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“The Bachelor” Promotes Toxic Relationship Standards

The reality television show exploits participants and viewers alike through manipulated narratives and unhealthy dating.
Graphic by Will Gaffey and Zoie Carlile

The Bachelor is a world famous reality dating TV show that has maintained its popularity through 28 seasons.

Despite its large number of enthusiastic viewers, this show has enormous effects on its contestants and viewers alike. The show capitalizes on women’s insecurities and pushes a manipulative narrative within young relationships.

The Bachelor is a show where one man dates 30 different women who all share the same living quarters. The women go on different dates with the same man over the course of two months in hopes of gaining a ring at the end.

For starters, 30 women dating the same guy is absolutely absurd. Not only are they forced to talk to each other and gossip about the personal details of their date, but they have to live with each other as well. It forces these women into a non monogamous relationship with the same man that they otherwise may not have accepted. Watching these toxic encounters may influence young women to lower their standards for respect and boundaries.

The constant competition between women on the show also fosters insecurities which is hard to watch as a viewer. In the most recent season, this is displayed through the friendship between Maria and Sydney. Their constant competition has caused a combative
relationship between the two of them and has ultimately created tension throughout the entire group of women. As a watcher, it can be easily misinterpreted that insecurities within relationships are normal, especially to a younger audience. Shows that display this type of competition for a relationship are completely ridiculous and should not be promoted.

While this show creates a combative environment for the women on the show, it is true that these women knew that they were signing up to compete with each other when they applied for the show. However, these women most likely did not understand how negatively it will affect their mental health until they were actually on the show. Contestant Lauren Hollinger is a notable example of how unaware contestants are of the emotional effects of the show. Within the first few episodes she made the choice to leave due to how stressful and damaging competing with other girls really was.

Additionally, the show exploits young women who are not fully emotionally mature. The average age for the Bachelor is 26 while the average age for the Bachelorette is 30. The Bachelorette features the same concept as the Bachelor however it is men competing for one woman’s attention. The Bachelor is full of drama and petty girls fighting. But in stark contrast, the Bachelorette is a more mature show where the men are capable of containing their emotions, largely due to the emotional maturity that accompanies age.
Marketing these two shows as the same concept despite the difference in average age creates a skewed idea of women’s emotional maturity in comparison to men’s.

It is also important to note that the producers of the show are able to push a certain narrative by cutting clips, staging conversations and inciting conflict. As a result, viewers are influenced to favor certain contestants and grow to hate others. Some women are forced into a villian image despite the fact that what we are seeing may not be the case at all. These personas that are created for the women are artificial, but the consequences that they face are real.

This is not an isolated issue. Many producers and directors use social media in combination with manipulating reality television to amp up the drama in their shows.

The Bachelor is just one example of a television show that creates a toxic environment for its contestants and viewers. Every single episode the show releases is tailored to influence viewers’ opinions. While the show is fun in theory and allows for a great Monday night watch, the underlying consequences outweigh the temporary satisfaction of an hour and a half of entertainment.

About the Contributor
Libby Howell
Libby Howell, Features editor
What are you looking forward to on the staff this year? Being able to make new friends with the staff! Who are your favorite music artists? Drake, The Lumineers, and Zach Bryan What causes are you passionate about? Gun control and women's rights