Column by Susanna Hayward
Hayward is a first-year graphic design, magazines and public relations major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Unlike many veteran watchers, my first encounter with “The Bachelor” was early January, beginning season 17. The “reality” dating show was the craze of my high school, which drove me to loathe the show even more than I do now. For years I avoided the sexist fictitious show, refusing to give ABC more ratings for the exploitation of women competing for one man.
Over winter break while I was visiting a friend, we were watching TV and she insisted on watching the most recent “Bachelor” episode. I obliged, planning on rudely commentating on the ridiculous aspects of the show. Throughout the interviews and shirtless Sean Lowe scenes, I couldn’t stop thinking, “This is so fake!” Why would girls want to watch such a degrading show for two hours? With each woman exiting the limousine, my hypothetical fist in the air for girl power weakened. Young successful women going on “group dates,” waiting to be congratulated with a rose for keeping the bachelors interest, (aka cleavage), and envelopes mysteriously arriving to a mansion, announcing who would have the privilege of escorting Sean on a date. With women’s suffrage on my mind, I mindlessly continued watching the pathetic one-and-a-half-hour episode. As much as I wish I could say my suspicions of game show polygamy were confirmed, the show ended and all I wanted to do was watch more.
The next Monday at 7 p.m., I found myself in front of the TV and I could not wait to see who would be sent home next! I can’t explain the giddy feeling I experienced during rose ceremonies — I was obsessed. I found myself researching “The Bachelor,” finding out who were past winners — I even started following Lowe on Twitter. My addiction to “The Bachelor” continued to consume my life as I anxiously saw who would be the next reality heartbreak. In the beginning I was rooting for Lesley Murphy and Desiree Hartsock, appearing to be the most educated out of the bunch — I was convinced one would be in the top two. At the dismissal of my favorites, I thought I would be driven back to hating the show. Yet, after each elimination, I became excited to see my new favorites win more than ever.
After years of contesting “The Bachelor” as a sexist, dimwitted show, I realized the obsessions have nothing to do with winners and losers or even Sean Lowe’s abs. Girls are obsessed with the fantasy love story “The Bachelor” represents, most likely driven by the exotic dates on the show. Each contestant is beautiful and well dressed, even if they have one arm. With two episodes left, Catherine Giudici and Lindsay Yenter splitting Sean’s heart, with Chris Harrison prepared to announce it all — my feelings for “The Bachelor” have been split as well. Yes, I will be glued to the TV when Sean proposes to his 10-week girlfriend, but should I feel okay about this? I guess it doesn’t matter if Sean Lowe is just an insurance agent living off his parents with the intentions of being quite the family man. And so what if his future wife came on reality television to experience love at first sight, because that’s love, right?