It's Time To Talk About Objectification In The Bachelor Franchise
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It's Time To Talk About Objectification In The Bachelor Franchise

Strip dodgeball was the final straw.

It's Time To Talk About Objectification In The Bachelor Franchise
@chrisbharrison on Instagram

I absolutely love the shows in The Bachelor franchise. From the two traditional shows to the musical spinoff Listen To Your Heart, if it has The Bachelor name on it, I will be watching it. However, while these shows are entertaining and full of that perfect kind of drama that distracts us from our real lives, the foundation for the franchise is often the objectification of the contestants and stars. Last night's strip dodgeball date is a perfect example.

The second group date of the Oct. 20 episode centered around a dodgeball game between the men, and bachelorette Clare announced at the beginning of the game that it would, in fact, be a game of strip dodgeball in which the losing team would have to remove an article of clothing after each lost match. The losing team ultimately ended up in only what appeared to be thong underwear. The purpose of the stripping was for Clare's, and I guess the audience's, pleasure. It also coupled as a humiliation tactic in which the losing men had to walk back to their rooms in thongs to be seen by the men who weren't on the date and were not allowed to attend the post-date party with Clare.

The entire date was uncomfortable to watch, and many of the men were visibly uncomfortable by the premise. While I know that I, as a viewer, was supposed to watch the date and notice how attractive the men were, all I could think was this single question: did they have a choice?

Did these men really have a say in whether they were to strip down to practically nothing on national television? If they had a choice, was it really a free choice or were they pressured into doing it because they felt like they had to? Who on the show's production team okayed this? And who decided to distribute thongs and require these men to wear them?

This date is only one example of over twenty seasons of objectification in the name of entertainment and, supposedly, love.

The outcry on Twitter and social media over this specific date also brings forth another question: why are we so much less comfortable with the objectification of men than of women? Everyone seemed to want to say that a date like this one never would have been allowed on a season of The Bachelor rather than The Bachelorette as if they don't every single season.

Women have been objectified by The Bachelor franchise since its beginning, but there is rarely as much attention given to it as there has been to the strip dodgeball date. How many times have we seen women on The Bachelor have to wear bikinis for photoshoot dates or other dates? On Chris Soules' season, the women rode tractors in bikinis for what reason? How about on Peter's season where the women had a pillow fight in pajamas?

I believe the answer to my previously posed question is that we are more comfortable with the objectification of women, especially on shows like The Bachelor, that we are used to it. We don't recognize it anymore. I know I didn't think about it until I watched the strip dodgeball game with men and thought, isn't this a little objectifying? Then I thought back to all the other seasons with all the other dates and realized this one is par for the course.

The Bachelor franchise is founded on objectification. First impressions are based on appearance because when you have one night to meet 30 people and send nearly half of them home, there's not much time to focus on anything else. When you're supposed to fall in love and get engaged in a span of two months, physical attraction is key.

The Bachelor franchise, from strip dodgeball to fashion shows to contests of pure strength to riding down the streets of LA on a tractor in a bikini, is objectifying, and it's time we acknowledge that.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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