The Crushing Reality Suite: I feel like a bad feminist when I watch The Bachelorette

I feel like such a bad feminist watching “The Bachelorette”. No, not for the reasons you think—I’m not bothered by the idea that a woman’s ultimate bliss comes from marriage. I don’t even cringe that much when the men lift JoJo up on their shoulders after staged/impromptu soccer games on the streets of Buenos Aires. Her kiss is the prize (with no mention of her consent).

I feel like a bad feminist because—I don’t like JoJo. I’m not rooting for her. I don’t feel supportive of her. I don’t have anything nice to say about her, except how beautiful she is. Watching “The Bachelor”, I felt attached to Ben. Maybe that’s because in some way I desire Ben. Maybe. But, I have to agree with Vulture—he is Oatmeal (bland, unappealing, all-American).

Regardless of my attraction, I wanted good things for Ben. I wanted to see him have a happily ever after. I honestly feel no such thing for JoJo.

And that makes me feel bad. Last week I was telling a group of well-respected colleagues about my passion for reality TV and participating in this blog project (bad career move?) and I could feel the judgment. I know that even participating in this phenomenon brings a lot of my values into question with folks of all political persuasions—but that brings me no guilt. I feel guilty because I am a feminist, watching a show about a woman dating a bunch of men, and I don’t feel supportive of said other woman.

Does it have to do with the fact that I’ve been indoctrinated my whole life to compete with other women for male attention, so therefore JoJo seems threatening?

I don’t think so. In my 30s I’ve realized that while many straight men might want to sleep with a JoJo-type, the type of men who go for that are wildly different from the kind of men who would date me. We are not competing in the same pool of men or of life goals. Still—I dislike her.

Maybe I just like dislike the kind of vapid, primped-out women on the show because they are so different from me. BUT I liked other women on “The Bachelor”. Caila was appealing in her complication. I felt for Amanda–her motherhood gave her humanity. Jubilee is a goddess. So it’s not ALL women on these shows—but it’s JoJo.

It must be JoJo. Is it her constant crying, lack of insight on her own romantic past, inability to see how Wells’ relationship could have fizzled (AS MANY DO, HUN)? Is it the set up? The fact that this show is designed to make women into love machines with no purpose or need other than to marry and procreate? Maybe it’s the fact that any of her quirks have been edited out during filming (in order to make room for the surplus of content about Chad)? Probably both Jojo’s evident lack of introspection and the way the producers have marketed her to us make me dislike her. They’ve sold us a one dimensional character with nice boobs. Thanks for the innovation, ABC.

So, as a feminist watching this show, what does it mean to support other women?

It DOESN’T mean that I have to support Jojo’s goal of finding her happily ever after. I guess there’s a little part of me that wants to root for her to just say SCREW IT and walk off into the sunset to pursue a career in tech sales or real estate or teaching or really anything. Watching a female protagonist be so incredibly vapid, with no personality outside of her hotness, makes me like her less. Which makes me feel icky….so I look for something to like. And I find nothing. The cycle continues.

Comments are closed.