'The Bachelor' Season 19 Contestants Seem Proudly Feminist, Which is Good News for the Show
When the ABC producers settled on Andi Dorfman for The Bachelorette, I felt like the tides were finally changing: here we had a strong, independent woman who knew what she wanted and wasn't afraid to get a little mouthy. Fortunately, it seems that the 30 women vying for Chris Soules' heart are carrying on this trend. Season 19 boasts one of the most feminist casts of The Bachelor I've ever seen.
Sure, there's a couple of women who still believe in being seen and not heard. (Like Reegan, who chooses to impress men by keeping her mouth shut.) But, on the whole, this crop of women seems pretty into equality for both genders, and they aren't afraid of saying what they think.
I think the cast that ABC picked (which also features a plus sized model for the first time) proves that the audience for the show is changing. Maybe ten years ago it was OK that most of the women would give up everything for that ring, but now it's cool to see independent ladies who won't back down on their beliefs or allow themselves to be overshadowed just for the sake of TV. (I miss Sharleen Joynt and her refreshing normal-ness every day.)
Of course, I only have their ABC profiles to judge these women on so far. It's possible once the show starts we'll see more feminism, or even less. But for now, I think there's hope going by some of the things they said in their bios.
The Animals They Admire Are Srong
ABC asked the women to pick an animal they'd like to be and a lot of the answers were very admirable. Alisa said she'd be a wild mustang because they're "free to run and explore [and] they're unpredictable and beautiful." You go, girl. Just like Miley Cyrus, you can't be tamed.
Meanwhile, Becca picked a dolphin, but for a really cool reason. "They're beautiful and supposedly use 20% of their brains — brilliant!" she wrote. Megan would be a lion "because they are leaders" and Jade picked an elephant because "they are associated with wisdom and altruism. They are large in scale yet graceful. I love the matriarchy as well."
Who doesn't love a good matriarchy?
They Believe in Being Themselves
Instead of trying to impress a man by laughing at all their jokes or staying silent, many of the women said they would just be themselves. "If he's not impressed, he's not the right one," Jillian pointed out. Meanwhile Ashley I. said she would "make him amazing cheeseburgers and watch football with him." But not because she just wants to please him, but because she happens to also really like football. "That would be fun for me and him," she said. "My football knowledge is impressive."
They're Proud of Their Accomplishments
I love when women are unashamed to talk about how great they are. If you worked hard, you deserve some recognition for your successes. Fortunately the women of The Bachelor feel the same way. Jade says her biggest achievement to date is "moving to Los Angeles on my own and starting the launch of my business." Trina is pumped because she went to grad school twice and killed it. "Both times, I earned a 4.0 GPA," she said.
Many of these girls sound awesome, and I'm pretty excited to see them in action. It's refreshing to hope that for once not every woman will walk in and declare that OMG Chris is the one simply because he's the Bachelor. I have a feeling these women are going to scrutinize him just as much as he will do to them.
Of course, their overall feminist tendencies could pose a problem considering Chris Soules isn't really looking for a career woman. In his own words, he's looking for "a homemaker.” He lives in a tiny town on a farm and that's one of the big reasons Andi Dorfman had to let him go: there just wasn't room in his life for someone as motivated as Andi was.
But the good news about having a cast of strong women is that hopefully they'll call Chris out if he does or says something sexist. During Juan Pablo's season basically only Andi, Sharleen, and eventually Clare called him out on his BS — even though he was a consistent jerk. I'm optimistic that we can rely on this batch of women to keep Chris Soules in line.
Many smart women watch The Bachelor and they gravitate towards smart contestants. Here's hoping this season will offer a lot of those.