THE CULTURE OF WOMAN-ON-WOMAN SEXISM ON THE BACHELOR
Woman-on-woman sexism has become a growing issue in society over the last few decades. It is sustained by being displayed as entertainment, not allowing us to see it for what it is; a huge drawback on the quest for gender equality.
While a multitude of media works to preserve this abasement of women by other women, one show, in particular, seems to be a leader in advertising woman-on-woman sexism, The Bachelor.
It seems this reality television series has found a way to capitalize on the engrained belief that women must compete with each other to win the attention of men, and only in putting other women down will one finally be worthy of that love and attention. It is an archaic belief, one that frankly should not go on any longer.
The Bachelor has composed the perfect formula for using woman-on-woman sexism and disguising it as entertainment for viewers to gawk at and enjoy. What better way to entertain the masses and maintain this societal issue than to pit a group of women against each other for the love and affection of one “perfect” man?
The current season of The Bachelor has had its share of contestants bullying each other, and viewers are becoming more aware of the growing problem. Season 25, in which female contestants are set to vie for the attention of Matt James, has seen women gang up on and bully Sarah Trott into eventually leaving the show. It has also seen contestant Anna Redman spread damaging rumors regarding another contestant potentially working as an escort.
While it is easy to place the blame solely on contestants like Anna for their actions, it is important to remember that the setting these women are in is structured in a way that not only perpetuates but also encourages this type of behavior. The solution isn’t quite as simple as sending these women home for their behaviors or comments.
In Amy Kaufman’s book Bachelor Nation, she airs out the show’s dirty laundry, specifically on how producers work to stir up drama amongst contestants. Kaufman claims producers of the show earned cash bonuses for spurring up good television moments.
These claims fan the flames on the belief that The Bachelor bolsters woman-on-woman sexism on purpose. Not only that, the series seems to thrive on using this behavior to entertain its audience.
Pitting women against each other for the love of a man they hardly know is not a good way to find lasting love and it sends a toxic message to their viewers: that women need to prove they are “better” than the women around them to be worthy of love.
Woman-on-woman sexism is not exclusive to The Bachelor, and the task of ending this issue does not rest solely on the shoulders of the series. The solution lies in dismantling the root of the problem, and what that is we will have to decipher collectively. In the case of The Bachelor this likely means dismantling the structure of the show as it currently functions.