Angélica Escobar
Asst. Opinions Editor

The Bachelor franchise is a princess fantasy, built around the idea of a woman finding fulfillment by landing the perfect man, filtered through an upper-middle class, predominantly White lens. In 2002, the Bachelor first aired, featuring a single, White man choosing a mate from about two dozen aspiring White women. Then, in 2003, The Bachelor spinoff, The Bachelorette, aired, which put a woman in the choosing position. It wasn’t until 2013 that a “non-White” man was put into the position of being the Bachelor, Juan Pablo Galavis. Galavis is a Venezulean soccer star who is White-passing, and looked a lot like the rest of the men from seasons before. He went on to be one of the worst Bachelors in history for being homophobic. He first said that the LGBTQIA+ community shouldn’t be on The Bachelor — not to mention he also sl—t-shamed a contestant (Claire Crawley) during the finale, and mocked disabled people.

Galavis was chosen right after two Black men had sued the franchise for racial discrimination, after they had tried out for The Bachelor and did not make it onto the cast. The two mens’ claim was that the show intentionally excluded possible contestants of color, but the judge ruled that because of the First Amendment — the show had the choice to cast whomever they wanted. Was picking Juan Pablo an act of the Bachelor trying to create more diversity while they were getting sued? I don’t think so; if the show really wanted to create more diversity, they would have picked a person of color, instead of a man that benefits from White privilege. People of color deserve the same right to be on this television franchise; there should not be discrimination. The franchise’s record on diversity has been notably slow, and this isn’t okay!

It took 15 years for the franchise to finally announce a Black lead on the show. In 2017, the first Black woman, Rachel Lindsay, became the Bachelorette on the 22nd season of The Bachelor franchise. Lindsay expressed on Andy Cohen’s Watch What Happens Live show that she experienced so much racism while being on The Bachelorette, both from the audience and one contestant. “I did have a racist contestant on my season… You need a person of color in the decision room making decisions so that doesn’t happen to them,” she stated.

Lindsay is right — The Bachelor franchise needs a better process when it comes to picking contestants for the show in order to make it a safer environment for Black cast members. The show needs diversity, and the only time they add diversity is when they are called out by others, or are placed in situations that expose how racist the franchise really is. 

In June of 2020, Rachel Lindsay threatened to cut ties with the franchise unless they added diversity within it, and she didn’t mean just adding one or two people of color; she wanted a whole “diversity makeover” for the franchise. Coincidentally, later that week, The Bachelor announced that Matt James would be the star for their 25th season; this would make him the first Black man to be the Bachelor. Eighteen years, and almost 40 seasons later, we finally have a Black bachelor, which is a step in the right direction when making things inclusive for the franchise, but there are still a lot of things that are wrong with James’s season of The Bachelor.

Yes, this season is full of more women of color, but these are probably some of the most toxic and immature women I have ever seen in Bachelor history. This season has been full of nothing but sl—t-shaming and making the environment of the house full of girls unwelcoming. These women are bullies — not all, but most are. I feel like The Bachelor did this on purpose, as they always want more drama, but also to paint people of color in a bad light after being asked to create a more diverse cast.

During the “Women Tell All” episode last Monday, all of the women were put in a room and asked questions about this season. Most of these questions put the women in the hot seat when discussing all the horrible things they had done. Katie Thurston, a contestant on the show, made Bachelor James aware of all the toxicity in the house, and got shamed for it by the other girls because they got caught in recent episodes. A lot of the mean girls of this season’s cast have been getting a lot of hate over social media. Thurston told them it’s karma for how they acted towards some of the women in the house.

Chelsea Vaughn didn’t take this comment lightly, as she said, “Hold up . . . just one second” to Thurston’s comment. I thought Vaughn was going to bring up the fact that contestants of color (being that she is a woman of color herself) are getting a lot of hate on the show, and that it shouldn’t be described as ‘karma,’ as that hate isn’t about their actions on the show. Instead, she called Thurston the bad guy for calling out all of the toxic girls in the house rather than letting them own up to their actions. They’d rather make Thurston the villain than accept responsibility for all the harm they had done to the girls in the house, then call it feminism. There is a specific term for this type of feminism: “white feminism.” 

White feminism is defined as “a form of feminism that focuses on the struggles of White women while failing to address distinct forms of oppression faced by ethnic minority women and women lacking other privileges.” Some of the women on this season are in the category of being White feminists. They are focusing on petty issues surrounding hate that they got because they were being mean and cruel to other women, when they could be discussing the amount of hate the women of color got this season.

Vaughn is an example of this. She claimed that the hate brought to James’s attention was toxic, and that Thurston is to blame for all the drama in the house, instead of discussing the struggles that the women of color faced in this season. Vaughn isn’t the only one, as most of the women on the shows backed her up, and began yelling at Thurston for trying to help the girls in the house who were being bullied. The irony is, these women praise each other and call it feminism because they have positive energy, and they’re mean to the girls who ruin it. If that’s the case, why were these ‘feminist’ women horrible to the new girls that came in late to the season? The new girls didn’t even say a word before these ‘feminist’ women started being rude to them. 

Moreover, one of the three women not at the “Women Tell All” was Rachel Kirkconnell. Kirkconnell was exposed in February for being a racist, as pictures resurfaced of her at an Antebellum-themed party (typically used to refer to the pre-Civil War Old South, when slavery was still legal, and plantations were commonplace). These types of parties fetishize the Confederate south, an era full of racism. An old classmate of Kirkconnell’s called her out on TikTok for making fun of her for liking Black men in high school, and then shared screenshots of direct messages from other women who had endured the same bullying from Kirkconell. More TikToks then emerged surrounding Kirkconnell being a racist, even revealing that her family supported former President Donald Trump.

Bachelor host Chris Harrison defended contestant Kirkconnell in an interview he had done with former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay. “We all need to have a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion,” he said at the time. “Because I have seen some stuff online — this judge, jury, executioner thing where people are just tearing this girl’s life apart and diving into, like, her parents, her parents’ voting record. [ . . . ] I haven’t heard Rachael speak on this yet. Until I actually hear this woman have a chance to speak, who am I to say any of this? I saw a picture of her at a sorority party five years ago and that’s it.”

Lindsay proceeded to say that it wasn’t a “good look” for Kirkconnell, but Harrison responded with, “Is it [not] a good look in 2018 or is it not a good look in 2021?” NO, CHRIS HARRISON, IT IS NOT A GOOD LOOK EVER! Not being racist is not about ‘looking good,’ it’s about being a good person, and I can’t believe the host of the franchise could even say that. The reason this Antebellum party is racist now is because we, as a society, have been educated on how harmful this era is to the Black community. It is not something that should be reenacted or even be a theme of a party. I am so disgusted by Chris Harrison. He needs to resign now because I don’t accept his little vacation resignation that he has going on at the moment, nor do I believe his insincere apology.

The Bachelor Franchise is extremely toxic and problematic, and needs a major makeover when it comes to having decent human beings on the show, and having people of color. Everyone deserves representation in television, not just White, cis-gendered people. I would like to see more sexualities and people color in this franchise. Imagine having a queer bachelor, and the amount of representation that would bring to the LGBTQIA+ community. Diversity within this franchise would bring a lot more viewers and a lot less controversy. Adding producers of color in order to help with getting more contestants of color on the show. Things need to change because the racism and bullying on The Bachelor are never okay.

Featured Photo: Courtesy of Craig Sjodin / ABC

Author

  • Angélica Escobar has just started working for the Quaker Campus for the 2020-21 academic year, and is currently a copy writer. She enjoys writing about politics, opinions, and arts and culture.

Angélica Escobar has just started working for the Quaker Campus for the 2020-21 academic year, and is currently a copy writer. She enjoys writing about politics, opinions, and arts and culture.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Next Post

Whittier College’s Limited Reopening to Begin March 15