My Problem with The Bachelor

I’m sure most of you have heard of The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, or Bachelor in Paradise. The shows, hosted by Chris Harrison (who is divorced, might I add), are all about competing to find love and find “the one.” There is one person (boy = bachelor, girl = bachelorette) who has about 20 women or men to choose from and find their husband/wife. At the end of each episode, contestants are awarded a rose to signify their movement to the next round of the show. The Bachelor, where there is one guy and lots of women, is currently airing. If you watch the show, last night was when the remaining girls took the Bachelor to their homes and introduced him to their families. ABC describes the program on their website:

“Bachelor Nation was heartbroken when fan-favorite Ben Higgins, the charming software salesman, was sent home by Kaitlyn Bristowe on The Bachelorette. Ben saw a ‘great life’ with Kaitlyn, only to have it disappear before him when he was left without a rose. It wasn’t easy for Ben to open himself up to love on The Bachelorette because he’s been hurt in past relationships. However, now knowing he is capable of being in love and being loved, he is ready to put the heartbreak behind him as he searches for his one true love when he stars in the milestone 20th season of ABC’s hit romance reality series, The Bachelor, returning to ABC in January 2016.”

Do I watch the show? Yes. Do I laugh at the awkwardness of the dates and the absurdity of the show’s concept? Of course. But deep down there is a BIG problem that lies within The Bachelor.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichiea famous humans rights activist, speaks on what it means to be a woman:

Because I am female
I am expected to aspire to marriage
I am expected to make my life choices
Always keeping in mind that
Marriage is the most important
Now marriage can be a source of
Joy and love and mutual support
But why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage
And we don’t teach boys the same?
We raise girls to see each other as competitors
Not for jobs or for accomplishments
Which I think can be a good thing
But for the attention of men

The biggest problem I have with this show is that it yet again places women in a competitive atmosphere against each other. We compete for EVERYTHING already. The show does not promote friendship and girl to girl support but instead a race to see who can win the attention of their suitor and stand out among the other contestants. Girls in previous seasons have done some CRAZY things to get the Bachelor’s attention, especially on the “arrival” episode where the girls take limos and walk up to the Bachelor one by one.

Like when this girl walked up to meet the Bachelor for the first time in a freaking wedding dress.

…or when Chantal SLAPPED the dude??

The girls continue to be placed at odds with one another through the seasons, since they compete for dates and private time with the Bachelor as well. This is not healthy in ANY way for anyone involved and the girls ultimately make a huge fool of themselves on the show as they navigate the extremely unnatural dating environment that is The Bachelor.

I’m going to add here quickly that after 30 SEASONS – 30!!! – of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, only 8 couples are still together.

Yes. 8.

This very, VERY small number only shows that this concept of dating is so unsuccessful, so unhealthy, and so damaging.

[Tweet “Ultimately, society today has placed a larger than life emphasis on women competing against other women for the attention of others and this has to stop.”]

Ultimately, society today has placed a larger than life emphasis on women competing against other women for the attention of others and this has to stop. It impacts mental health, self esteem, productivity, and so so much more in more ways than I can count. Dating “naturally” so to speak and without intervention from the media and pop culture is so much better and more intimate than what is broadcasted on television today.

As a woman, what can I do to help this? Its quite simple: stop competing and just start supporting.

[Tweet ” Its quite simple: stop competing and just start supporting. “]

Do you watch The Bachelor? What’re your thoughts?

“Tutu
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  • This is hilarious and so true! I don’t really watch it, but I agree with your points!

    Alix @apintsizedlife.blogspot.com

    • Savannah Ward

      Hey Alix! Thanks so much for reading!

  • I watch The Bachelor and I love it. Definitely, there are many relationships out there that do not work. It is crazy to think that out of 30 seasons, only 8 are still together, but I also think this comes with the short period of dating and all the societal pressures. It is indeed an amazing show to watch, but I completely see where you are coming from!

    Leanna // http://www.leannaranieri.com

    • Savannah Ward

      I definitely think that the short time period contributes to the failure of some relationships from the show, and I always feel so bad for the couples that can’t make it work 🙁

  • While this is 100% true, I still shamelessly watch the show. And often live text/tweet it with friends. I haven’t been watching for many seasons like others but there have been a few really good moments of girls supporting each other this season which I feel deserves a mention. Yes, the show does pit women against each other in a competition over a man. But there are moments when the girls come together over a bond they share with so few. I can’t imagine how hard it is to comfort someone who is competing for the heart of the same guy as you!

    Bottom line: the show is ridiculous but it makes for good TV.

    Darrian // http://www.ohshiftyall.com

    • Savannah Ward

      Hey Darrian! I love the live tweet coverage of the show, not gonna lie. I agree that there are some moments when the girls come together, but holy cow it must be SO hard to have to be friends and give advice for the guy you’re into! Thanks for reading! 🙂

  • I completely agree with your point! I once had a guy break up with me because I told him that I wasn’t going to fight for him or intervene in a situation where another girl is flirting with him. I don’t really watch The Bachelor, but I’m happy for the people who have found true, meant to be love on there 🙂

    XO, SS || Seersucker Sass

    • Savannah Ward

      Hey! Thanks so much for reading! I 100% agree with your attitude towards other girls and YGG for standing your ground. That’s always been something I stand by and make clear as well. Happy Wednesday!

  • Merisa Ferrell

    Girl, I am with you! I’ve sworn off watching anymore because I honestly feel like it makes me competitive even as an audience member. I sorta wish they would take out the engagement/marriage aspect of the whole thing. I get that the duration of the show is meant to be the “dating” period of the relationship but that just fuels the fierceness of the competition as well as making it seem okay to “date” multiple people at once. Competing to be in a relationship with someone is bad enough but competing to be married is taking it too far. Great post! I love hearing people talking about the reality of the show. xx Merisa | Monogrammed Magnolias

    • Savannah Ward

      Oh gosh girl, you are SO right. I think taking the marriage aspect out would relieve so much pressure and if possible make the show a more natural experience.

  • Audrey Stowe

    I totally hear you on this! The bachelor is my guilty pleasure, but it portrays all of the wrong meanings to women!

    • Savannah Ward

      Thanks for your thoughts, Audrey! I totally agree. I hope you’re having a great day!

  • I found your blog through InfluenceHer Collective, and I am so glad I did! This is a really interesting perspective of The Bachelor. It is still definitely my guilty pleasure, and I am a bit ashamed to admit I still watch it, but I think there’s a reason why it draws such a large crowd. We as women still enjoy this kind of somewhat unhealthy entertainment! I’m just glad that at least a few of the couples have made it to the long run. Cheers, Sarah | http://www.thebellainsider.com/

    • Savannah Ward

      Hey Sarah, wow! I love your blog! I’m so glad we could connect through InfluenceHer. It’s TOTALLY my guilty pleasure too. My favorite couple from the show is definitely Ash and JP from The Bachelorette.

      • Hi, Savannah! Thanks, sweet girl – me too! Oh my goodness, that was one of my favorite seasons. Their relationship felt so steady and easy. I’m super happy for them and their little one. Can’t wait to see more of your posts!

  • I totally agree with your perspective, the Bachelor and the Bachelorette are totally absurd and not at all realistic when it comes to finding healthy, long lasting relationships. In terms of competition, it isn’t really sexist in the sense that both men and women are forced to compete depending on the season but it’s definitely not a model for a real relationship. At the end of the day I think it’s a reality television show and I’m not going into it looking for any sort of path or guidance on how to model a real relationship. Honestly I think single women watching The Bachelor can gain even worse messages, like thinking it’s okay to or sweet or romantic to get engaged to someone you barely know. None of these couples are really “in love” they’ve known each other for all of two months, it’s just silly and for entertainment…totally not something a relationship or lifestyle should ever be modeled after.

    • Savannah Ward

      Hey Jordyn! You make a great point about sexism. I think my comments towards setting women up to compete were definitely more in line with this season’s show since women are against one another right now. More so than single women watching, I think younger people watching have a hard time understanding what’s “right” and what is not. My 14 year old sister watches it sometimes and I have to preach over and over how the show is unrealistic and glamorized for profit and attention. I worry about the girls (and guys!) younger than me watching and I wonder what they gather from the show. Its scary! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on this!

  • I totally agree with everything you have said, I don’t watch the Bachelor and I haven’t for years I have always hated how they make a joke out of something that should be between two people and we all know that the show is insanely scripted and fake.

    • Savannah Ward

      Hey Courtney! I totally agree with your comment about making such a special time between 2 people a joke. It bothers me SO much when you can tell a moment is heavily scripted or prepped for. I think it really takes away from the spontaneity of love and building a relationship!

  • I agree with what your saying here! There is so much competition when it comes to these shows it shocks me. I do watch the Bachelor, but mostly just for the amazing places they visit. I could care less about the women and men!

    Nicole // Chronicling Home

  • Cat

    I watch the Bachelor on occasions, but I’m really not a fan of the direction the show has gone. It’s too much drama pitting girls against each other.

  • I watched one episode of it but I thought that this is not a good show to watch. Even though its very entertaining, it gives a wrong perspective of what a relationship should be. Unknowingly for those really young kids who happens to watch the show they don’t realize that sometimes they would adapt some characteristics of the girls in the show and its a bad influence. Not remember or realizing sometimes that it’s all fake );. I do respect people watching it as my best friend loves it but its not something I would recommend for anybody.