(Photo courtesy of entertainthis.usatoday.com/2015/05/13)
Am I the only one bothered by the surprise twist to this season’s The Bachelorette? Instead of one lovely bachelorette choosing amongst twenty five bachelors all vying for a rose and ultimately her love, this season, we have two bachelorettes who must first compete for the right to choose. Meaning, we now have twenty five men choosing first which of the two women they want to pursue. Once again, the myth is subtly perpetuated that men are ultimately the ones doing the choosing and women must compete against each other to be chosen. I think Hollywood is guilty of a huge disservice when they send women the wrong message about love and dating.
The Bachelorette Message: Men Do the Choosing and Women Must Compete to be Chosen
I know some will say, “Isn’t that the whole idea of the show to begin with – a competition for love?” But this two-women-twenty-five-guys scenario is different. When one woman or one man is choosing amongst a group of suitors, it’s about that one chooser’s preferences for a mate. We accept that not everyone is attracted to the same person. But when a group of men are choosing between two women, suddenly the woman not chosen is made to look like a lot of men would rather have another woman over her. It’s her overall desirability that’s put into question. I find this insulting and degrading. Would they have ever thought to try this with the men? I highly doubt it. Why? Because men produce the shows we watch that promote the false message. Women, in turn, allow themselves to buy into the message, giving men the upper hand and control in relationships. Women seem to willingly accept the role of the subservient sex object who wants and needs the love of a man at all cost. How else can you explain, for example, our acceptance of a show depicting women as angels in provocative underwear parading down a runway on prime time television?
We Are Conditioned to Compete for a Guy’s Love at All Cost
Whether you liked Britt or not, I felt horrible for her as I watched her get into the limo in tears. This wasn’t about one man not choosing her, but a whole bunch of men casting a vote that they liked another woman better. This was much more personal and raw. Do we really enjoy watching other women in pain and rejected in love? My guess is the answer is ‘yes!’ Why? We’ve been conditioned by society that this is how the game is played. From an early age we’ve been taught to be competitors for the love and attention of men. For the longest time, boys were raised to participate in “team-building” sports. Girls were raised on beauty and popularity contests, like Homecoming Queen, and competing for limited spots in things like cheerleading, which just so happened to be about cheering on the boys! It’s all about winning. Being “chosen” validates us as women even if we shouldn’t want the guy doing the choosing!
We Are Conditioned to Love Men Who are Bad
This “Bachelor” franchise is certainly not alone in Hollywood’s desire to capitalize on male-female stereotypes, heightened sexual encounters, and over-the-top dating dramatizations. We have all kinds of popular depictions of attractive men as two-timing cads and as irresistible sexual dominators. TV shows like Mad Men have huge followings and, of course, we can’t leave out the phenomenon that has been Fifty Shades of Gray. And it’s the women who swoon over and flock to see these bad boys in action. What is it about our fascination with men behaving badly? Again, we have been conditioned to see “bad boys” as virile and exciting and their behavior as something to just expect and accept as part of their nature.
Women Must Give Up the False Beliefs about Love
I’m all for romance and women being feminine and attractive. But we must learn how to see ourselves as the ones doing the choosing and stop being exploited in the name of love. We must learn to give up the false beliefs about love that might get us the guy but leave us unhappy in our relationships. The only way Hollywood and the media will get the message is if we send it to them.
Until next time, remember to live smart and be savvy in love!