The Bachelor Finale Demonstrates Hollywood Has No Idea What Love Is

The Bachelor Finale Demonstrates Hollywood Has No Idea What Love Is

The Bachelor Finale Demonstrates Hollywood Has No Idea What Love Is

I don’t follow The Bachelor, but the finale of season 22 caused such a stir in the media yesterday (see The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, TIME) that I couldn’t help but become intrigued. People are completely up in arms.

Here’s what happened: it was revealed on Monday that this season’s Bachelor, Arie Luyendyk Jr., proposed to one girl, Becca, waited several weeks, and broke the engagement off. Then, yesterday, he proposed to the runner up, Lauren, on live TV in front of Becca.

People spent the better part of yesterday raging about Arie’s exploits on Twitter:

In case you are like me and carefully avoid watching The Bachelor, here’s how the show works: one single guy gets thrown together with twenty-five (or so) hot women. He takes them on extravagant dates where the women attempt to bond with him (as well as one can while simultaneously competing with twenty four other hot women) and act sexy. Gradually, he eliminates the women one-by-one over the course of the show until there are only a handful left. At that point, he might start sleeping with the remaining contestants one-by-one in the “Fantasy Suite.” The women talk about how they’re falling in love with him. At the end of the season, he may propose to the last woman standing.

I know what you’re thinking. This show is obviously a paragon of moral virtue and a model upon which we should mold our perceptions of healthy dating and romance.

Just kidding. No one would ever think that (except the contestants on The Bachelor). Unsurprisingly, the couples that result from the show are known for breaking up. If you watch this past season’s trailers, you see Arie, the bachelor, having one “romantic” moment after another, but with tons of different women, contemporaneously. And then, at the end of the season, he disposes of Becca and takes up with Lauren, just like that. No big deal.

That doesn’t sound loving or healthy.

And yet, The Bachelor enjoys a weekly viewership of millions of people when seasons are active.

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The Bachelor may be entertaining, but it is symptomatic of the fact that Americans’ collective concept of romantic love is beleaguered by cultural decay and generational self-centeredness. Maybe we should, as a culture, give our attention to shows that don’t:

  • debase women by putting them into situations where they are enticed by the possibility of a shallow connection with a man who is okay with appraising them against others, like they’re pedigreed Shih Tzus
  • present beauty as one of a woman’s most important qualities
  • communicate that it’s okay for a man to simultaneously date (and get physical with) lots of women at the same time
  • suggest that “love” is more about how you feel about someone instead of what you’re willing to do or sacrifice on behalf of someone
  • imply that compatibility is more important than commitment in terms of making relationships work

Just some thoughts.

But until we can get our act together on that front, we can look forward to seeing Becca take up her newly designated role as the fourteenth Bachelorette.

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  • Scott says:

    Well said, I’ve never understood the attraction to these shows. Most women would loose their shit (and rightfully so) if they knew someone doing that in real life, but on TV, they love it… collective insanity i guess… the only thing i’d add, and it’s not really a disagreement, is that the part where you talk about “shows that don’t….” your comments are all directed at this show, and about women, but exactly the same things could be said directed towards men, on the bachelorette…

  • Timmy says:

    I can honestly say I have never seen that show.

  • George V says:

    We’ve found out that other so-called “reality shows” were in fact scripted. Odds are this whole thing was also prepped and scripted weeks in advance. It’s as phony as a TV wrestling match.

  • Brian Brandt says:

    I remember one of the initial examples of this kind of show about 15 years ago – “Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire” A woman from each state was paraded in front of a guy that the audience could see sitting in silhouette behind a translucent screen. The ‘contestants’ were quickly pared down to about 5, and they each had to come up with a statement about why they wanted to marry this guy that they had never met. Finally the guy came out and picked one of the women – One Darva Conger by name. They got married right there on stage and took off for their honeymoon.

    It was all so bizarre that I couldn’t look away, like looking at a bloody wreck by the side of the road.

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