I am finished with The Bachelorette. Monday night I thought there might still be a way to keep watching the show. I thought perhaps I could forgive the two Bachelorette stunt that took the choice out of the young woman’s hands and then gave it back to her only to plague her with insecurity over whether the guys stayed for her – not to mention intentionally pitting the women in the fan base against each other. What has pushed me over the edge may not even seem like a big deal to most people. What has finally made me turn down the rose is the continuous exploitation, double standard and disrespect for the lives of the people they showcase. I’m talking about those previews with all the tears and all the anger regarding Kaitlyn’s “obvious from the editing” choice to sleep with one of her bachelors.
The show has danced around hook-ups for years. Whether or not anything has happened in past fantasy suites, it’s definitely implied. It was hinted at and then openly discussed that Juan Pablo had been with Claire. There was all the hoopla surrounding Nick asking Andi why she’d made love to him if she wasn’t going to choose him. The point is that none of those incidents became selling points of a season or a defining characteristic of the bachelor/bachelorettes. None of them were explicitly presented before we had a chance to get to know the person.
By showing the scenes they showed of Kaitlyn last night and having her admit in the previews to the men that she had slept with someone, the show instigated one of the divisive debates out there for ratings. People are passionately opinionated about sex. People will defend her choice and say there’s absolutely nothing wrong with her consenting to be with a man she chooses. Others will call her a slut or a whore and never give her a second chance. In addition, the whole season will now be marred by this conflict and moral judgement. The scenes they showed in the previews play to the absolute worst of male and female stereotypes. Not only did we witness her crying and shaming herself, apologizing and demeaning herself, but we saw the men getting angry and storming off because of it. It looked like they were joining forces to stone her! There is a delicate line when it comes to male and female power in relationships and up until a few seasons ago this show had actually done a nice job of respecting it. What’s happened?
For me, whether I think she should have or shouldn’t have made that choice is irrelevant. For me it is once again about the producers and the choices they make in story and editing. They shafted Kaitlyn from the start because they wanted Britt. Go back and look at Mike Fleiss and Chris Harrison’s tweets versus the tweets from the majority of the fans. They didn’t even throw Juan Pablo under the bus the way they did this girl and they totally disliked Juan Pablo. Look at the way Chris worded telling Kaitlyn she was the Bachelorette…unfortunately I had to let Britt go – watch his expressions – he’s not happy. It was manipulative and disrespectful of them to use the film in that way, but probably just part of what’s to come in what I think will be an assassination of her character for the rest of the season.
For me, it’s not about whether those scenes play out the way the previews foretell. I am quitting this show because Mike Fleiss and Co., and that includes Chris Harrison, have been slowly going deeper and deeper into sleaze and disrespecting what gave the show any redeeming qualities. Maybe they can’t tell the difference between Bachelor in Paradise, Bachelor Pad, and their flagship show anymore. Maybe it’s that they want ratings or maybe they are so far removed from the real world that they don’t even see how bad they have gotten. Maybe it’s because they were thinly disguised misogynists after all and shame on me for being fooled for as long as I have been. I don’t really care anymore. I hope she finds a way to get her power back and sticks it to them in the live shows, but I won’t be watching. I guess I’ll be reading someone else’s blog to find out.