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Posts Tagged ‘bachelorette’

Hello Again, The Bachelorette

In Television, Uncategorized on May 18, 2012 at 7:00 am

The Bachelorette is back but sadly not better than ever. Last week, we were told that this season is making Bachelorette history by featuring its first single mom, Emily Maynard. And the production moved ALL the way to North Carolina for Emily and her daughter Ricki. Also, in a new twist, the men all knew the Bachelorette would be Emily. History in the making! Okay, maybe not. But Girls Likes Giants still wants to chime on the new Bachelorette season, Emily, and the season premiere.

Sarah T:

The Bachelorette is back! On a scale of negative 3 million to 1, how invested are you in this season? The woman looking for love is a beautiful robot with the mannerisms of a game show hostess, and the show expects us to believe that the words “luxury brand consultant,” strung together, can reasonably be understood as a “job.” That is not a job, show! That is a made-up thing that people put on their business cards so they can pretend like they’re doing something with their lives besides paying too much money for hair products and belts and macaroons. WHERE I COME FROM PEOPLE DON’T HAVE THE LUXURY OF BELTS. (Technically false, but true in spirit. I own four belts. 2/4 are inherited from my mom, one I bought in high school, and one I got at H&M three years ago.) Read the rest of this entry »

Interlude: The Bachelor & Weeping Women

In Interlude, The Bachelor on January 9, 2012 at 7:35 pm

Phoebe B.

Last year, I watched The Bachelorette and it was my first foray into any Bachelor-related programming. Truth be told, I loved it and watched the Ashley season religiously. Sometimes I even yelled at the TV, as if I was watching football, when Ashley fell for that terrible Bentley dude or made other odd choices. Plus, Ben F. who proposed to Ashley only to be rejected in favor of J.P (which was seemingly the right choice for her) was totally my favorite: a winemaker from Sonoma, outdoorsy, funny, and adorable. In case you can’t tell, I had a bit of a TV crush on him (in good company with real people like Ben Folds, Shawn Stockman, and David Boreanaz; and characters like Smash Williams and Tim Riggins, and quite a few others). Thus, when I heard that he was the new Bachelor, I thought I would certainly watch his season. And then, I saw this ad.

And I thought maybe not. And then Sarah T. asked me this question: “is it possible that The Bachelor is super-sexist and misogynistic while The Bachelorette is relatively progressive?” And I thought, yes it does seem that way. Although I am not too quick to label The Bachelorette as progressive, in the wake of these ads, The Bachelorette looks more and more like a mini dash of not horribly regressive TV. The thing about The Bachelorette, for me at least, is that it fulfills a certain kind of fantasy in which a bunch of very attractive and reasonably interesting (not all the time) people vie for my, I mean The Bachelorette’s, attention. And at least in Ashley’s season, the drama surrounded the choices she made, rather than drama between the guys (perhaps save for the crazy masked Jeff, remember him?). The show did not rely on the men being mean to each other in order to create the primary drama, nor did the advertisements showcase a guy crying. This choice, it seems, is due to gendered expectations and notions of what The Bachelorette audience might find appealing. Read the rest of this entry »

Choosing You: The Bachelorette

In Uncategorized on July 21, 2011 at 7:18 am

Sarah Todd

[Previously: Phoebe wrote about The Big Bad Bentley & The Bachelorette]

I watched my first-ever episode of The Bachelorette at Phoebe’s house earlier this summer. Having never seen the show or its Bachelor brethren before, I was having a hard time getting my television-bearings. It is a testament to Phoebe’s graciousness that she did not go insane in response to my questions. “Is that the host?” I’d ask every time a guy appeared onscreen. I couldn’t tell the host apart from the other dudes; they all have the same teeth. “Do the guys really like Ashley or are they just in it to win it? What if she doesn’t like any of them? What if two of the guys fall in love with each other? What if the host falls in love with the contestant? What’s a rose do? How do they pick the Bachelorette? Do any couples really stay together? War, what is it good for?” Phoebe is a good friend, is what I’m saying, and also, as has been noted by everyone who has ever seen the show ever, The Bachelor and The Bachelorette take place in a bizarre alternate universe that bears no resemblance to what dating is like for normal people.

First of all, there’s no texting, because apparently no one is allowed to have a phone, so people communicate via calling cards on silver platters like in a Henry James novel. Ninety-five percent of dates end with fountains and fireworks and paper lanterns and other things that serve as metaphors for love’s bursting/floating feeling. While out on the town in foreign countries, Ashley and the fellow of the day often stop random strangers on the street and ask them for dating advice, which is a strange way to be a tourist. (“Excuse me, you look wise, how do you get through the rough patches to create a Lasting Love?” “Look lady, I’m just a person eating a sandwich.”) Also, all of the contestants this season appear to be white. I’m not sure if this has been the case in previous iterations of the show, but it’s problematic that the producers, with 30 slots to fill, chose a cast that lacks diversity.

Continuing on the lack-of-realism train, after one or two pleasant conversations and maybe a kiss, Ashley and the guys start throwing around words like “marriage” and “commitment,” which seems a little fast, as does the fact that some of the dates this season have included “pretending to get married” and “taking pretend-wedding photos.” Those are weird activity choices, and they are not fun for anybody unless you are Miss Piggy in The Muppets Take Manhattan. If you are Miss Piggy in said film, Hello! I love your work.

One thing that is realistic about The Bachelorette, however, is Ashley’s low self-esteem. She worries constantly that the guys on the show don’t really like her, or are there for the “wrong reasons” (free publicity for their family businesses/free 15 minutes of fame), or would have preferred a different Bachelorette. On dates, she needs a fair amount of reassurance that people are having fun.  For some reason, the show arranged a roast for Ashley in which she would get affectionately ribbed by her potential suitors: a crazy idea, because her skin is approximately as thick as an onion peel, and also because the affectionate part seemed to get forgotten pretty fast. Unsurprisingly, Ashley did not have a good time.

Ashley’s poor sense of self-worth also seems to have led her to go for Bentley, a dude she had even been warned about in advance by someone going by the improbably Bond-girl-esque name of Michelle Money. (Ashley and Bentley and the host refer to Michelle Money all the time, as if we are supposed to know who she is. Was she on a previous season? Do they just like saying her name? If that’s the reason, I can’t blame them.) I think what happened is that Ashley knew, deep-down, that Bentley was bad news and she said to herself, I deserve to be with guys who are bad news and who will never treat me well, so she decided she really liked him. Ashley! Come back to the light. There are cookies here, and people who are not named after cars.

I say that Ashley’s low-self esteem is realistic not because I think she ought to have low self-esteem; rather, it’s realistic because she represents low self-esteem so well. Lots of awesome people have low self-esteem despite having many great things going for them. Ashley is pretty, fun, a good dancer, and occasionally just goofy enough to make me think she’s got a whole lot of secret quirkiness bottled up. And yet she is convinced that other people—particularly guys—don’t like her, or don’t like her enough.

I think that’s ultimately what’s so compelling about The Bachelorette this season. Ashley’s trying to find a husband (boyfriend? It seems like the proposal at the end should just be a proposal to date each other in real life), while I’m rooting for her to find some confidence. And a husband/boyfriend/person to date too, if that’s what she wants, but it seems like that will probably be easier–and involve fewer tears–once she’s more comfortable in her own skin. I know the show isn’t supposed to be about self-discovery, but a Kelly Taylor “I choose me” moment would be awesome, wouldn’t it? Then again, it would also be awesome if Ashley wore a disguise and went to spy on the other contestants, and if The Mask returned, and if they all had to solve a mystery together. I think I wish The Bachelorette was Scooby Doo. But as for Ashley: I think she’s fine just the way she is, and I hope she ends up believing it as well.

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