Friday, February 28, 2014

The "Typical" Bachelor(ette)

            One of the most sought after thing that people in America are always trying to find is love. Love is this magical feeling that two people share for each other and some people will do the craziest things to get it. The best example of this can be seen on the ABC network television show the The Bachelor(ette). In this show there is one many or woman who has come to find their true love from a batch of 25 contestants. While this is most definitely not the most traditional way of dating or finding your true love. On the show there are clear gender roles to be expected of the men and of the women, the actual act of proposing has always been the man regardless of the main person being a bachelorette and it has strictly been relationships between a man and woman falling in love.
            Every season there is a man or woman trying to court the opposite sex. When going on these dates there are constant typical gender roles that are being performed. In a traditional relationship men are expected to act chivalrous towards the woman; open the doors for her, pullout her chair, give her your coat, etc. Every bachelor on the show has portrayed this characteristic with every woman on every date. It is clear that the directors of The Bachelor specifically select have these aspects. Majority of the bachelor’s are always presenting masculine roles for the women. On the latest season with Juan Pablo as the bachelor, there is one date that Juan Pablo and Nikki go on a date down into a cave. Nikki begins to freak out at the thought of having to descend underground. As the man, Juan Pablo has to keep his composure whether he too is freaking out or not, but he has remain unafraid giving her the feeling that he is able to protect her from anything. Often women are to be thought of as the weaker gender so you would expect the girl to be hyperventilating while the man is protecting her; not the man bursting into tears as the woman calms him down.
            There are two events that have happened in this show that show the females stepping out of the stereotypical sweet girl role and taking control. The first incident was during Emily’s bachelorette season. One of the contestants, Kalon, had been talking trash about Emily’s daughter Ricky, claiming her as baggage(Thompson 2012). When Emily caught wind of this gossip she completely lashed out on Kalon saying that she didn’t need to be with a man who wouldn’t accept her daughter and that she wanted a man who wuld accept her for everything that she was. The second even was again on the most recent season with Juan Pablo. One of the few finalist, Andi, blows up on Juan Pablo after the fantasy suite night calling him an “a—hole,” claiming that he knew nothing about her which made her realize she couldn’t realistically marry him (Blumm 2014). This blowout becomes a history marker in the televisions series. There has never been a female contestant to not only leave but to talk so ill about the man. These two incidents had so much light shed on them when they occurred because when typical sweet women turn “wild” it seems to be totally out of the norm.
            When you think of a proposal, instantly the image of a man getting down on one knee and a woman happy in pure bliss; well hopefully she’s in bliss! On The Bachelor one thing I found interesting was how no matter if it was either the bachelor or a bachelorette looking for love the man is always the one to propose. In this day and age it is still common for the man to propose, but more often than not, “one in ten women have popped the question” (Thornhill 2011).  When I think” about this non-traditional act, I think about why the bachelorette, the one looking for love, the woman deciding between two men still expects the man to propose to her. In my head it’s kind of like “Okay, I have chosen you therefore you may propose to me. When you propose to someone you are telling him or her that you choose that person out of millions of people in the world to spend the rest of your life with them. Why doesn’t the bachelorette get down on one knee and propose to show that she has chosen her man.
            The last way The Bachelor portrays traditional views about gender roles is clearly expressing their belief of marriage being between a man and a woman. There has yet to be a season where a bachelor or bachelorette and the contestants are the same sex. It is very possible that ABC and or the directors of The Bachelor are afraid to broadcast a show that could stir up a lot on controversy amongst some viewers. Last year in December, ABC banned Phil Robertson from appearing on ABC because he expressed his beliefs on gay marriage (Mohney et al. 2014). In this season of The Bachelor, Juan Pablo too expressed his feelings against homosexual relationships appearing on television yet he was not banned, nor had the show been cancelled. Which makes me wonder why Phil was given the boot but no Juan Pablo.       
            Although The Bachelor is a show to find one’s true love it still portrays very stereotypical gender roles. Specifically gender roles expected of the man and woman, the assumption that the man is to get down on one knee and only having contestants who are in a heterosexual relationship. For looking for love in such a non-traditional way, I wonder if ABC would ever go deeper into non-traditional relationships as well.

Works Cited

Blumm, K.C. "Bachelor's Andi Dorfman: 'I Was Turned Off' by Juan Pablo." N.p., 28 Feb. 2014. Web. 27 Feb. 2014.

Mohney, Gillian, and Michael Rothman. "Conservative Fans Unhappy With A+E Over
'Duck Dynasty' Controversy." ABC News. ABC News Network, 29 Dec. 2013.
Web. 26 Feb. 2014.

Thompson, Arienne. "'Bachelorette' Recap: Emily Rips into Kalon on 'Tell All'" USA
Today. Gannett, 16 July 2012. Web. 26 Feb. 2014.

Thornhill, Ted. "Increasing Numbers of Women Are Popping the Question ... but
They'd Still Prefer a Man to Do It." Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, 26 Aug. 2011. Web. 27 Feb. 2014.


  1. Very interesting critique on the gender norms portrayed within the Bachelor, especially in regards to the conventionality of it all. It would be lovely to see homosexual couples on the series as well, especially because ABC portrays a variety of different races and sexualities within their series, like on Grey's Anatomy. I enjoyed your comparison of Juan Pablo's homophobic comment to that of Phil Robertson's; how awful they are. Could you imagine if they had made a racist comment on national television? The network would have done more than just ban them, they probably would have been hit with a hefty fine as well.

  2. I thought this was an interesting way to look at The Bachelor(ette). I admit that I totally watch every season of these shows and I always notice the lack of diversity, both ethnically and gender role wise, year after year. And I'm glad you mentioned something about Juan Pablo's comments because they were essentially dismissed and swept under the rug pretty well by producers, however I think they speak volumes about his characters and some of the biggest problems with the show itself.

  3. Although I rarely watch the Bachelor(ette) because as the relationships quickly fell apart after the show ended it became a lot less interesting to me however I have caught the various seasons main candidates in the tabloids, television shows, and social media sites and I would totally agree year after year it completely lacks diversity ethnically and gender role wise. I also like the point you made about the woman proposing I get the guy candidates come on the show realizing what the end result will be (engagement) but what if in that final show they really are not ready to propose to the woman they want to be with for the rest of their lives. I also believe this is why the shows success rate in the relationship after the show is so small. Yes you chose that person out of the 25 but I find it hard to believe they know they want to do something so serious as proposing and being engaged by the end of the show. But the point I was going to make is what if the man does not want to propose and on top of that he would suggest waiting if the girl did propose. As far as Juan Pablo distasteful comment on homosexual relationships definitely speaks to the producers target market with the show, they are not trying to appeal to a pro-LGBT audience, and were not worried about the viewers they lost because of his comments, which does not settle well with me either. I think the chances of having a homosexual version of the Bachelor is very low and that is also unfortunate that a show about love can not embrace every type of love especially with our society's slow but sure movement to be accepting of this type of love.

  4. This was really interesting to read since i've never really thought to think about all the different gender stereotypes that are being portrayed on the show. I've only ever thought about the types of girls that are on the show, how they are all usually super tan and skinny and beautiful. While the men are also in shape and handsome. So it was good to think about how the gender side to this show is being shown.

  5. While I do believe that many gender stereotypes are perpetuated in the bachelor, there were many instances especially this season where the girls went against these assumed roles to stick up for themselves. Aside from Andi telling JP off after that awkward night in the fantasy sweet, Sharleen along with many other girls constantly put JP down throughout the show calling him stupid and a dud. They often found ways to console each other when he did them wrong and were never afraid to tell him like it was. While Sharleen did stick up for JP in the women tell all, every other woman on the stage tore JP apart, exposing his nastiest sides for America to see. I believe this took some balls (pun intended) for the girls to veer away from being polite and shy girls to being outspoken and strong women.


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