The Bachelor: Romance or Degradation?


Ashley Aguilar, Author

The Bachelor is all fun and romance where relationships are made, right? Why would anyone think it’s an unhealthy show? Well, here is why.

The Bachelor is a dating and relationship reality TV series. It has been on ABC since 2002 and is hosted by Chris Harrison. The show’s success has resulted in several spin-offs, such as The Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise, and The Bachelor Winter Games.

The Bachelor is about one man dating 30 women at once. In each weekly episode, a few contestants, who are forced to live with each other, are eliminated during the rose ceremony, which is where the bachelor hands out roses to the contestants he wants to keep around. If a contestant doesn’t receive a rose, she is eliminated. Contestants can also be eliminated during group dates or one-on-one dates.

Toward the end of the season, the bachelor and four of the women go on overnight dates, and they meet each other’s families. In the finale, the bachelor proposes to one of the two remaining contestants whom he has “fallen in love with” after only two months.

This show pits women against each other. Out of jealousy, they often attack each other verbally and trash talk each other. “I am not here to make friends” is a phrase used often on the show. In addition, the women are often portrayed as insane, jealous and overly emotional.

The Bachelor objectifies women. How? Here’s an example: In season 19, a group date required the contestants to ride tractors in bikinis. This sends the message to young women that they need to flaunt their bodies for male attention.

In an interview with Us Weekly, Barbara Walters, a broadcast journalist, author, and television personality, spoke out about the show: “I have to say that I love ABC, and am very happily employed, but I think this show is such a degradation to women.”

In The Bachelorette Season 11 premiere, the male contestants voted on the women they wanted to be the bachelorette. The men spoke about Kaitlyn Bristowe and Britt Nelson like they were objects, debating which woman would be a trophy wife.

The shows also display a double standard for men and women. The bachelor could sleep with three girls on the overnight date and it wouldn’t be a big deal, as when Nick Viall slept with three of the contestants. On the other hand, bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe was slut-shamed for spending the night with runner-up Nick Viall.

The contestants have no real contact with the world while filming. The women leave their jobs and families to participate in the show.

“We are not allowed to speak to friends or family until we get home,” Season 14 contestant Ashleigh Hunt told The Ashley’s Reality Roundup. “Phones and computers are taken away the day you get there. We sit in the house or by the pool; it gets pretty boring.”

“You cannot leave the house, ever,” she added.

“There’s no TV or internet in the house,” Chris Harrison told Entertainment Weekly.

“The whole thing is to be about the bachelor and the show.”

There have also been allegations of racism against the show. “From watching it from day one, there wasn’t a lot of diversity,” said Season 17 contestant Leslie Hughes in an interview with The Daily Beast. “The contestants were always Caucasian, blonde, blue eyes.”

According to the news site Splinter, no previous season featured more than two African-American women, and the majority of African-American women contestants were eliminated in the first three weeks of the season.

But the show has made attempts at increasing diversity. Recently, Rachel Lindsay made history as the first African-American bachelorette in Season 21 of The Bachelorette.

In The Bachelor, critics say, the concept of love is a joke. Instead of developing a deep emotional connection, the contestants are encouraged to view the experience as a game that is to be won or lost.