Unless you've been living under a rock (or just don't care about trashy reality TV), you know the "The Bachelor"is about a man dating about 30 women at once.
Ironically, the majority of the show's viewers are young women who hate men who date multiple women at once.
In each weekly episode, a few contestants (who are forced to live together!) are eliminated during rose ceremonies and/or dates. Toward the end of the season, the bachelor and the four remaining women go on overnight dates and meet their respective families in exotic locations. In the finale, the Bachelor must propose to a woman that he's supposedly fallen in love with after two months of socially acceptable polygamy. My unenlightened 15-year-old self was addicted, but I've come to realize that "The Bachelor" is the worst show on TV for several reasons.
1. It pits women against each other.
Women leave their jobs to participate in the show and compete with each other for male attention. Fueled by jealousy, they often attack one another's appearance and attitude by using derogatory terms. At an early age, women are programmed to view other women as enemies because of the way female friendships were portrayed on TV, whether it's trash-talking each other or fighting over a guy. We don't need the same catty, overdone plotline because it's not entertaining, and I'm sick of hearing the phrase, "I'm not here to make friends." We need positive female friendships!
2. It degrades and objectifies women.
In season 19 of "The Bachelor," a group date required the contestants to ride tractors in their bikinis. In season 21 of "The Bachelor," a group date involved getting wedding photos taken with Nick Viall. Corrine Olympios (pictured above) decided to take off her swimsuit top and pull a Janet Jackson. Unfortunately, Nick ended up giving her the group date rose.
These actions sent a wrong message to young women: they need to flaunt their bodies for male attention. In "The Bachelorette" season 11 premiere, male contestants actually voted on which woman they wanted to be the Bachelorette. The men proceeded to compare Kaitlyn Bristowe and Britt Nilsson like pieces of meat in their ITMs, debating which woman is a trophy wife. It was disgusting to see two uncomfortable women being reduced to just pretty faces. Men have no right to determine a woman's worth because women don't need male approval!
3. It reinforces stereotypical gender roles.
Female contestants on "The Bachelor" are often portrayed as insane, jealous, and overly emotional. They literally give up their entire life to participate on the show, promoting the idea that getting married is life's most important goal. Moreover, the Bachelor could sleep with three girls during Fantasy Suite dates, and no one would blink an eye. On the other hand, Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe was a victim of an ugly double standard when she was publicly slut-shamed for spending the night with runner-up Nick Viall. Creator and executive producer (of the misogynistic Bachelor franchise) Mike Fleiss even mentioned in an interview that the show's success depends "on whether the viewers like the guy and hate the girls."
4. It exploited racism for high ratings.
I had high expectations for season 13 of "The Bachelorette" because it featured Rachel Lindsay, the first black bachelorette in the series' 14-year history. Although there was a diverse pool of men (unlike other seasons), white contestant Lee Garret's blatant racism was distasteful. Early into the season, his public Twitter account revealed that he has a history of Islamophobia, being sexist and anti-LGBTQ+, and disrespecting the NAACP and Black Lives Matter movement. In order to be cast on "The Bachelorette," contestants must go through background checks. Surely the producers knew about Garret's offensive tweets before production began...
Garret repeatedly described black contestants Eric Bigger and Kenny King as "aggressive." Another black contestant, Will Gaskins, told Garret: "When you call him aggressive, there is a long-standing history in this country of regarding black men in America as 'aggressive' to justify a lot of other things."
"The Bachelor" milked the racial conflict storyline for six episodes by releasing deceptive promos showing Kenny King with a bloody eye. Chris Harrison, the show's host, teased "...You won't believe what happens when Lee and Kenny go head-to-head in an epic two-on-one battle. It's double the drama next Monday and Tuesday night on an unbelievable 'Bachelorette'event." However, it was later revealed that King got injured during a fake Medieval Times-inspired fight after Lee was eliminated. Given our current political climate, insinuating racial violence as a means for entertainment was unnecessary and ignorant.
5. It perpetuates unrealistic beauty standards.
Most female contestants in the Bachelor franchise (who are predominantly white) fit media's distorted beauty standards with their thin bodies, cosmetically enhanced faces, and sun-kissed blonde hair. Likewise, most male contestants have washboard abs and perfect hair. In Bachelor Nation, anybody who's 35 or older is considered ancient. If you don't look like a Barbie or Ken doll, you're not qualified to find love! The Bachelor franchise values looks over intelligence, and racial diversity was practically nonexistent before Rachel Lindsay's season. In fact, 59% of black contestants on "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette" were eliminated within the first two weeks/episodes. Black contestants are only given "a chance to find love" so producers can say they have a "diverse" cast. We need more positive representations of black men and women on TV.
6. It gives unrealistic expectations for relationships.
In the Bachelor franchise, the concept of love is a joke. Instead of developing a deep emotional connection, female contestants are encouraged to view the experience as a game that is to be won or lost. The Bachelor or Bachelorette is the ultimate prize because getting engaged to him/her ensures the finalist 15 minutes of fame. Men and women should not have to compete for love! Moreover, the dates give young women an inaccurate portrayal of modern dating with helicopter rides, private concerts, shopping sprees, swimming with pigs, and fancy dinners. It's risky to have such high standards because most men aren't millionaires! Additionally, the audience rarely sees the couples having important conversations about their values, family, money, etc.
Unsurprisingly, only 11 couples from the 37 seasons in the Bachelor franchise ("The Bachelor," "The Bachelorette," and "Bachelor in Paradise" combined) are still together.