Age Is Already Dividing 'The Bachelor' Mansion & It's Not A Good Look

Rick Rowell/ABC

Feminism doesn't exactly go far on reality shows like The Bachelor, but Colton's season is already off to a rough start. Not only are the women on the show already fighting and sniping with each other (it's the second episode, which should be in the metaphorical honeymoon phase, because they don't know each other well enough to hate each other), but they seem to be fixated on the Bachelor contestants' ages. This one is too old to be with Colton, this one is a child, ad nauseum, until Colton picks the woman he will lose his virginity to, er, appear on television with, er, marry.

Colton was 26 years old at the time of filming, which means that some of the women are younger — in the 23-year-old range — and some of the women are older — Tracy and Elyse, for example are both 31 years old. The younger women, like Demi, have made numerous comments so far this season about the older women being "cougars" (the difference is barely five years, people), and the older women have called Demi a child on at least three occasions — and we're only into the fifth hour of Bachelor programming here.

Of course, none of this is new. Demi and Tracy's infighting is just another chapter in a longer book that pits the women of The Bachelor against each other because they are "not ready" for marriage or getting engaged on the show. News flash: only one Bachelor married and is still with the woman he proposed to on the show, so maybe the female contestants not being ready for marriage isn't really the issue here. On Arie's season of The Bachelor, 22-year-old Bekah was trampled on by the other contestants because of her young age in relation to the rest of the cast. Was she, oh, almost 15 years younger than Arie, her intended? Yes. Would that have created issues in what they had in common and the like? Possibly. But age doesn't disqualify women like Bekah or Demi from getting married on national television.

On the flip side, as Demi said after her tiff with Tracy, it could be that the older women aren't ready to get married either. Elyse was labeled as "brave" for sharing one of her "first" stories on their group date, but the way that the rest of the contestants speak about the older women on the show, it's like they were rode hard and put away wet — past their prime. It's absurd. Disqualifying anyone as ready or not to marry Colton just because of their chronological years on Earth is petty. Being older doesn't make you wiser, and being younger doesn't mean you can't be serious and focused about what you want.

For now, we'll have to see how the age debate plays out between Demi, Tracy, and the rest of the contestants on Colton's season. But Colton would do well to discourage that kind of talk, because you never know what kind of woman he'll fall for and what that woman — old or young — may be ready for.