Not A Feminist Fairy Story: a woman’s view of The Bachelor

By   /   March 17, 2015  /   15 Comments

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#TheBachelorNZ #DoucheDate
After months of promos and promises the big day, or should I say date, is here. I’m so excited I could just nap. Never the less I am prepared. I have Quick Eze, foil bags and a bucket at hand. I’m as ready as I will ever be to watch twenty one women compete for the affections of one man ….someone pass the antacids.

Tonight the show finally begins by revealing who the New Zealand Bachelor is. Apparently people (I have not met any of these people) have been wild with excitement. We have of course in New Zealand a glut of Prince-like men with millions of dollars unable to find that perfect woman. It must have been so hard to narrow it down to just one. Who will it be, this man/ philosopher king/ hero/ god/ Adonis that will embrace his given right to pick and choose between twenty one women?

It’s Arthur. Awesome.

Arthur is some guy who flogs diet food and he works out. It looks like he works lot a lot. He probably works out when he isn’t reading, engaging in politics, philanthropy or volunteering. He is fit. He is passionate about fitness. He studied Health Science. This could be really useful as he should be able to roughly calculate the women’s BMI as they arrive.

When asked what he’s looking for he sounds super reasonable. He is looking for someone fun, with a a great sense of humour, who looks after herself and who is “not too terrible to look at.” It’s also important that she be able to get on with his Dad, his Mum and his six sisters. This should be a piece of piss then, but I am starting to think this Prince of the Paleo deserves a far larger pool to choose from. Why only twenty one?????????

What is made clear within the first hour is that Arthur is not looking for a woman at all. He is looking for a lady. If you aren’t clear what a lady is let me give you a quick rundown. A lady isn’t a real thing, it is a whole lot of arbitrary rules and conventions that dictate how women should behave, to better suit the needs of men gods like Arthur.

Ladies should be small and feminine. They should wear frocks, they have long hair, they sip champagne from flutes and they should be looking to catch themselves a husband. Ladies should be nice. At all times. Ladies are what men like Arthur want to marry.

I could be wrong but did Arthur arrive at the Bachelor Pad in a Suzuki Swift? Not that I’m judging.

The rest of the show was spent introducing us to the ladies that will now compete for the attentions of our Paleo Prince. They introduce them to us and then start the process of framing them into every damaging female stereotype that is not ladylike. The scheming, the manipulative, the mad, the sad and the bad. For those struggling with the narrative just listen for the jaws music so you can spot the ones who are being framed as villains.

There is one fact you should be aware. The 21 women willing to put themselves forward to be publicly scrutinised, mocked and humiliated all the while allowing the producers to reduce them to the worst stereotypes of what it is to be a woman are being paid. Their living costs are reimbursed and daily rate increases the longer they stay in the house. Whatever they are being paid, I hope by the end they think it’s enough.

There is no doubt the cost of this show will be greater than some of them anticipate. Not just for them but for all of us.

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15 Comments

  1. In Vino says:

    Who is this Adonis guy? I don’t like competition…

    OK, I am a cynical 68-yr-old male. Spot-on, Kate – a shocking indictment upon the trash our TV serves up, and a worse one upon the sad muppets who elect to watch it.

  2. wild katipo says:

    Oh good lord….gimme the days of David Attenborough , the Goodies and Monty Python and Philip Sherry as our news reader….

    And while your at it…throw in a bit of Open All Hours , Dads Army , Aint Half Hot , Hi De Hi , Dr Who , Hitchhikers , The Young Ones , BlackAdder and Faulty Towers…..

    Pretty tough to beat the dry , witty British sense of humour L0L….!

    Instead we get this Americanized sort of shit.

    Garbage !

    No wonder I never got around to buying another telly 15 years ago.

    The neo liberal Great Apes even wrecked that too.

  3. Save NZ says:

    I won’t be watching.

  4. esoteric pineapples says:

    I quite enjoy the Bachelor series. I’m not sure why women chose to put themselves through it though, especially in New Zealand which is way to small to get lost in the crowd afterwards. I can’t see much of an incentive in it for them either to go through everything they do. If I was one of the female contestants I would get bored crazy sitting around all week waiting for a date. It would be like being stuck in a hotel for a week waiting for the one flight out of town. If I was the contestants I would bring some good reading material.

    As for the blokes, they are worlds away from where I am at, but then someone like me would never be chosen to be The Bachelor, so really, the whole concept is pretty stereotypical. For males, being the Bachelor must seem like a great fantasy but I suspect it is quite a stressful experience. I’d be exhausted after talking to 25 contestants on the first night alone.

    At the end of the day it’s entertainment, and personal tastes may have as much to do with liking or disliking The Bachelor as anything else.

  5. countryboy says:

    Ha ! Hahahaha !!
    Thirty years ago The Bachelor would have been a grotesque comedy .
    I must admit , I haven’t watched it . I couldn’t watch it even if I tried .
    When the Earth’s one great Mall ‘The Bachelor’ will be regarded as a classic .
    Once we’re all governed by the lowest common denominator this is what we will live like .

    Meet Joe Bowers .
    Idiocracy .
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0387808/

    Now , what , about how you live your day today might steer us away from the above fate ? Because unless we act accordingly , we will lose to The Bachelor mentality .

    • 333 says:

      I love Idiocracy mind.

      I think it was set too far in the future though. Its more like current events.

  6. Liberty4NZ says:

    The Romans used the same diversion tactics to control the masses, to occupy the people’s mind with drivel and prevent them from thinking too much. It’s just Bread and Circuses all over again.

  7. donna says:

    I’ll be watching! I have behavioural issues that could clearly be remedied by avoiding the unladylike behaviour that brings forth the cautionary ‘Jaws’ music.

  8. Shona says:

    So glad I can still afford mysky and soho. At least when I watch drama I am watching drama not cheap reality tv edited to be drama by humiliating and belittling ordinary folks.Why are people paid to make this shit? We have wonderful writers a rich culture and top class actors in this country and yet we are dished total crap tv by overpaid talent free narcissistic media hacks all the effing time.

  9. Jo Planet says:

    A Walt Disney animated Bachelor movie could include some nice cringe-worthy songs.

  10. Nitrium Nitrium says:

    Wonderful write-up. Not that this was anything I’d watch. IMO Reality TV generally is a new low point in the “entertainment” industry, especially when you know that it’s largely scripted anyway. These “reality” shows are to real life stuff what Professional Wrestling is to sport. So if you want to watch scripted TV, why don’t you just watch scripted TV – i.e. something that has an actual story to tell? The mind boggles.

  11. grumpystilskin says:

    You might enjoy this article too.

    X Factor: The tedious reality behind reality TV
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/music/news/article.cfm?c_id=264&objectid=11412988

  12. Merrial says:

    Shows of this sort remind me of that fantastic late 1960s movie “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” It dates from a time when a lot of really good movies were being made in Hollywood. Well worth tracking down online or at the video rental shop, for those of you too young to remember it, or who weren’t born when it was released.

    I think one the TV reviewers in the DomPost drew the same parallel with regard to one of those competition shows, though possibly not the one being discussed here.

    I would never watch a show such as “The Bachelor”; the fact that it’s being made at all is a depressing reminder of how little progress we’ve made in the last 40 years in this aspect at least of women’s rights.

    Speaking of good TV shows from past years, we’ve recently been in the UK, where at least one free-to-air channel is devoted to reruns of old shows – right back to the 1960s version of “The Avengers”. A hilarious bit of nostalgia; we loved it.