Ah—The Bachelor. That’s right, we actually want to talk about it. Here. Now.
But first, let us make one thing clear: We are not in the business of judgment. We have no intention of throwing proverbial stones at any one of the 25 female contenders (c’mon, we’re all ladies here), nor are we particularly interested in denouncing a global audience, which now rests somewhere around 15 million-plus viewers strong. After all, we’ve all got our guilty pleasures. Sometimes it’s peanut butter…in mass quantities.
But here’s the thing…
We do wonder: At what point should we begin to call attention to the fact that certain aspects of The Bachelor are becoming just that—reality?
To begin, let’s just recap the very basic premise of the show, shall we? First, we have one almost astonishingly fit, single (hopefully) man, who is selected to be the next official “bachelor.” Next comes a pool of 25 truly beautiful women. Eventually, after a grueling* and sometimes trivial process of elimination, one of these women is chosen by our bachelor to emerge from this Hunger Games-esque style of dating as his fiancée.
*They do travel to some pretty exotic destinations, though. #Jealous
And did we mention that the bachelor only has six weeks to select a future wife from this crew of former strangers? Or that it’s not unusual for a private “date” to last about, oh, two minutes or so (just long enough for us to glimpse somebody in a bathing suit, mind you).
But let’s go back for a second to that “wife” part. Yes—wife. As in marriage. You know, that one thing that we’re supposed to hold sacred and all. Marriage…after just six weeks, a considerable amount of alcohol, unbridled rivalry and yes—intimacy. But that’s only if the girls are, so to speak, “lucky enough,” because our bachelor is a very busy man.
Side note: Did you notice that we said just “girls,” as in plural, in the context of intimacy? Okay great, just checking.
“But it’s just a show!”
Yes, touché and all, because this is absolutely true. But we still need to take a step back to evaluate just what is being shown, and how it’s showing up, again and again, in a very real way—in our lives, in our friends’ lives and in our culture.
Just think about it: How many friends do you have who are still walking on eggshells, waiting for a boy (we choose not to say “man”) to decide, after four months of being semi-together, if he’s comfortable with entering into a real-deal, “just you and me” official relationship? Waiting, in other words, to be chosen, not won.
We’re willing to bet that you know a few. And we’re also willing to bet that they are unique, wonderful, generous and kind.
Or what about the rising popularity of app-supported dating? While any effort to expand one’s own social horizons can be admirable, we have a hard time wrapping our heads around the thought pattern of a 19-year-old boy whose method is as follows:
- Fly through a stream of faces until you find a face you like.
- Consider scanning her interests, but her bio is kinda long, so…forget it.
- Say “hello,” dodge conversation and set the time/place for a date.
But the most baffling part of all? Every now and then, it’ll work. And that’s because there are SO MANY girls who have forgotten that they are special.
“A woman’s heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him just to find her.” —Max Lucado
So you see, we watch shows like The Bachelor and think to ourselves, “I would NEVER compete for a man’s affection” or “I would NEVER feel yummy about trying to convince somebody to love me” or even “I would NEVER settle for a man who didn’t work for it.” But clearly, sometimes, we do. And if not “me” or “you,” then “her.” And that’s more than enough.
So what gives? Could it be that pop culture with a Bachelor-esque mentality really is helping to desensitize us, to groom us so that we no longer recognize or even demand that we be treated by suitors as a challenge? What does it look like to be “wooed” nowadays…do we even know? Some women do, but that’s not because they’re “lucky.” It’s because they have found their self-worth in God first, not in men, and from that vantage point they are uncompromising.
So you see what we’re getting at here, right?
No—you don’t have to stop watching The Bachelor. We simply ask that you to take time to think about what it is that’s dulling our generation of women’s standards and sense of self-worth. We also ask that you remember, above all, that a good man and a chivalrous man wouldn’t dream of divvying up a bouquet of 25 roses among 20-something women…although for one woman, he would perhaps consider bringing 25 more. Because a worthy man would have gotten the memo that a girl who puts faith first is hard to come by, and to be number two is a privilege—a privilege to be earned.