These Ways The 'Bachelor' Franchise Could Be More Progressive Are Actually Super Simple
The Bachelor isn't known for being particularly woke. It's not the most feminist thing in the world to have dozens of women compete for a man's heart (and vice versa) on live TV. As such, there are a number of details about the Bachelor franchise that seem particularly dated. With that in mind, there are a few ways the Bachelor franchise could do better — and the changes wouldn't actually be that hard to implement.
Of course, loving shows like The Bachelor doesn't make anyone a bad feminist. But even fans of the show would probably admit its romantic structure and search of fairytale-inspired endings doesn't always end well for the contestants. There are some Bachelor Nation couples who are still together, but they're not the majority — the show's setup just doesn't seem to lend itself to lifelong relationships.
Overall, it probably wouldn't hurt if The Bachelor was even a little more inclusive. It's kind of ridiculous that there's so little body diversity, as well as ethnic diversity, on the show, considering it's been on for 22 seasons (not to mention countless spinoffs). It's never too late to change, though — just look at how thrilled fans were when Rachel Lindsay was cast as the first black Bachelorette. If the Bachelor franchise decided to become more progressive overall, it's safe to say plenty of people would be thrilled.
1. Bachelors Don't Need To Ask Contestants' Fathers For Permission To Propose
When contestants land hometown dates on The Bachelor, fans can expect that the leading man will most likely ask their dad for their hand in marriage. (Unsurprisingly, some fathers express hesitance over the question, given the fact that other dads are being asked the same thing.)
In many cases, the fathers diplomatically tell the Bachelors that they stand behind whatever their daughters decide. They recognize that their daughters can make their own decisions — so why can't The Bachelor recognize that, too? Hometown dates wouldn't be any less exciting without the often customary question. And without it, the Bachelors might have more opportunities to have meaningful conversations with the finalists' families.
2. Women Should Propose To Men On 'The Bachelorette'
On The Bachelorette, the woman is in charge, choosing which contestants are sent home each week. The person she ends up with at the end of the show is whoever she picks — so why the heck does the guy still have to get down on one knee? It would make way more sense if the Bachelorettes proposed to the winners themselves, the same way men propose on The Bachelor.
3. Appearance Should Be Less Of A Priority
Yes, it's TV and it's dating — appearance is going to be a factor. Still, The Bachelor's excessive emphasis on looks is both cost-prohibitive for contestants and an unnecessary part of the show itself. A recent E! News report revealed that women spend four times as much money to compete on the show as men do to compete on The Bachelorette. That's just absurd.
Would rose ceremonies really be any less intriguing to watch if the women were dressed in cocktail dresses, rather than evening gowns? It can be cost-prohibitive for contestants to feel like they have to buy entire new wardrobes just to compete.
And aside from the cost of clothing, The Bachelor could also do away with the shots of women doing their makeup before a date or a rose ceremony. Did fans ever see Arie, say, powdering his nose?
4. The Franchise Could Be More Body Positive
It's no secret that a vast majority of the women and men who compete on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette have a specific body type. While there's nothing wrong with being on the slimmer side, it can be disappointing to see only women and men with a certain body shape get out of the limo in each Bachelor season premiere.
In an Entertainment Tonight interview earlier this year, a member of The Bachelor's production team suggested part of the problem may be that the show's leads have an idea in mind about who they want to be with — and frankly, that argument shouldn't hold up.
"A lot of it does revolve around who the lead is and who the lead wants to date," Robert Mills, Senior Vice President of Alternative Series, Specials and Late-Night Programming at ABC, told ET. "What you don't want to do is say, 'We're going to put on somebody who's more curvy,' and then they're gone the first night... It's hard, but we're all for as much diversity as possible."
Mills' argument seems like a bit of a cop-out, though. It's not giving the Bachelors or Bachelorettes much credit to assume they'd automatically send a plus-size woman or man home immediately, based on nothing but body type. There are plenty of confident, body-positive people out there, and there are surely plenty who would love to appear on The Bachelor.
5. Get Rid Of Any Dates That Are Considered Demeaning
Plenty of people had justifiable concerns about The Bachelor's wrestling date last season. Bibiana had to endure having her name made fun of, and many of the contestants were visibly uncomfortable during the experience, which didn't sit well with fans.
6. Feature The Contestants Actually Having Real Conversations With The Bachelors
One thing that frustrated many fans when Arie Luyendyk Jr. eventually chose Lauren Burnham after his Bachelor season was that Lauren didn't seem to share much during her conversations with Arie on screen. Yes, she may just have been shy, but it also seemed to be a running theme with Arie that he frequently made out with the women instead of actually talking with them (or at least that's what was shown on TV).
The Bachelor would be much more interesting if the contestants were able to share more about their jobs and what their lives are like back home. And that would be as useful for the Bachelors as it would be for fans watching the show. If the Bachelor actually plans to build a life with these couples, they'll need to discuss these things at some point — preferably before they get engaged.
These small changes could not only help The Bachelor franchise become more inclusive, but they could also attract new viewers to join Bachelor Nation.