I’m sure we’re all familiar with the ABC hit show “The Bachelor.” Premiering in 2002, the show features typically 25 women competing for the love affections of The Bachelor himself. The show has garnered millions of viewers throughout its 10 years of airtime, despite the fact that as of the end of Season 15, none of the bachelors had married the women they presented the final rose to.
So, with a losing streak of 15 seasons, why is “The Bachelor” so popular? In short, because women are still enamored with the idea of the fairytale ending of finding the perfect man and becoming his wife. Just as how princess culture sets unrealistic standards of beauty for women and girls, reality shows like “The Bachelor” set unrealistic standards for relationships. I don’t know about the rest of you, but the dates I go on usually don’t involve helicopter rides, shopping sprees and private planes.
I won’t blame the actual bachelors for this unrealistic representation, however. ABC is the one who decides where the bachelors and their ladies will go on the dates, and in the past few seasons, it seems as if they have gotten more and more elaborate. Watching this on TV only increases thoughts of “Why can’t I find a man like that?” in single women viewers everywhere. But, the main question is, does a man like that even exist?
Sure, some of the Bachelor contestants have been attractive, smart, successful men who in many ways could be classified as a “catch.” But even “nice guy” bachelors such as Jake Pavelka of Season 14 have been de-glamorized after their seasons aired, and nasty breakups ensued. The bachelors, despite their good qualities, are placed in a situation that no “average” man would ever be in—the object of affection for 25 women at once. They are encouraged to pursue relationships with all of these women, which in the world outside of “The Bachelor,” would be highly controversial and frowned upon.
And let’s talk about the women. In every season, there are women that are portrayed as desperate, crazy, emotionally unstable, catty, childish and vindictive. Of course, there are so-called “normal” women contestants, but it seems that the majority of the TV show is focused on the mean girls of the house—the ones that stir up drama, thus increasing viewership of the show. While editing is probably a main part of this representation of the women, it’s a shame in the first place that in 2012, we are still at a point where women on TV are widely being portrayed with these characteristics. That in itself is degrading to all “The Bachelor” contestants and women as a whole.
So while “The Bachelor” sets unrealistic dating expectations and degrades single women as a whole, it still remains one of the most popular dating shows on TV. I suppose that women are looking past these things, either by turning a blind eye or by naively hoping for “the fairytale” that “The Bachelor” presents.