February 25, 2020

CORNELLA | You Don’t Seriously Watch The Bachelor, Right?

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Anyone who publicly professes their love for the hit series The Bachelor is bound to be immediately met with rolling eyes, judgmental smirks, and questions that sound like, “You don’t seriously watch The Bachelor right?”

Yes, yes I do. And proudly, as well.

My dad called me up the other day asking the usual questions — what I’ve been up to and any new updates on my life. So, naturally, I spent twenty minutes explaining how Pilot Pete’s love journey was going. This of course was met with the regular response of sheer disappointment masked in confusion. I tried defending my favorite pastime — how we all defend activities our parents don’t approve of — all my friends watch it too! This only made my dad more confused…

“So you, and all your smart, ivy-league, feminist friends spend your Monday nights watching a group of woman shamelessly fight for a guy’s attention?”

This really hit me, of course not enough to sway me from watching the fantasy suite episode, but enough to wonder what drives us to keep coming back every Monday for more. Because me, my friends, and I’m sure most of you Cornellians, definitely pride themselves on our intelligence and feminist drive. Yet here we all are, wondering if Madison, Hannah Ann, or Victoria will be “the one.”

Thinking back to the many nights spent watching The Bachelor, I wondered about the show’s appeal. While it obviously falls under the heading of guilty pleasure, the truth is very little time is spent swooning over whichever man was chosen to be the bachelor, taking sides in the petty fights, judging their looks and outfits, or crying when certain girls get sent home. All the parts of the show that make me question how it is still airing in 2020 are not the parts that we get swept up in. 

So what’s the draw?

Being a smart, educated, feminist inevitably leads to some built up anger. And after a typical college weekend, by Monday there is usually a lot of shit you need to work through. I can’t yell at the girl sitting behind me in a lecture for making fun of another girls’ outfit, but I can certainly shout at my screen when the women put each other down. The Bachelor is our reality show outlet for some real world problems. Etiquette, common sense and personal safety dictate that I can’t always step in when I see my friends fighting over a guy or being mean to each other for one reason or another.  But when #champagnegate goes down, there’s nothing stopping me from venting as much as I want — or yelling at the screen as loudly as I want. 

I’m sure that many women see the show as wish fulfillment, modern day Cinderellas looking for their Prince Charming. But to me and my friends, it’s a cautionary tale about how archaic ideas of romance put women down — leaving the men in charge. How women are always expected to look and dress their best, have sad stories that explain why they are strong (instead of just being tough because women are hella tough!), or how putting one girl down will somehow put you a level up. 

We watch this to see what not to do, and more importantly it sparks us to help out our fellow love-seeking girls go into date nights feeling confident and holding each other’s hands. The fact that behavior seen on The Bachelor or that the show even still exists in 2020 should really be a wake up call to us all. And if you do not believe me, tune in next Monday night with your friends and count how many times you yell at your screen. 

Then when you start using The Bachelor as a what-not-to-do example for your friends and they respond by asking “You don’t seriously watch The Bachelor, right?”

You can proudly nod and say “Yes, yes I do.”