By: Claire Cook, Regular Contributor
I have a complicated relationship with The Bachelorette. On one hand, I think it - surprisingly - empowers women to embrace their sexuality and express their goals and emotions openly and confidently. I also love that the show swaps gender roles, putting a woman in the power seat and men in a vulnerable and competitive dating role. However, the pros of the show are outweighed by the cons in that the Bachelorette inevitably becomes a victim of editing and media scrutiny, represented as the princess waiting for her prince charming(s) to sweep her off her feet and hand deliver her fairytale to her. The fairy tale determined, of course, by content designed to yield the highest ratings.
What woman doesn’t wish to be courted by 25 accomplished and attractive men in a competition to win her heart? I wake up every day wishing that will happen, but alas I may just need to apply to be the next Bachelorette myself. Not only is the premise of The Bachelorette a dream scenario (albeit an unrealistic one), but this season’s star, Desiree Hartsock, is an all-around likable underdog. She’s a good Christian girl who has achieved her American Dream; she moved from Colorado to California to become a fashion designer and has realized her goal. I want Desiree to find love and I want her to be my best friend. So, I will be tuning in to ABC every Monday from 8-10pm to cheer my girl on in her search for love!
Unfortunately, while the premise of the show empowers Desiree to be herself and find the love of her life, a person who embraces who she is, Desiree is ultimately the object of editing, ratings, and the attentions of 25 men in the house. Do they really want to find love with her or are they looking to be in the spotlight? Who actually goes on TV to find love anyway? Moreover, every choice Desiree will make on the show will be deliberated about with Chris Harrison (plus the show’s producers) before a decision is made. I imagine most of the deliberation surrounds ratings. So, who really does have the power? Clearly, it’s not my girl, Des. She’s just the girl waiting around for a decision to be made on her behalf, hoping that the decision will lead to a ring and a life-long marriage.
So, is it wrong to still love The Bachelorette? No, I don’t think it is. Just like anything on television, though, it requires digestion with a grain of salt. If anything, the show is an interesting sociological study on dating and how one should or should not present him/herself on a date. Similarly, it’s made me realize that it’s okay to want to find love while pursuing a career. I can balance both desires. Maybe I won’t “have it all” or take a sabbatical to find love on TV, but at least I know that 6 million Americans have my back.
About Claire: Claire “Bear” Cook is a regular contributor to I Am That Girl who spends her days working in marketing at a multimedia company in Los Angeles. Having lived in New York City for 3 years and grown up on the East Coast, she moved to LA in 2013 on a leap of faith to build her career and broaden her perspective. Claire is passionate about travel, running, music, karaoke, walruses & wine and enjoys spending her free time with free-thinking, creative & positive people.