we have been watching "the bachelor"
I've been holding off watching The Bachelor for ages, thinking it a bridge too far, despite Grace's fascination with the show. We have other reality TV favourites; Survivor, MKR and Masterchef. I finally gave in because it meant that I could watch Offspring straight afterwards on live telly rather than waiting for catch up the next day. Which I guess is pretty shallow and follows a path of little resistance. Anyway I have to say that I find The Bachelor horrifying, absolutely squirm inducing horrifying but at the same time quite watchable and erm, kind of fascinating.
We decided the other night that it was a bit like Matty J was at a bakery tasting all the cupcakes and other bakery treats (except that they are mostly vanilla cupcakes because the women offered up for consumption are all more or less white with pretty hair, conventionally attractive thin bodies, and very white straight teeth) before he decided which one he wanted to take home and eat for ever, without ever looking at another cupcake or bakery treat. Some he takes a bite out of and goes, ugh pah, no thanks (but really politely because this is not MKR), some he bites and puts back, thinking I will come back and taste that one again later and compare it with the other ones I like. Some, sadly he never tastes at all. At this point he has narrowed it down to six lovely vanilla cupcakes.
One woman legged it and I am kind of (but not really) surprised that more of the women haven't done this. And no-one has refused a rose at any of the rose ceremonies or on any of the dates. Despite the revealing dresses and occasional pin the sticker on the penis, it is really quite decorous. The kissing is formulaic and staged, they talk earnestly about their feeling and values. It is seemingly all about the straight, white monogamous marriage afterwards. Which is why it is funny and odd and squirmy that he is choosing a partner from this group of women living like a harem. They might be in competition with each other but some women seem to get along quite well. My inner feminist is trying to figure out exactly what is wrong with it all - apart from the white, cis, hetro, monogamy fantasy - I mean none of these girlwomen have been forced into the show, they can leave, they are not without some degree of agency in all this. But still. Cupcakes.
I think some of my squirminess comes from the pursuit of a "traditional" monogamous marriage in a situation where he is simultaneously dating and kissing more than one woman. This does obviously happen in real life but the opportunity to string more than one romantic possibility along would be real for both the man and the woman. And then if they both wanted an exclusive relationship with each other, well that's when they would get "serious." At least I think that's how it works. However in The Bachelor it is obvious that many of the women are afraid to risk their hearts while he is still seeing and kissing other women. Yet the show and its drama demands it. Not to mention the ranking and humiliating voting out that is the rose ceremony. I wonder if there was real attraction and pairing whether it would happen behind the scenes and the rest is just a play out for television? It is awful this dating and relating performance, but why so watchable? Apparently we need to watch The Bachelorette when it comes on to compare. At least it leads to some interesting discussions about romance and why the real world is not like this. She might get to watch it, but not without some snarky mum commentary.