'The Bachelor' Season 20 Gets Feminist

At this point, the opinion that The Bachelor isn't feminist feels trite. Many have pointed out that ABC's long withstanding quasi-reality show feeds into wrongful heteronormative stereotypes, objectifying its female (and male) contestants along the way. That's where being a fan of The Bachelor becomes convoluted for women who identify as feminists. And yet, after 20 seasons of the show, here we are. Thousands of women and men who abide by the ideals and principles of feminism still watch the show, and, though we guffaw at certain aspects and roll our eyes at others, we stand behind it for what is. (It's important to note that by now, we know what we're getting when we tune in.) Why? Because there are plenty of feminist moments within The Bachelor. You just have to look first and criticize later.

Although The Bachelor is rooted in sexist ideals, not every moment within the franchise is anti-feminist. And, on this season in particular, the lead, the contestants, and some moments between them don't feel like a blow to our ideologies. In fact, if you've been paying attention to this particular season, you'll notice that there are indeed feminist moments within The Bachelor. Here are a few that have happened so far.

1. Jubilee's Intro Video

Jubilee immediately stood out from the crowd. In her introduction video, Jubilee explained, “People have this perception of females in the military. It’s so hard to get away from.” She's a complex individual that doesn't have her head in the clouds about the process, and it was progressive to see a strong, feminine woman be portrayed as multi-dimensional.

2. When LB Listened To Her Gut

The women on the show are often seen as "marriage crazy" (or just plain "crazy"), but it's important to remember that, while Ben is seeing if he's into them, they are doing the same thing with him. When LB decided that this wasn't for her, and honestly made note that she just hasn't spent enough time with him, it felt real. She said upon her exit, "It's just hard because, while I'm interested in him, I haven't gotten to know him well enough because being in a group of girls, it's hard to stand out. You see people who have different personalities that he's really connecting with and then it makes you question your own personality, or what you could do differently. You overthink things, too. Comparing and overthinking is all you do. And that's what I think is really hard for me." Kudos to her for trusting herself to know what she wants — and what she doesn't.

3. When Lace Left

Again, when Lace came out and told the cameras that she just wasn't ready for this, I commended her. Instead of sticking around and doing something that could be emotionally damaging for her — all in the name of "finding a husband" — she set out to return home and find herself instead.

4. When Lauren B Admitted To Not Being The "Cool Girl"

On their one-on-one date, Lauren B told Ben, "I'm not super into situations that I've never been in. I like to know what's going on. I'm a planner." I respected the fact that she didn't try to perpetuate the myth of the "Cool Girl" (a phrase coined by Gillian Flynn that sets unnecessarily high standards about women's ability to go with the flow, among other things). She was honest in saying that she doesn't love "adventures," and that was refreshing to hear in a world so full of dramatized excitement.

5. When Caila and JoJo Had A Heart-to-Heart

JoJo seems to be the voice of reason in the house, and listening to her and Caila discuss how odd this process is, and how hard it is to "fake feelings," was a moment that showed how much these women do depend on each other — and how real their friendships become.

6. When Ben Wanted Lauren B. To Get To Know Him

Every single girl loves the Bachelor, and it's only up to him to decide who he wants, right? Wrong. These girls have to make decisions about Ben too. When Ben told the cameras that he wanted Lauren to get to know him, and then subsequently shared a story about his father, it gave Lauren agency. After all, this is a two-way street.

7. When Olivia Said "Perfection Is So Lame"

Whether you love or hate Olivia, you have to admit that her confidence is admirable. "Am I aggressive? Yeah. Do I have bad toes? Yeah." She's owning her flaws (however small they might be perceived) and not letting them get to her.

8. When Rachel Comforted Olivia During Her Panic Attack

Though most of the contestants have admitted to not liking Olivia, Rachel comforted her during that panic attack, and it was nice to finally see someone supporting her and not jumping on the "I hate Olivia" bandwagon.

9. When One Of The Twins Gets Eliminated

Two-on-one dates are inherently awful, and having a set of twins on this season could have easily been a set up for some sort of terrible, misogynistic competition. Instead, the show decided to deal with the elimination of one twin in a way that was respectful, and felt honest.

10. When Amanda Opened Up About Her Past

When Amanda spoke to Ben about her children, her husband, and their less than ideal past, she did so with both grace and humility. She was confident, self-assured, and ultimately showed a different side to young, single motherhood that had not been previously explored on the show.

11. When Ben Told Emily He Wanted Everyone To Feel Respected

Emily decided to tell Ben about her concerns regarding Olivia, and he replied, "The one thing I don't want is for anyone to feel disrespected." Most Bachelors have said something to this effect, but there's something about Ben that makes it believable. His actions around the woman — the way he gives everyone a fair chance to speak and seems to be listening to what they're saying — show that he might actually really feel this way.

Even though it can seem like there's nothing feminist about The Bachelor, these moments from the season definitely prove otherwise.

Images: ABC