Is 'The Bachelor(ette)' More Than Just A Show?

If you are anything like me, your summer consisted of watching 2018 Bachelorette Becca Kufrin look for love. The 14th Bachelorette season in the ABC franchise was one of the most popular and most watched seasons of the show. Take me, for instance. Prior to this season I rolled my eyes at Bachelor(ette) fans, but this season I jumped off the deep end. I’m talking deep, as in making a bracket for The Bachelorette deep. It’s not all rainbows and unicorns, though. With Bachelorette in Paradise in full swing, here’s my two cents on this reality TV emporium.

For those of you who have no clue what the show is about, here is the premise. The bachelor or bachelorette looks for love among a group of twenty-somethings. The contestants live in a multi-million-dollar home and go on unrealistic dates to dreamy destinations around the globe. While living in the mansion, contestants are cut off from reality, stripped of social media and other contact to the outside world. Doesn’t sound like the average relationship, does it?

Because of this vastly unrealistic lifestyle and, in the nicest way I can put, “unconventional” dating, this show has been quick to draw criticism — namely for its romanization of toxic relationships. The phrase “toxic relationship” has been thrown around a lot lately, but what does it actually mean?

ccording to psychalive.org, “a toxic relationship is characterized by repeated and mutual destructive tendencies between the couple.” For example, in the latest season of the show, 28-year-old Blake was chosen for the first one-on-one of the season. For those who don’t know “the Bach” lingo, a “one-on-one” is essentially a date between the bachelor(ette) and a contestant. In this one-on-one, the date was centered on the two bashing mementos that reminded her of her ex, Arie Jr (aka the previous Bachelor). To spell it out, the producers concocted this entire date to surface the topic of Becca’s ex and her problem with getting over him and moving on in a healthy relationship. This isn’t the first, and certainly not the last, mention of Arie.

You don’t have to be a psychologist to agree that having your first date revolve around a traumatic ending of your last relationship is unhealthy. Not to mention, the new men shouldn’t always have to bring it up and feel like they have to prove themselves against the ex. It’s hard enough to deal with a breakup, let alone a broken engagement, without having it nationally televised and exploited for all it is worth.

I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that I know all of this is done for drama and ratings. This kind of drama was also seen with 30-year-old Florida native Chris, whose drama led me to several late-night bonding/gossip sessions with friends. We may have wanted Becca to end up with different men, *cough cough* Garrett, but the one thing we could agree on was that Chris and his crazy outburst was the worst. If you don’t know Chris or didn’t watch the show, it’s at least worth watching just a sliver of what happened.

 

As fun as it is, though, the realization that we were bonding over this shameful display of toxic masculinity was hard to overcome. The overall lack of respect Chris had for Becca and the blame he thrusted on her as he accused her of not being as “into” the relationship as he wanted her to be had me rethinking if the show really had any redeeming qualities. The concept of 2 dozen eager contestants pining after the affection of one person didn’t seem appealing anymore.

Coming from a single girl who lives for brainless TV, this is saying a lot. I am well aware that this is just another sector in the reality TV void but maybe, just maybe, we can start expecting more of our shows. We so desperately want our world, and the people in it, to change but we continue to condone shows like The Bachelor and all its spinoffs. The reality is we can sit in front of a TV and claim that what we watch doesn’t affect our daily lives, but that’s just not the case. If we want to see healthier relationships, and we want to see toxic masculinity as a thing of the past, it’s time we expect more of ourselves and the media we consume.