to do with the women as individuals. It is unfair for the “OG” girls to be judging the new girls so harshly over something that was not their decision. It is also ridiculous to see some of the viewers’ responses to the show. I get making a meme or two, but to viciously attack how people look and come to conclusions about their entire character based on a scripted show is crossing the line. If you do not have something nice to say about another person—whether you know them or not—it is best to just keep it to yourself and only speak kind words, especially when it comes to internet posts.

Neglecting Family Obligations and Career for a Man  

I think this is what bothers me the most about the show. All of the women who are on the show have jobs that they left behind to compete in The Bachelor. They all also left behind family and friends just to be on the show. I do think that it is ok for people to make their own decisions, however, I think it is also important to show the value of other aspects of the lives of women. We hardly hear about anything other than their intentions in the competition. I think showing some scenes of the women talking about their careers, families, or even becoming friends and showing healthy friendships would help make the show more well rounded.

Favoring Looks Over Anything Else 

Along with the issues that come with the lack of diversity in body types, there is also the issue of how shallow the men and women come off in this show. I feel that they hold way too much value on how people look in regards to both the men and the women who are cast. It is important to understand that meaningful relationships (especially those that end in a healthy, life long marriage) need to be based on so much more than looks. I think some blind dates, or choosing candidates without looking at their photos might help improve this issue. 

The Bachelor is not by any means the only reality show with issues! None of them are perfect, and many have a lot of work to do to improve. We can enjoy shows like this so long as the issues are recognized and flaws are explained to younger audiences who might be negatively affected by the show’s portrayals and messages. It is also important to take television for what it is and understand that a lot of these events are heavily scripted to create drama. 

Julia Fuchs

Rutgers '22

Julia is a senior at Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences. Academically, she is interested in Egyptian archaeology and art history. Outside of classes Julia loves fashion, coffee, art, music and is a dedicated feminist! Her Campus is a way for her to combine all of her interests in a journalistic setting, and an organization she loves being a part of!
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