Why ‘The Bachelor’ and ‘The Bachelorette’ Is Bad Television

When it comes to The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, viewers either love it or hate it. Fans of the show tune in for the tears, the screaming, and the inevitable jealous fits. There’s a reason the shows have continued to be two of ABC’s top-rated shows year after year.

Chris Harrison and Hannah Brown
The Bachelorette host, Chris Harrison, with this seasons ‘Bachelorette’, Hannah Brown | John Fleenor via Getty Images

But the two shows are not without obvious flaws, as talk show host Kelly Ripa recently pointed out. Over the years, The Bachelor and The Bachelorette have been the subject of blog posts, Facebook debates, and talk show discussions. Let’s dig into why The Bachelor and The Bachelorette are just plain bad TV.

There’s an obvious lack of diversity

It’s hard to overlook one of The Bachelor’s biggest flaws. The entire Bachelor franchise suffers from a serious lack of diversity. During the 23 seasons of The Bachelor and the 15 seasons of The Bachelorette, there has been only one non-white lead.

Season 13 of The Bachelorette featured Rachel Lindsay, the show’s first black lead. But, even though the show seemed to make progress in the diversity of its casting, the season ended on a sour note, according to Lindsay.

The Dallas-native noted that the focus of her finale wasn’t on her proposal, but rather on the controversial exit of her season’s runner up. Lindsay says that she was denied her on TV happy ending and was “labeled an angry black female.” To top it off, every lead since then has been white. 

It places women in a stereotypical box

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Let’s be honest, The Bachelor is heavily edited. What viewers see is women crying, fighting over a boy, and obsessing over how they look. Sure, this makes for entertaining television, but for women in general, it portrays them as vapid and emotional.

Tying into the lack of diversity, 90% of the women have long flowing hair (usually blonde) and are made up 100% of the time. The show typically doesn’t cast “tomboys”. Plus, the women are always in the gorgeous ball gowns during the show’s premiere and during every rose ceremony. Also, let’s not forget that all of the women are about a size two.

There may be a certain demographic that The Bachelor franchise is going after and their approach may be bringing in the ratings, but is it really good TV? There is no reality in the portrayal of women on the show. If you ask us, the whole show plays out as a romance novel, rather than a reality show. The only difference – as most fans know is that The Bachelor and Bachelorette rarely end with a happily ever after.

It’s anti-feminist

Take a look at the basic premise of The Bachelor. One man dates 25 women in the hope of finding his true love. At the end of the season, after knowing the women for a very short amount of time, he is encouraged to propose marriage to his new love. What’s more, at the end of each show, The Bachelor hands out roses to the women in an archaic ceremony where the women hope to be one of the chosen.

Sure, The Bachelorette flips the roles a little. The woman has her choosing of 25 men, with the hopes of finding her true love. But if this is the women’s version of the show, why does she still rely on her chosen suitor to propose at the end?

In The Bachelor, the man picks out the ring and proposes to the one woman he is in love with. On The Bachelorette the final two men remaining both buy a ring and both propose. What is wrong with flipping the norm and having the woman propose to her bachelor at the end of the show? What is the point of having two men propose? It’s about time The Bachelorette really embraces female empowerment rather than just saying they do.