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.
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They'd Still Prefer a Man to Do It." Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, 26 Aug. 2011. Web. 27 Feb. 2014.