Why Do We Still Watch The Bachelor?

I gave up watching The Bachelor years ago. Actually, I’m pretty sure the last season I watched was season one of the Bachelorette which ended up in a happy marriage between Trista and Ryan, so I guess you could say I ended on a high note.

But after hearing my friends go on and on about the new season, I caved and decided to watch, mostly because of FOMO.

As soon as I turned it on, I was instantly reminded why I didn’t like the show. I don’t consider myself above reality TV at all, but something about The Bachelor seems so…trashy (for lack of a better word). The concept of pitting women against each other for one man seems just wrong…yet I couldn’t look away.

There were so many times I wanted to change the channel. The cheesy pickup lines, the crazy antics for attention (unicorn heads, ponies and giant rose hats, anyone?) made me cringe, mostly because the women seemed so desperate to have this guy fall in love with them.

And that’s the main problem I have with the show: how the man is made up to be this godly being, while the women are desperate fools who provide us with entertainment and something to talk about for a few months.

Not to say Ben is bad. He handled them all very well, was perfectly charming and handsome and a real catch — because that’s how the producers want us all to see him. And who knows, maybe he really is that wonderful.

But you can see the stark difference between how Ben is portrayed, and the portrayal of the women. Many of them playing up all of the stereotypical roles we’re used to seeing on the show: the crazy b*tch (Lace), the girl-next-door (Lauren B.), the virgin who is waiting for the one (Becca), while others added some more excitement to the show (read: the identical twins). There was even a woman who quit her dream job for Ben, and as a result, was rewarded with a first impression rose, proving that quitting your career for TV love is totally worth it (not).

And as the women roll in, we see them all judging each other (some silently, others not so silently), and as we watch, we do the same. (Admit it, you were texting your friends about how batshit cray Lace was…I did the same).

But as I sent these messages, and heard myself judging, I realized how wrong it all was. Remember, this is a show that thrives on drama…so if making a woman look bad for the sake of ratings will do the trick, you can bet the producers will make it happen. This was the case for poor Lace, who is sure to be a contestant getting a lot of screentime this season.

Yes, maybe Lace does have issues. But it doesn’t help that she was drinking glass after glass of wine (hey, we’d want to calm our nerves down too), most likely while being encouraged by the producers to do so. But we don’t know this. All we know is what we are shown and led to believe.
And you wonder why so many men — heck, even women! — think other women are crazy. Shows like these just feed this storyline into our brains…and we happily eat it and ask for more.

So why do we watch it? Is it to make ourselves feel better by seeing other women be made out as fools? Or is it because it’s a good two-hour escape from reality? Because I certainly don’t think any of us are watching for the love story.

As for me, I’m probably still going to watch..mostly so I can keep up with my friends. I just hope that I can keep the judging at bay, and not contribute to the narrative the show is trying to feed us.

Tags: ben higgins, critiques of the bachelor, reality TV

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