Watching ‘The Bachelor’ in the #MeToo era — and why I’m done with it.

The Bachelor: twenty-five or so women (largely blonde, most under the age of thirty) vie for a man who has as much personality as a Milk Dud (the least appealing of all the Halloween candies).

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My love for The Bachelor franchise has been dwindling for some time now, and granted, the fact that Arie–a schmuck whose repertoire includes phrases such as “awesome,’ ‘like,’ ‘wow’ and ‘excitement’–helms this show doesn’t exactly help matters.

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Awkward Arie above.

But there’s something else that’s preventing me from following-through beyond Arie’s robotic incantations. In the era of #MeToo, how can I justify watching a show premised on women throwing themselves (and other female contestants under the bus) at a man who quite frankly they might have swiped left on Tinder?  A show premised on marriage as the end-all-be-all of a woman’s ambitions, which feels so antiquated in this day and age. (And real talk: only like, what, five percent of the people who make it to the final rose end walking down the aisle with the Bachelor? There’s a full list from 2017 here of who’s still together. Though two of the couples on this list are no longer together, so…)

When I heard that Jacqueline, arguably the most refreshing contestant on this show, basically gave herself the boot so she could go home to complete her PhD and not have to resign herself to selling real estate in Scottsdale, Arizona with Arie, I cheered. The women on this show deserve better than what they signed up for. Sure, the majority probably came on for an expenses-free vacation and a shot at selling kitty litter on Instagram, but I’m not going to begrudge them for that.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to get married, but we’re at a pivotal moment in which women are re-negotiating their worth in the workplace and in the home–well why not do it on reality TV too?

I’d be much more interested in a reality TV show that depicts, how say, women negotiate the reality of being single in a world where we’re expected to be in wedded bliss with a bun in the oven by the age of 30. How do they handle dating, sex, and the workplace in the age of the iPhone? Like Sex and the City, but you know, actually realistic. We’ll call it Single Ladies (once I obtain the copyright from Beyoncé).

So, I’m standing by my decision: I’m officially done with The Bachelor franchise (though I still hold out hope that my proposed single ladies TV show will one day become reality). From now on, instead of viewing fabricated villains and contrived romance onscreen, I’ll instead waste my spare time binge-watching the 550th season of Grey’s Anatomy and writing lowbrow young adult fiction. My parents will be thrilled.

But, even if I’m not watching The Bachelor, I’ll still probably still shame-read #TheBachelor tweets from time to time. After all, who can pass on tweets like these?

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