Why I Support the New Bachelorette

I wasn’t always a fan of “The Bachelor” franchise. But ever since Colton Underwood’s season, it’s admittedly become my guilty pleasure (especially considering my all access to every season during quarantine). As much as I enjoy the dramatic entrances and extravagant dates, I’ve noticed that there isn’t that much diversity in who is casted as the Bachelor or Bachelorette.

When they announced the new Bachelorette for season 16, to say I was surprised is an understatement. Clare Crawley, a former contestant on “The Bachelor” and some spinoff shows, was announced as the new Bachelorette at age 39.

Her age wouldn’t be a surprise if the franchise wasn’t notorious for casting people in their 20s. The age difference is even more noticeable after this past season of “The Bachelor” was mostly made up of women younger than 26. There’s always been a stigma around older contestants, especially jokes about being a “cougar.” Along with that, Crawley faced backlash on social media for her age.

To be honest, I was a little put off by her age at first. I wasn’t sure why until I realized it was because of what society has taught me about aging and dating. Don’t get me wrong. Crawley isn’t old by any means. However, there has always been a societal pressure for women to get married and start their families by a certain age.

In 1962, 90 percent of 30-year-olds were married. Only 51 percent of 30 year olds have been married at least once in 2019. While more people wait to settle down after establishing careers and other societal factors, there is still stigma against women who are out of their 20s and single.

Why is there so much pressure to meet your significant other before a certain age? I realized that I was raised with this notion. My parents married by 25, having me not long after, so I just always assumed my life would follow the same trajectory. Subconsciously, I always thought that was the only path my life could take and if I didn’t meet the deadline, I’d be single forever.

This couldn’t be farther from the truth. There is no right age to meet your soul mate. It will just happen. Sometimes it will happen rom com style, and other times it will be so unromantic you may wonder if it was worth all the nerves. Either way, your age and relationship status have no reflection on how lovable you are or how awesome your life is all on its own.

There may be more upsides to waiting. It gives you more time to grow as a person and on your own terms. It gives you time to find out what genuinely makes you happy. Most importantly, it gives you time to learn what you want in a partner or if you even want a partner at all.

It may seem like never ending heart breaks and disappointing dates, but these experiences will shape you into the person who is ready to take on life with someone else.

Crawley is the perfect example of this. Through her seasons of “The Bachelor” and their spinoff shows, she has come to learn what she wants in a partner, shedding the shallowness that comes with being 20-something. She has also learned to accept nothing less than what she deserves, with one of her famous quotes being, “I’m tired of wasting my breath on men who don’t deserve it.”

During “Good Morning America’s” Bachelorette announcement, Crawley said, “For me it’s more years under my belt, more learning what I want, what I don’t want and what I won’t settle for.”

She doesn’t care about a six pack or a nice car. She cares more about someone that fits into her already full life and will care about her as much as she cares about him. I hope she finds her guy, but more importantly, I hope this season will give viewers a strong woman who won’t settle for less than she deserves.

While her season is currently on a break due to the corona virus pandemic, they are currently recasting her potential beaus. Everything is still on hold until everyone is safe, but she is still accepting applications to be a contestant on the show.

With the announcement of Clare Crawley as the new Bachelorette, I hope the franchise continues to make progressive changes in their casting. With as much influence “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” have, they should continue to change up the lineup and cast people who reflect modern society so our notions of love can change with the times.