Ah, another winter, another season of The Bachelor. I don’t know about you, but it’s certainly how I mark my year. Winter = The Bachelor. Spring = The Bachelorette. Summer = Bachelor In Paradise. Fall = Analyzing my empty life. With every season comes a new cast of characters, but there’s something that really bugs me about the change of Bachelorette to Bachelor. When The Bachelorette is on, the contestants on the show are called “men” or “guys” or “suitors.” When it’s The Bachelor’s turn, the contestants are almost always called “girls.” Rarely does Chris Harrison say the word “women." Why are the male contestants of Bachelor Nation called by the adult noun of their gender but the females are not? The women on The Bachelor should not be called girls.
If you want to argue that the women are on a show that is basically patriarchy-central, I’d tend to agree with you there. There’s no way around it — this world is a patriarchy, and The Bachelor was formed on the notion of the fairy tale romance in which a man whisks away a woman to marry her and they live happily ever after. But, for all intents and purposes here, let’s just address this and move on. Like I said, we are living and breathing in the patriarchy. But, The Bachelor does not take place in a vacuum, and there are feminists who watch the show despite its problems (like myself). Plus, these contestants chose to participate on The Bachelor, and we should trust in that. Still, they deserve to be treated well, and here is why I think it’s wrong to call the ladies of The Bachelor "girls."
It Undermines Their Accomplishments
Sure, some of the contestants on The Bachelor have had producer-given job titles like “Free Spirit” and “Chicken Enthusiast,” but for the most part, the women of The Bachelor have worked their butts off to get where they are today. Some of them have really tough jobs — Whitney Bischoff of Chris Soules’ season is a fertility nurse. Former Bachelorette Andi Dorfman was an Assistant District Attorney in Atlanta. These women were making babies and locking away criminals, respectively — It’s not right to call them “girls.” They are women with strong careers and work ethics.
It Discounts Their Feelings
Women are far too often told they’re being “crazy” or “hysterical” as soon as they even begin to emote a feeling. In the pressure cooker situation of being on a show like The Bachelor, people tend to be a little more emotional. Calling the contestant on the show “girls” infantilizes them and invalidates whatever feelings they may have on the show. Referring to the women as girls counts them out immediately as rational creatures. Instead, they’re just little girls looking for love in what is most likely the wrong place.
It Makes It Creepy
I’m all for doing what you want to do in the bedroom — you want to dress up, talk baby talk, wear a schoolgirl outfit, that’s cool. You do you. But, what I can’t wrap my mind around is this fixation with wanting a “girl” to be with. Why do men (or women) want a “cute girl” when they could get a strong, intelligent adult woman instead? Calling the women "girls" on The Bachelor holds them all at arm’s length so you don’t really have to get to know them. They’re just girls and the Bachelor is a man looking for his pick of the litter.
Will Chris Harrison stop calling the women of The Bachelor "girls?" Probably not any time soon, but recognizing that it is an issue and why it is an issue is important for viewers to do — after all, that’s how you start knocking down barriers — brick by feminist brick.
Images: Craig Sjodin; Giphy (3)