For Realz?: Why The Bachelorette?

bachelorette.jpgI've had the season premiere of the Bachelorette on my TiVo all week, because I thought I should at least try to watch it for blog material. But -- I can't do it! I just can't. I got like two minutes in and I had to stop. Because, I mean, seriously? The woman who wasn't chosen to marry The Bachelor (and isn't third-place dancer Melissa on Dancing with the Stars) "gets" to come back and be objectified as marriage material by thirty more guys? Who would watch this? (though I did hear there's a foot fetishist on the show; is that entertaining enough to be worth the time?)

I'm not the type of TV watcher who enjoys watching things that are out and out horrible so I can complain about them later; I gotta have some separate reason for liking the show or I'm not going to invest the time. That said, I have plenty of feminist friends who tell me I'm totally missing out on the Bachelorette and if I started watching it, I'd really like it. Really?

On the one hand, I just can't believe that's true. On the other, though, I've been wrong about plenty of shows in the past (most notably, Project Runway). So if there's any Bachelorette watchers out there, help me out here! Worth it or not? I certainly don't mind adding something hilarious to my TV watching schedule if there's something interesting from a feminist perspective about the show (but not just the "wow, a lady turns the table on men by objectifying them!" That is not a particularly interesting new feminist perspective for me.).

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5 Comments Have Been Posted

I think you've got it

It's pretty bad. It's just gross among other things. Too many tounges and un-classy people. My mom watches a lot of reality shows, I guess for the shock factor thing or whatever, and some of them I can tolerate and watch with her, but with this one I just leave the room.

Rita's right, Bachelorette's wrong... so wrong...

This is going to surprise a total of, er, no one... but I just want to confirm for Rita that there's nothing positive about The Bachelorette. Though the series has at times claimed to be about "female empowerment" by giving "the woman all the power," that's completely disingenuous. (Or, in English: horseshit.) The producers promote and manufacture the same trite stereotypes and gender roles on The Bachelorette as they do on The Bachelor -- down to the notion that men are studs if they hook up w/tons of women, but women are sluts if they kiss a couple of guys... or even, in the case of the current Bachelorette, Jillian, if they make out with just one guy in a hot tub who they are hoping to marry.

The only moderately less offensive bit about this show is that there aren't 25 sobbing women calling themselves losers for not being "picked" and calling each other every name in the book for daring to compete for "their man." But instead of a pack of undernourished waifs wallowing in self-hatred and romantic aspirations, we get a frat house full of guys who tend to be cast based on their interest in fame far more than their interest in the woman they're supposed to be wooing as a potential fiance.

In the last issue of Bitch, I discussed the fairy tale narratives on The Bachelor and other dating shows -- it's an excerpt from my forthcoming Seal Press book, "Reality Bites Back: The Troubling Truth about Guilty Pleasure TV." Rest assured, the same tropes exist on this supposed gender-switched version. Just like the original, The Bachelorette showcases consumerism substituting for romance, the weeping woman (just this time there's only one weeping woman surrounded by lots of cocky guys), the guys are packaged as "players" and liars who aren't all that interested in love, and yet all of it masquarades as "the perfect fairy tale" between a "princess" and her many potential "princes charming." Blah blah blah... same old reality TV story. If you haven't read that

I'm writing a different chapter of the book at the moment so I don't have time to go into it all here, but I'll be tweeting some thoughts on The Bachelorette this season, so if you or other Bitch readers want to read my tweets from the series' opener, put the word #realitybitesback into Twitter's search engine and go back to the date of the premier. And if you want to follow my reality TV tweets in general, follow me at:
and look for my tweets tagged #realitybitesback

So far in the last two weeks I've live-tweeted the Bachelorette premier, as well as several episodes of American Idol... and had two very long, public Twitter conversations about gender, race, consumerism and exploitative editing on The Apprentice and Flavor of Love with former contestants on both of those shows. (Hard to do in 140 characters or less, but an interesting challenge.)

Anyway, Rita, long story short: no, there's nothing all that redeeming about The Bachelorette.

Two Cents...

Here's my spare change: watch it as a sort of sociological experiment. I am always fascinated by what people care about and spend more time trying to psychoanalyze the people on reality shows than paying attention to the shows themselves. No doubt that's the social worker in me. LOL!


I do not know why I love that show. It's voyeristic and I guess that's the part I enjoy--the peek into someone elses's, however staged and crazy, life. Jillian, the girl, is pretty normal for a reality tv star.
one thing that makes it okay in my mind to watch the people on that show torture themselves is that every single one of them was aware that they would probably suffer some sort of emotional trauma from being involved but they DID IT ANYWAY. It's fascinating.

Ya Uh No

Twenty minutes into the show, my Sister and i looked at each other and said "the only reason we are watching this is because she is from here, where we live. Why are we doing this to ourselves, lets just go down to Yaletown or Chinatown and have a beer, we are sure to see Jill hanging out with her new beau and we don't have to endure this pain". These guys are awful, how could she really pick one of these guys. Not even one Canadian in the bunch either, plz.

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