Is The Bachelor hurting or helping us find — and keep — real love?
Our beloved show is supposedly about finding love, but a lot of the time it feels more like pure competition — for roses, ratings, TV exposure and the ego boost of simply being “chosen” over someone else. Is that really romance? Yes, the competition takes place in exotic, romantic settings around the world, but that too may be sending the wrong message to the millions of viewers who’ve gotten used to this “process” as a way of finding “love” when it’s often closer to a short-term, highly orchestrated infatuation.
THE BACHELOR HURTS RELATIONSHIPS?
To CNN's Josh Levs, shows like The Bachelor corrupt our view of courtship. "If you go into your relationship thinking it's a performance, you're destined to epic fail," Levs said. San Francisco dating blogger Danae Matthews told CNN reality TV's emphasis on competition hasn't helped her 20-something peers. “Heightened rivalry within her age group is pressuring singles to stake an early claim on sex partners before someone else snatches them up,” CNN’s story reports. “Sometimes the need to win outweighs better judgment about their choice of mates. ‘Competition and insecurities are really widespread,’ Danae said.
No one wants to feel like there’s something “wrong” with them if they are passed over in favor of someone else, especially if it’s based on a very quick judgment. Hence the sobbing when women are rejected on The Bachelor after just meeting the guy a few days before. But it’s also not attractive to just latch onto whoever happens to be in front of you — like, the one guy on The Bachelor — just to not be alone anymore. It comes off as desperate and based on a frail ego instead of a genuine connection with another human being.
THE BACHELOR HELPS RELATIONSHIPS?
But at the same time, that might be a reason why The Bachelor actually helps modern relationships — it’s a handy crib-sheet for how *not* to act. We’ve already shared some do’s and don’ts inspired by Season 16, but when it comes to Jamie Otis’ kissing demonstration and Jenna Burke’s sobbing breakdown — it’s pretty clear those are not romantic moves. Anyone not sure how to act can just watch the show to see what works — with The Bachelor/ette and with viewers at home. (For example, Courtney Robertson’s “manipulation” is working on Ben, but it’s turning off America.)
And it’s also possible that The Bachelor may be inspiring romance. Maybe a couple watching the show sees one of the beautiful places featured and it inspires them to book their own romantic vacay.
For example, The Bachelor Season 16 traveled to Belize for Episode 7, showcasing the growth of that destination for romantic getaways. “It was great to see,” said Bryony Fleming, spa manager for eco resort Chaa Creek, “and although The Bachelor highlighted just a few of Belize’s many attractions it did give a feeling for how incredibly romantic our little country can be. We see couples falling deeper in love all the time at Chaa Creek, and they don’t need to leap out of a helicopter to do it. … Sometimes just a candlelit dinner, a long soak in a private Jacuzzi surrounded by the tropical gardens after a hilltop couples massage is all it takes to kindle - or rekindle — the magic.”