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Love The Bachelor and a feminist? Sorry, you can't be both

ANOTHER year, another Bachelor series. Another opportunity for armchair feminists to abandon the cause for some cheap entertainment and an office sweep.

Twenty-two young and beautiful women surrendering their dignity to throw themselves at a handsome stranger who, last year, was one of 22 handsome young men who surrendered his dignity to throw himself at a young and beautiful woman in the hopes of finding "true love", only to get pipped at the post.

And thus we have the self-perpetuating cringe-fest that is The Bachelor - the annual indictment of us as a society where feminism takes a backward step of 50 years.

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I don’t know what emotion this is.
I don’t know what emotion this is. Channel 10

Workplace kitchens will be filled for the next few months with inane chatter about "Bachy" and his ever-dwindling harem, while disinterested innocent bystanders will be left wondering if the kettle is deep enough to drown themselves in.

Tans will be sprayed. Roses will be distributed. Tears will be shed.

There will be talk of "journeys" and mascara stained farewells with "special girls" who will remain hopeful that they will "find someone".

Kosher Iceberg will make earnest looking facial expressions while stating the bleeding obvious. And the sisterhood will die a little more.

Somehow, we live in a world where shows like The Bachelor have become legitimate forms of both entertainment and finding a mate.

But at what cost a rose?

"..." Channel 10

Well, there's dignity. From the first - and hopefully the only - episode I subjected myself to last night it was clear to see that, from the girls genuinely seeking love to the ones who were just downright foolish and in it for the Instagram followers, dignity is in short supply on The Bachelor.

That one episode left me feeling that someone should do this poor bloke a favour and give him a one way mirror view of the cocktail party just to see how these ladies turn into cats.

Given the entire premise of the show, it's hard to understand why any self-respecting woman would subject themselves to it.

And it's the premise of The Bachelor that has always irked me. Twenty-two girls placed in a highly manufactured environment with a few strategically placed troublemakers to stir the pot and raise the tension, all desperately - and I mean DESPERATELY - competing for the affection of one guy. It borders on predatory.

Personally - and I say this recognising my white maleness and therefore assuming my responsibility for all things oppressive patriarchy - I think shows like The Bachelor do significant harm to the cause of feminism.

These 22 women trying to win Matty's heart... but at what cost? (Pic: Channel 10)
These 22 women trying to win Matty's heart... but at what cost? (Pic: Channel 10)

The number of Bachy fans I know who would normally be raging against male privilege and patriarchy, yet immerse themselves in The Bachelor each time it rolls around, makes modern feminism very hard to take seriously.

We're talking about a show designed from the ground up to create drama by playing on women's insecurities and having them bring out the worst in each other, all while clamouring for the attention of a guy who's dating them all.

The preening, the jockeying for attention, the bitchy take-downs. These girls make Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather look like BFF pen pals from a girls boarding school. It's exasperating.

Worse still is the excuse "ah, it's just a bit of fun". Sure, if seeing people's dysfunction - from their lack of self-awareness to their insecurities to their downright brokenness - played out on national TV is your idea of fun. The whole setting might be manufactured, but the baggage is real. The more I think about it the more sick the whole idea feels.

 

 

I get it. We all like a bit of car crash TV. And I can see that there might be a rich vein of schadenfreude to be enjoyed watching this show. But it goes to show the shallowness of some people's convictions that they might profess to be feminists and yet abandon the cause for something as anti-women as The Bachelor.

Some people will probably take the "women's empowerment" angle; that, much like the nude selfie, these women are somehow empowering themselves by owning their bodies or their situation or some other rubbish.

And there will be those who say: "Hey stupid, haven't you ever heard of a show call The Bachelorette? This cuts both chromosomes you know!"

But nude selfies aren't empowering, and The Bachelorette is equally as gross, just more muscly.

Nice.
Nice. Channel 10

There's no female solidarity to be found in The Bachelor. Check your membership to the sisterhood at the red carpet, this is a catfight all the way. And when we watch it, we're complicit.

The whole thing is just sad and pretty much comes down to women being exploited for entertainment.

And there's nothing feminist about that.

Topics:  editors picks entertainment the bachelor

News Corp Australia


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