We all love them. The drama-filled, absolutely ridiculous, hilariously entertaining reality dating shows. I won't lie... Even I partake in #BachelorMondays and absolutely HATED Jessica and Mark together on "Love Is Blind," but when it really boils down to the actual reality of it, the messages that they're portraying are flat out unrealistic and borderline toxic.
"The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette" scored major controversy these past two seasons due to slut-shaming, mean comments between "friend" contestants, badly portrayed situations, and plain embarrassing moments. However, the biggest problem with this show, in particular, is that we're watching one man or one woman date many people at once, and we say it's OK.
Yes, they knew what they signed up for, but if that's what we're glorifying to the younger generation about what "fun" and "exciting" dating is like, we're showing them that it's OK to be treated as second, third, even 15th best. I don't know your thought process, but this generation and the one after it needs to be taught how to be strong and independent — confident in who they are enough to know they deserve only the best.
Not to mention how fast these shows progress, I'm looking at you, #LIB. "Love is Blind" quickly took over on Netflix as one of the most popular shows in the country. For anyone who doesn't know what the show is, it's described as a "social experiment" where people date in pods in which they can't see each other. They have to rely solely on an emotional connection. A great underlying theme, right? Here's the catch: they need to get engaged within 10 DAYS and they still don't know what the other looks like. After the 10 days, the fiances get to finally reunite in person and live together outside of the pods for four WEEKS before their wedding day. At the altar, they can either say "I do" or "I don't" and either start a real life together or not.
Physical attraction is such an important aspect of a relationship, and that's even backed by psychologists. This is not to say looks should trump everything else, because love can grow from emotional and mental connections with someone — in fact, it should. However, that physical aspect is crucial. The idea that #LIB tried to show is that two people can end up together based solely on emotional connection, which is great at first glance, but the unrealistic traits are easy to get wrapped up in if you look closer.
"Love Island", a show carried into American broadcasting from the U.K., is the best out of all the current dating shows, in my opinion. Not saying it's perfect... because it's absolutely not. The premise of the show is that a group of people is placed on an island together to try to find love and a real connection, also in hopes of scoring $100,000 split two ways if they're the last couple left on the island. Throughout the show, individuals pair up based on attraction, connection, or even just as allies in hopes of that money. As the show goes on, new people are brought in and others are voted off the island if they're not picked to be in a couple.
Talk about a self-confidence killer.
I will say, some couples have ended up in great relationships and I know someone who was voted off the show and he's doing just fine. In fact, the exposure skyrocketed his career. Out of the three shows mentioned, "Love Island" is probably the least toxic out of them all. The bottom line is if you look through the hundreds of reality dating shows that exist, you'll find some form of problem — it is dating, after all.
Reality dating shows are addicting because we can watch and be glad it's not our lives (looking at you, Peter Weber). We have a good laugh, follow TV personalities and their stories, and watch the potential for love — yes, love — unfold. No show is perfect. And no, you're not a bad person if you watch these shows because they can be really fun and a time for groups of friends to watch together. Like anything in this world, there are positives and negatives. As long as we're aware of some of the flaws that these shows have and don't hold our relationships to the same standard, sit back, relax, and breathe a sigh of relief that you can turn it off whenever you want to.
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