Monday January 2nd, ABC aired the 21st season of The Bachelor and millions of americans tuned into the season premiere. Happily, I was one of the Americans. Hooked for the entire 2 hour season premiere.
Just like every past season, I had been looking forward to this night for week. My favorite guilty pleasure show was on, and I was ready to indulge.
Before I could grab my fuzzy blanket and my boozy bachelor themed drink, my boyfriend turned to me and said “How could you watch this?” I was shocked.
What did he mean? How could he even say that! This was insulting to me and my love of the Bachelor, but then my loving boyfriend of 4 years asked how as a feminist, a body positive woman, and someone who values healthy relationships…how could I watch The Bachelor?
So to all the anti bachelor feminists and the pro bachelor fans who don’t like feminism. Here is my defense.
Let’s get one thing straight. I don’t condone any of the behavior on the show! In fact, I recognize that if I lived in the reality where 5 women can sit, toned, carless, and drunk in a hot tub and then not be jealous about one of them going on a date that night, with the same guy they were all clearly and obviously dating, then I would be a fool.
When I watch The Bachelor, I am accepting the world that the show lives in as fictitious. This is where a lot of harm can come to modern women. Let me be frank- you will never have a deep and meaningful marriage or healthy relationship with someone you went on 3 dates with in a competition with 20 other women.
It’s just not healthy and so I move forward not accepting the situation as relation but fascinated by the human behavior that happens in the show. I love watching the relationships grow, burn, and change.
So, now I hear you asking, How can I be pro women and still watch the show.
In fact, I watch The Bachelor, because I am, Pro woman. I love seeing the growth and development of the women on the show.
I love seeing all the contestants grow to love and fight for one another’s welfare, seeing women realize that finding love in this situation doesn’t work and best of all when they stand up for their own rights.
Famously, on season 18, Bachelor Juan Pablo Galavis had just come from the “fantasy suite” with a run-up contestant. When this contestant asked it Pablo loved her, Pablo replied that he “Liked her alot.” With confidence the contestant walked off the show, after telling Pablo that she would not be treated that way.
When that moment happened I was jumping up and down yelling “Yes, Yes, Yes” like I was Sally in Katz’s Delicatessen
So, I acknowledging the completely unrealistic nature of the Bachelor. I never expect to one day walk into a mansion and be surrounded by 29 other vaguely similar looking women. So in turn, like one watches Game of Thrones for the extreme fantasy situations, I too am grabbed by this fictional storybook setting.
If it’s unfeminist to watch The Bachelor then it’s also unrealistic to watch other fantasy challenge shows like, survivor or big brother.
These guilty pleasure completion shows have larger amounts of viewers not because they pull our heartstrings, but our funny bones. Most of us watch these shows and mock the unrealistic fantasy setting.
Where else on tv can you indulge in a group pet based photo shoot to support the ASPCA, and then a hilariously uncomfortable group helicopter date?
Thankfully, most of us will never be in that type of situation, and so we watch with shock and awe at what will never happen in “real life.”
My advice for feminists watching guilty pleasure love shows, be advocates!
I accept the behavior on the show because it’s fictional but, in real life I would never let some of the stunts that happen on the show happen to me or my friends.
So I encourage you to love fantasy but never live in it. Stand up for your beliefs and equality even on T.V shows.