A (sort of) Feminist Perspective of “The Bachelorette”.


First of all, I would like to say that I don’t have cable. This has been ‘forced’ upon me by my significant other. Honestly, we spend the entire show breaking the entire interaction of the cast down into social perspectives, person-in-environment, and we even take it way back to evolutionary biology… Fascinating shit, huh?

Anyway, last night we were catching up on the last TWO episodes, try to keep up here, and the second of which was a two-hour special.

The first one we watched, last week’s episode, was really kind of boring and just chugging along…The guys collectively got upset with Andrew, who may or may not have bragged about getting a waitress’ phone number at a dinner with the other bachelors. Essentially, Andrew was singled out as “that guy”… the one that “didn’t get along with the rest of the group” and “wasn’t there for the right reasons.” (If he were a female on the Bachelor and other women were giving monologues about the incident.) As if… any of this a normal human mating ritual. Quite frankly, it is not, just in case you were not certain. The men wanted Andrew gone because they felt like he did not represent the ‘common goal’ and why would we want someone on our hunt that did not share our common objective? We don’t. Andrew is not, nor was he ever, a threat to the other men… he is quite simply not representing his common goal. Andrew, however, remains.

Drew brought up the distinctive difference between the way the bachelorettes on The Bachelor treat one another and how they thin down the herd, so to speak. He stated that the women on The Bachelorette have a solid history of two things when it comes to being placed with a group of other women to vie for The Bachelor’s affections.

  1. The girl who says “I am here to find my man, not make friends.” does not EVER do well. (Until Juan Pablo… he chose that girl… but he doesn’t count.)
  2. The women who do not adopt that sense of competition with the other women as mentioned in 1 — band together and have girl-gossip and spill their guts to one another and then, for some strange reason, it does not occur to them until roughly the final four, that “Hey! This chick is trying to take my man!” and then the gloves come off… and all of that friend-making nonsense is out the window.

I am going to go out on a limb and say that #1 – the girl who says “I am here to find my man, not make friends.” is probably the most realistic when it comes to this kind of controlled social experiment. You aren’t. You are there to show how you measure up in survival of the fittest fashion. Here’s the deal, women DO NOT support other women. Males see these, going waaaaayyyyyyy back to the neanderthal days, as pack hunts with the woman being the prey, the hunted. They have fun camaraderie and they joke around. They do NOT share their feelings with the other men and they most certainly see this as a group effort.  (Drew helped with this by putting it into perspective that I as a female couldn’t.) When boys leave the court, or the field what – have – you, in their chosen sport they say “Good game!” and shake hands and then they can leave their rough and tumble nonsense on the field even if they were total jackholes to one another during gametime. They leave it there and then walk away. Women are not capable of this unless they are truly seasoned players in the sense that they have a contract and an expectation of standards as to how to act. That takes focus —- these women are not professional athletes. These are chicks hoping for their 15 minutes of fame, or if you’re like me and hopeful for the human race, hoping to meet the man she will marry and have children with and virtually have an AMAZING documentary of their beginning, and a bad ass “How we met…” story to tell the children and grandchildren. (Though… I sadly don’t think its the latter of the two.)

Women in post-modern society that would put themselves out there for a show like this have a social construct working against them. “Women are the weaker species” and instead of watching a “love story” unfold, we are watching the women on The Bachelor in hopes to see the trainwrecks CRASH and BURN! Because that is what we do to women in our society. We watch these shows and start breaking down the women by how they look or what they are wearing as if their accomplishments, education, personality, couldn’t possibly be noteworthy… but when we watch the men, we don’t mention unattractive men, we point out issues with their personality or their lack of accomplishments in life, but both sexes will freely point out that one male is more attractive than the other without also coupling that with “But this other guy is fugly.” Nope. We leave that to the women to do to the other women. —- AND men and women onlookers both, after reading about 20 different articles and a hundred or so tweets about the show, point out drastically less negative superficial aspects of men and focus more on whether or not they are a financially viable choice and what level of socially awkward may be slightly off-putting to Andi. When I mentioned this earlier I was just going by what I have read in the textbooks about the way men and women are perceived in society. Once I got on Twitter to find proof to back up those statements, I did not have to look far.  The women are quite simply torn to shreds in superficial fashion with absolutely ZERO mercy. I was hard-pressed in my journey to find ANY tweets that mentioned their education, their accomplishments, their intelligence, anything. The very best I could find was ” I guess I am #TeamClare by default.” or an affectionate “We love Nikki! “#teamnikki!” —- but other than that its a blood bath!

 

For example… Tweets from the Twitterverse. (Under the hashtag #TheBachelor about the women of the most recent season of The Bachelor – Juan Pablo)

 

“Reality Show Villain Courtney Robertson DID NOT Come here to Make Friends!” (Along with about 100 photos of excerpts from her book talking about her sexual experiences in the Fantasy Suite with Ben and then hash-tagging her a #whore or a #skank.)

(Replying to a fellow Tweeter) “I really don’t think you should be on #TheBachelor because you don’t meet the criteria of psycho anorexic girl.”

“Clare should shoot whoever did her eyelash extensions.”

“Even Andi’s dress can’t distract me from how awkward this night has been.”

“They are in a boat and Nikki isn’t wearing much to cover her privates.

“Clare is eliminating herself because her Botox is wearing off.”

“Nikki – in response to your roots showing. EeeeesssssNOTokay”

“As much as I hate Clare, I just can’t get on team Nikki because of her awful, awful hair.”

“Chris Harrison says that they absolutely will NOT be casting any ‘fatties’ for their next casting call for #TheBachelor.”

The men on these shows, we watch their one on one dates in awe, scoff at that guy’s shameless attempts at “spitting game” (not a good thing if you’re a woman) but we do not sit there anticipating and hoping that there will be this catastrophic “self-elimination” of the lesser-educated, quirky, skanky, or aggressive like we do with females. We just don’t do that as a society. We have been taught to see any other women as a threat to our well-being and men as stronger accomplished figures… Who cares what they look like, right? Look way back into history, deep history, where women did not work and the theme was a one income household. Women needed their husbands for survival and if there were women (read pretty much every literary masterpiece and you’ll find a red-headed Jezebel that comes in and screws shit up somehow for other women) that were more ostentatious and outgoing or dressed more revealing women saw them as a threat if they were to catch the eye of their husbands – thus tampering with their stability and their home-life. These themes have carried into the modern era even though we are self sufficient, liberated (mostly), and make our own money (though not as much as a man!) and we don’t have a survival-like need to keep them. Fast forward to now and every single reality TV show we watch maintains these themes in pop culture.

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While America has no real viable explanation as to why we watch this show — we all agree on one thing tried and true — that this is not the normal or ideal environment for nurturing a new relationship with the potential for commitment. However, it is a fascinating case study as to how women, more so than men, in pop culture differ on the large scale when it comes to perspectives of the public. No wonder we are all starving. No wonder we are all going broke on designer clothes and extensive beauty modifications –  because society is cruel to women as a whole. Let that sink in.

 

Here’s another VERY interesting read along the exact same thought process. Writer Roxanne Gay hits the nail on the head. Pop Culture USA you just #Served.

The Marriage Plot

-Alyssa

 

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