Sexist Moves From 'Bachelorette' & 'Bachelor' Contestants That Are Pretty Hard To Defend
As much as I adore The Bachelor in its many incarnations, it's hard to deny the fact that it definitely has its problems, like most reality shows do. And in a franchise centered around dating like this one, unfortunately, most of those problems have to do with sexism. Of course, there are definitely plenty of times where the men and women are on an equal footing, especially since the show goes back and forth between Bachelors and Bachelorettes — and on Bachelor in Paradise, all contestants are on an even playing field. But sexist moments at the hands of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette contestants are still more common than I'd like them to be, and most of them are things that could be easily fixed in future seasons.
And as anyone who is both a feminist and a Bachelor fan understands, it's moments like these that make the show so hard to defend to the uninitiated. Anyone who hasn't fallen in love with the show already might find it hard to understand what's appealing about watching two dozen women compete for the affection of one man or vice versa, but it's about so much more than that.
I'm a firm believer that when you love something, you're allowed to point out its flaws. Here are a few of The Bachelor's.
1. The Way The Dudes Handled The Double Bachelorette Scenario
On The Bachelor, it's hard to ignore the sexist overtones that come with 25 women competing for one man, but what makes that more OK is the fact that, during the summer, the tables are turned and the women have the upper hand. Unfortunately, on The Bachelorette Season 11, even that wasn't guaranteed. In the premiere episode, the men got to choose whether they'd rather date Britt Nilsson or Kaitlyn Bristowe. And some of them were pretty disrespectful to both women, who were supposed to be in the driver's seat. Not cool, bros.
2. When Contestants & Producers Focus Too Much On Virginity
On Chris Soules' season, the producers and contesants placed so much focus on the fact that Becca Tilley and Ashley Iaconetti were virgins, as if that was anyone else's business but theirs. Oh, and by the way, folks on this show rarely (if ever) discuss the sexual history of the male contestants. Just sayin'!
3. Anytime Bachelors Address Contestants As "Girls"
If they're old enough to leave home for months in pursuit of their potential life partner, these people are women. And for the record, it's much more rare for the Bachelorette to refer to her contestants as "boys."
4. Or "Mrs. [Insert The Bachelor's Last Name Here]"
On the most recent season of The Bachelor alone, how many times did Chris Harrison or Ben Higgins refer to one of the ladies as "Mrs. Higgins"? That assumes that these women will change their last names once they're married, which is definitely not always the case and is not for the men on this show to assume.
5. Bachelors Asking Fathers For Permission To Propose
Even though it can be sweet, it's an outdated tradition. These are grown women, and they can decide for themselves whether they want to be engaged or not, regardless of what their fathers think. The Bachelorettes don't tend to call their future fiancé's parents to ask if they're cool with them marrying their son, do they?
6. The Kalon McMahon & Emily Maynard Situation
It was incredibly unfair (and out of line) when Kalon referred to Emily's daughter as "baggage." Why is it that when women have children, they have baggage, but when men have children, they're adorable dads? No wonder Kalon didn't make it on to the list of beloved Bachelor alums.
7. Contestants Who Slut Shame
It's hard to believe since it's 2016, but slut shaming is alive and well for some people on this show. On The Bachelor, women who pursue the man wholeheartedly are ostracized by the other women (not OK, ladies), and if the Bachelorette kisses too many of her men, she'll be criticized and even bullied on social media when her season airs (not OK, Bachelor fans). Ask Kaitlyn Bristowe — it's very real.
8. Juan Pablo Galavis' Comment About Kids
Despite the fact that JP has a daughter of his own, his first reaction to finding out Cassandra Ferguson and Renee Oteri had children was wondering what kind of example they were setting by coming on the show. That totally speaks for itself.
9. Nick Viall Calling Andi Dorfman Out
On the After The Final Rose special, Nick directly asked Andi why she slept with him if she wasn't in love with him. Um, because she's a grown up and she wanted to? Case closed.
But despite these moments, don't feel guilty about loving The Bachelor anyway. It's OK to love something and criticize it at the same time, and talking about these moments could help bring about positive change. Who knows? Maybe future contestants will learn and level the playing field. Here's looking at you, JoJo Fletcher's contestants.