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The Line Between Reality and Reality TV: Bachelorette Edition

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

Finally, reality television binge-watchers (like me) can rejoice; The Bachelorette is on.

Every week is once again filled with a drama-packed two hours that include women crying, men fighting (and ultimately crying), and Chris Harrison proclaiming — yet again — that this is “the most dramatic season yet”.

Many of us love watching The Bachelorette as a guilty pleasure, but sometimes, it seems as though the show does more harm than good. These idealized relationships and situations can make us, as young women, feel a sense of longing or comparison that is unhealthy and can become destructive.

Although the show is formatted differently this year, there are some problematic plot points that everyone should take a second to read, in order to stop falling victim to the harsh traps the show can lure viewers into.

1. Men come rushing by the dozen for the chance to possibly marry one woman. Many will dismiss this and tell you how they would never be crazy enough to expect potential suitors to flock out of a limo and line up for a girl, but deep down it’s hard to think that you are enough when one girl gets to have all of these guys. It helps to keep in mind that a lot of these guys are not there for the right reasons, and would never be the type of people who would treat you right. After all, it’s about quality, not quantity.

2. The woman gets the chance to “choose” men. Nowadays, online dating has already made it all the more easier to “ghost” someone and never speak to them again, but we must remember the importance of actually ending with closure. This picture-perfect and clean dismissed-without-a-rose mentality is deceptive and misleading when it comes to the way we should end our relationships.

3. Everyone of the contestants chooses to undercut other contestants in favor of boosting their own chances, promoting a negative and insult-filled culture. Whether it be men or women, the presence of fights and arguments is something that should not be normalized in society as a whole. We need to learn to have constructive conflicts, instead of being petty and unnecessarily rude.

4. And last, but not least, there is a huge emphasis on the power of marriage and the necessity of having a partner in one’s life. Given that the audience of shows like The Bachelor is full of young, single women, this is an especially destructive theme. It’s crucial that the audience is able to separate from the “desperate single” mentality that TV promotes and understands the true value of being a strong, independent single. While these four ideas in particular are not the highlight of the show, the fun purpose that the television show serves is not to be overlooked. For a weeknight with the girls, tuning into The Bachelorette is still the best, especially if we can learn to separate the screen from our real lives.

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