From the road where the cars never stop… The Bachelor is immoral wank

Finding a life partner should not be like going to a buffet.

It will surprise nobody to know that I have crippling anxiety issues.  I’m awkward and get tired around people quickly.  I’m intensely private and often seem cold and out of place.  Nothing fills me with dread quite as much as the idea of hitting on somebody in public.

Fortunately, technology has come to our aid.  While one of the millions of hours of Star Trek is playing on channel 11, I can create a dating profile on some website.  I can list relevant details about me and upload this really awesome selfie of me wearing a fedora.

(That paragraph was a joke.  Mostly.  I do look awesome in a fedora.)

This process has caused some levels of concern.  E-mails filled with potential partners are sent and you’re encouraged to peruse as if you were catalogue shopping.  Will she like my taste in books?  Will she be able to tolerate my family?  Will she look good on my sofa?  People are literally marketing themselves, reducing themselves to what they perceive to be their appealing characteristics while disguising their less appealing aspects.  There’s a dehumanising aspect about the affair as people are objectified for the judgement of others.

The Bachelor — a reality show where some dopey halfwit judges has to ‘eliminate’ one girl a week until he finds a life partner — is this shallow, narcissistic view of dating beefed up to 11.  It’s what happens when you take the ‘Internet Dating’ approach to intimate interaction to its extreme.

In some nightmare version of reality constructed by television producers, we are shown Joe Everyman.  He is shown twenty nubile women who are informed that the point of the competition is to be chosen by the Joe Everyman.  Joe is their prize.  They must perform for him so that he will select them.

Naturally, the only women who would debase themselves in this way are the most vapid imbeciles that could tear themselves away from cute pictures of cats on the Internet to attend the casting audition.  ‘I really think there’s a connection between us,’ screeches woman after woman.

The guy — who is a Class A arsehole — simultaneously dates these weirdoes in order to find the one he wants most.  He is the Chooser.  He is neither the Suitor nor the Seducer.  What he really wants, apparently, is a woman who will throw themselves at him.  If the woman does not meet his exacting standard, he tells them to leave at the end of the episode.  In this ‘relationship game’, he assumes all the power, which he exercises whimsically and wantonly.

Each woman must be the Internet dating profile of themselves.  Things that would legitimately annoy them — such as the fact that the guy is spending weeks dating a harem of women — aren’t allowed to be mentioned.  They must perform.

From the outset of the show, it is immoral wank and it baffles me to think of how the concept for this show was formed.  Indeed, it’s not difficult to see how this show could have been different.  Instead of being introduced to all of the girls at once, he is introduced one at a time until they find a good match.  The couple ‘wins’ the game if both the guy and the girl like each other and can make it last for a few weeks.  Or, better yet, there’s quite an amazing show on SBS2 where a panel of 20 women judge some poor sod who’s desperate for a date.  At the start of the round, the 20 women have blue lights indicating that they’re not averse to going on a date with the chap.  As he speaks and we see videos of his family and friends, the lights turn to red indicating that they’re not interested.  Aaaaaah, so much fun.

Back to The Bachelor.  But the weirdest part of the show is its presentation of sexual issues.  In the episode I saw, he went on dates with three different women.  Each date resulted in the option of sharing a room for the night.  In each of the three cases, the hapless halfwit Joe Everyman told the women that he’s decided he won’t go to the private room with them.  In each of the three cases, this decision was made unilaterally.  In each of the three cases, this decision was made after spending a day snoggling, fondling, and cuddling.  Being intimate with three separate women is, apparently, completely fine in the world of The Bachelor.  Our hero, Joe Everyman, is showing what a morally excellent person he is by informing the three women that he won’t sleep with any of them.  Give the man a medal.

We often talk about issues of consent as if they are obvious and intuitive.  If a person wants to do something, they consent to doing it.  We routinely divorce this conversation from the broader issue of social pressure because that would result in people needing to be genuinely excellent human beings rather than rule-followers.  In The Bachelor, we have the horrifying situation where three women are told — indirectly, but constantly and pervasively — that if they don’t agree to his advances (whatever they might end up being), they will ‘lose’ the game.  On national television.

Joe Everyman added to this lack of control by unilaterally deciding whether or not the two of them would share the room that night.  The women are both pressured into the situation and then denied a conversation about the morality/desirability of shagging for the entertainment of a television audience.  In each of the cases, the women dutifully stated that Joe Everyman is such a great guy, and that they were grateful for his responsible attitude towards their sex lives.

The fundamental problem is the affectation of authenticity.  If Joe Everyman isn’t a complete and utter scumbag, he must know which of the girls he fancies the most.  For the sake of drama, they don’t let the audience know that he might have chosen.  The point is to continue the drama: ‘Which will he choose?’  So what’s the point of letting the other women believe that they might ‘win’ the competition?  It’s unthinkably cruel.  One woman was absolutely certain that she’s in love with the guy and spends a considerable amount of time informing the camera of this fact.  For the sake of the show, Joe Everyman doesn’t inform the woman that the feelings aren’t reciprocated — he instead makes some weird excuse about ‘fairness’ to the other contestants — until, of course, he ‘dumps’ her at the end of the episode.

This is a horrible show, and shame on everybody involved with it.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “From the road where the cars never stop… The Bachelor is immoral wank

  1. This was a show that was too trashy /even for me/. I get what you’re saying but it’s not like these people went into the show as innocent Bambi. The outcome, formula and progression is fairly obvious from the outset (and the many Bachelor/Bachelorette shows it has copied from before). Do you find the Bachelorette concept just as repugnant or is this a gendered thing?

    Personally, it wouldn’t be my style….but being on TV would never be my style. For people who want to blurt their “personal” lives to others, live and let live.

    I also don’t think the “buffet” idea is that bad or unrealistic – it’s pretty common for people to be dating a few people in the early stages of any relationship.

  2. Pingback: We will dance high up balancing ballet… #Choose6 Futurama edition | Only The Sangfroid

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s