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

Desiree Hartsock became the Bachelorette in May 2013. This was when I officially started watching the Bachelorette show, and later that year, The Bachelor when it aired. Since becoming a dedicated fan at the age of 13, I’ve watched every season that has interested me, as well as tuning into Bachelor in Paradise to observe even more relationship drama and attempts at love. Eight years later, I still get excited for Monday nights when the show airs and I can watch 2 hours of arguably staged drama and sappy romance.

Since I started watching the show, I’ve observed solid relationships but also ones I knew were destined for failure. However, in general , I believe the show has become more and more staged throughout the years. The show has also cultivated an environment for contestants to establish brand sponsorships, achieve celebrity status, and a large following on social media which can be an ulterior motive for people to apply. My views of the show have slowly become much more entertainment based rather than centered around what the show aims to achieve, the journey to finding love.

I guess viewing the show through more of an entertainment lens is a good thing because the environment of the show is sadly one of the furthest things from reality. I’ll start with some positive aspects of the show I have observed, and then mention the unrealistic standards and attributes which accompany it. 

The show can be positive because it helps facilitate and normalize conversations about being open, vulnerable and outside of one’s comfort zone while starting a relationship. Contestants are seemingly “rewarded”, for opening up about some of the hardest things they’ve endured in their lives, and I think being vulnerable in a relationship is critical and ultimately binds people together stronger. Viewers watching also have the opportunities to relate to or empathize with these tough stories and positively watch how past hardships and experiences can bring two people closer together on reality TV. I think another positive aspect of the show is how openly people are encouraged to express  their feelings . Our generation seems to applaud the individual in a relationship who appears to care the least about the relationship or situationship- whatever it is. This is a strategy that protects an individual so if things were to go south, they would be the least hurt, compared to the person who cares more in the relationship. In the show, to develop a stronger connection with the Bachelor/Bachelorette, it is highly recommended for a contestant to voice their feelings of falling in love, or being in love. In the show, this is seen as a strength for the most part, and contestants want to achieve this feeling of connectedness and love with the Bachelor/Bachelorette. The basic concept of expressing feelings in the show arguably helps normalize the idea that when people are interested and have feelings for someone, they act on those feelings and do not  play the game of trying to be the most reserved and care the least. 

Now for some negative aspects of the show that must be included. 

First, the show houses a toxic environment where in many cases,  physicality and competitiveness are taken to the next level for entertainment purposes. The show is about finding love, yet, so many barriers allow true connections to actually form. Contestants engage in so much drama on the show, much of it not even about the connections they might have with the Bachelor/Bachelorette, but arising from personal insecurities,  rumors, clashes of personalities, etc. The show is essentially set up as a competition for time with the Bachelor/Bachelorette, and simply the lack of time could break apart a relationship that might have had true potential. While some of the relationships last, in many cases, because the seasons are so short, it shows the idea of two people in-love, only for viewers to discover they are not together in the following months. The show portrays an extremely unrealistic and unhealthy idea of finding a life partner by setting love up as a competition and facilitating rampant amounts of jealousy. The Bachelor/Bachelorette is seen as a prize to win and have them fall in love with you; once that’s over, the harsh reality hits of all the work and energy relationships entail which many people do not realize. 

Also, the dates….

The dates planned and filmed on the show are the most romantic, extravagant and unrealistic part of the show in my opinion. I hope if there is one thing you take from this piece I have written, perfect and romantic dates that happen on this show are far from reality. Even the show contestants seem as though these date experiences are ones they will always remember due to the flamboyant nature of them. 

As I sit down and finish the current episode of Matt Jame’s Season 25 that I am watching, I’ve realized that it is okay for this show to be idealistic in ways, and comedic and SO unrealistic in other ways. The biggest takeaway is that this show is not real life, and that relationships always require  work

Her Campus USFCA contributors are all exemplery young women at the University of San Francisco in San Francisco, California! Founded in 2020, Her Campus USFCA has grown rapidly to represent our diverse campus community through the unique expression that Her Campus allows. Here readers will find communally contributed articles as well as anonymous articles written by our chapter. We hope that you enjoy these pieces!