Why I'm Obsessed With A Drunk Darwinian Love Story

Why I'm Obsessed With A Drunk Darwinian Love Story

The new season of The Bachelor is starting and I’m in the mood for some roses.
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I have an addiction. But don’t worry, Mom. It’s not to drugs, sex, alcohol, or any of those other things you warned me about in college.

My addiction is of a different nature. Because I am not addicted to a substance; I’m addicted to roses and all the drama they bring. I’m addicted to "The Bachelor."

Yup it’s that time of year again. Where a hottie reject from 1 (or 3) seasons in "The Bachelor" franchise gets to star in his own season with 30 lovely ladies (and potential suitors) as his co-stars.

It’s hard to explain my addiction because, from a moral standpoint, I see so many flaws with the show. Having 30 ladies on the show who are “ready to be married” to a mystery man is only the mouth of the river of problems that flow from the format of the show. Most of these ladies immediately fall in love with the Bachelor, but I fear that it’s because they know they’re supposed to be in love instead of truly falling in love with him after spending copious amounts of time getting to know him. This indicates that a lot of these ladies are probably doing it for the fame (although not for the fortune, see this Mic article about how much money the unpaid contestants on "The Bachelor" spend) or out of desperation.

Additionally, the girls are given minimal time with the Bachelor, especially in the first few weeks of the show when the number of girls is in the double digits, and the time they do spend with him is often on group dates and at alcohol-filled cocktail parties. This setting is one of "survival of the fittest" rather than of romance. Who knew that Darwin’s theory of evolution could predict the winners of group date roses and the losers who get sent home at rose ceremonies?

But I suppose what concerns me the most about the show is that the people on it aren’t shown as humans, but as characters. This is innate in reality TV in general, but the romantic premise of "The Bachelor" and the resultant vulnerability of the people on it only amplifies the characterization of the contestants. America is only shown a sliver of these humans’ true selves, a tiny glimpse of how they are in the context of a drunk Darwinian love story. And then their words and actions are cut, edited, and put back together by the show’s producers in a way that tells a given narrative. Each season has to have at least one villain, “nice guy/girl”, and total crazy. In Ben’s season of "The Bachelor," for example, Olivia was the primary villain, the total crazies were Mandy and Lace, and the “nice girl” was Lauren, the eventual winner of the season.

Yet life doesn’t stop for these real people during and after the season, and their reality TV portrayal ultimately affects their lives in a big way. For example, Olivia faced no end of hate on social media throughout Ben’s season and even afterward because people were led to believe that the way she was shown on his season is the way she is in real life. And since she was shown as an attention-hogging, inconsiderate wackadoodle, many comments on social media about her reflected that character. Olivia took a hiatus from social media for several weeks and had her sister post for her instead because it was “a really dark place” for her. The nature of the show and the producers’ minds is certainly to blame for this. But from inaccurate and hurtful critiques, these people who go on the show learn that social media (and media in general) often victimize humans for the sake of a story, a very valuable lesson that they might not otherwise have learned.

So there’s undeniable ethical qualms with the show. But why does America watch it? Why do these reality TV characters capture our hearts?

I think that it’s because America loves love, a good story, and a happy ending. And when we’re told that it’s real people starring in these fairy tales, we fall prey to the story and naturally select the addictive program. What makes "The Bachelor" franchise even more successful is that the characters who capture our hearts the most (and least) are often recurring characters in the franchise and appear on one or more other Bachelor shows.

For example, the current Bachelor, Nick, was rejected on both Andi’s season of the Bachelorette and Kaitlyn’s season of "The Bachelorette," right after he had had beef with many of the guys on the show and was ready to propose. Then, he appeared on "Bachelor in Paradise" just over a year after Kaitlyn’s season of "The Bachelorette" had ended only to choose not to propose to Jen (the girl whom he dated on "Bachelor in Paradise") at the final rose ceremony. The victim of three broken hearts, it’s no wonder the producers chose him to finally star in his season of "The Bachelor;" (some of) America had fallen in love with him time and time again.

I must admit, I’m hopelessly in love with "The Bachelor" franchise. It wasn’t love at first sight, though. I was skeptical, so I watched the show and its characters, and then, as time passed, I gradually began to fall in love with the excitement of the “reality” portrayed. Despite my ethical concerns with "The Bachelor," I love it as a show, and I have become invested in the characters in the franchise.

So on Monday, Jan 2, my reality will consist of watching “reality”. I hear it’s gonna be the “most dramatic season yet.”
Cover Image Credit: E! News

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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What The 2019 'Season Of The Crab' Means For Your Zodiac Sign

It could be a super emotional month for everyone.

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It's officially summer, and that means it's time to dive into the watery depths of Cancer season on June 21. There is a different energy in the air; different from the vibe in Gemini season. Each sign can expect to notice its effects, whether they are obvious or more subtle.

Cancer season means you're probably going to feel more moody than usual. Maybe you're crying more often. Maybe you'll feel more dreamy and intuitive. Maybe you'll be more irritable. Whatever the case, it never hurts to know what you're about to get yourself into.

So what does Cancer season mean for you, based on your zodiac sign?

1. Cancer - 21 Jun to 22 Jul

@rebeccahmac_

Happy solar return, cutie crustacean!

This is one of the dreamiest times of the entire year for you, but lacking structure and planning could prove stressful. You're in an imaginative zone and you may not feel like settling down before chasing the stars, but you must think ahead so things will work out.

2. Leo - 23 Jul to 22 Aug

@lolasuxs

Cancer season will find you exploring who you want to become, and what you want to leave behind. With your season just around the corner, this is also a magical time for healing and exploring yourself. Journaling, creative pursuits, or talking things through are wonderful ways to nourish your soul.

3. Virgo - 23 Aug to 22 Sep

@nahomi.17

This Cancer season, you'll find that the stars and the moon are asking you to rest. You will be faced with many choices and decisions this month. Enjoy your time fostering whatever creativity comes to mind. Do not force yourself to go out if you're not feeling up to it. It's okay to be you and be alone sometimes.

4. Libra - 23 Sep to 22 Oct

@tiiffahh

Cancer season and Neptune retrograde begin on June 21, causing you to need to pause and reflect on your goals. Change can be uncomfortable, but every small shift brings us closer to our goals. Be willing to take a risk, and let the universe push you in the direction of happiness and adventure.

5. Scorpio - 23 Oct to 21 Nov

@jordansavannah_r

Cancer season finds you traveling and opening new doors of opportunity. Are you really gaining anything by holding onto the past so tightly, Scorpio? Set your sights on new dreams, and leave all those people and situations that are holding you back in your rearview mirror.

6. Sagittarius - 22 Nov to 21 Dec

@zelzhcabbage

The question Cancer season asks you now, Sag, is whether you'll run away from your past, cling on to it, or do the emotional work necessary to process it and let it go. Appreciate the memories you are making and try not to get too wrapped up in the little things that annoy you. This is a time for experimentation.

7. Capricorn - 22 Dec to 19 Jan

@xxadriiana

You love your deadlines and goals, but remember that taking care of your emotional health will ultimately help you be more efficient! Trust your intuition, take it slow, and use the energy for play and creativity rather than detailed planning.

8. Aquarius - 20 Jan to 19 Feb

@yeeshibee

Cancer season this year is all about being comfortable and doing what you know, so go ahead and stick to that. This is also a great time for you to check in with yourself when it comes to wellness and your habits.

9. Pisces - 20 Feb to 20 Mar

@stephdangle

This Cancer season, the heightened emotion that is in the air will bring you natural happiness. Go out, have a wonderful night under the summer stars, and use your experiences for inspiration. It will reinvigorate your soul to be more creative and more adventurous.

10. Aries - 21 Mar to 19 Apr

@marilang_

Cancer season finds you focused squarely on your personal life. It's a wonderful time for an adventure. Go on that hike. Wake up early and drive to the beach. You'll feel an inclination to do it all-- and you can! Remind yourself that you are capable.

It will be hard to stay focused because the vibe just feels so good, but Neptune's retrograde brings intriguing messages to your dreams, so pay close attention to your inner voice at this time.

11. Taurus - 20 Apr to 20 May

@belendenike

Cancer season causes emotions to be even more extreme so you'll probably reach your breaking point this month, Taurus, but you are never alone in the problems that you face. Remember to control your temper long enough to cool off and take some relaxation for yourself.

Take a day off and drive around with the windows down. Take five days off and drive to the beach to hang out and reflect. Whatever it is that you need to feel better, it is time to do it this month.

12. Gemini - 21 May to 20 Jun

@nicolenaone

Cancer is a sign that's all about security and protection, and you're really feeling those vibes right now. Your confidence is running high, as you are feeling more in control of your life. Get rid of the elements in your life that won't propel you forward.

Just as the moon and ocean cycle, so do we. Cancer is that strong energy that gets you up in your feels; it's sure to be a ride.

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