WHY THE BACHELOR IS MY GUILTY PLEASURE
Like every other basic college student out there, I live for Bachelor Mondays. There is nothing that gets me through the Sunday Scaries like knowing in just 24 hours, I’ll be chilling with my friends, screaming at the TV, and making fun of Matt James and his open-eyed kisses.
From the cringeworthy entrances to the illustrious fantasy suites, The Bachelor franchise is nothing short of addicting. The show truly has the perfect formula—hometown introductions, group date dynamics, rose ceremony anxieties, overdramatic tattle-tailing, first kisses, high-budget dates—and once you are hooked, you just can’t turn away. The show is a pop culture phenomenon that appeals to nearly every demographic; there’s no wonder why the show has run for nearly 25 seasons. Every year, Chris Harrison claims it will be the craziest season yet, and somehow, he’s always right.
The Bachelor is the highlight of my week, and yet, I know that the show is incredibly, incredibly toxic. At its core, the show is degrading and creates unhealthy power dynamics between the Bachelor and the contestants. Simply put, it’s completely unrealistic to make 30 grown adults leave behind their lives, all for the chance of “beating” the other women and “winning” a husband. The show acts like a woman’s sole purpose is marriage, and by winning the season, their life will be complete.
Even on The Bachelorette, when the woman is allegedly in control, sexism is still abundantly apparent. While the woman hands out the roses every week, still, the men get to decide whether or not they want to propose at the end. Additionally, Bachelorettes face far more scrutiny than Bachelors, especially concerning their sexual relationships. To boot, the budgetary differences between male and female-centric seasons are undeniable.
As entertaining as it is, you have to acknowledge that the entire Bachelor franchise is nothing if not sexist. It’s almost as if with each new season, more destructive concepts are brought to light. From the franchise’s racist history to each season’s token virgin, the show is grossly problematic. By the show’s very nature, it exploits contestants’ lifestyle choices, pits grown adults up against each other, and abolishes any idea of female empowerment.
By watching the show, I know that I am playing into these toxic notions and literally funding the spread of these outdated and unhealthy ideas. And while I fully acknowledge this, I just can’t stop tuning in. The Bachelor is my guilty pleasure, and as I age, I can’t help but feel more and more guilty.