Fighting for Love – Or Self-Validation

Although I openly admit to being a bit of a television snob, scoff at those who find ‘The Big Bang Theory’ moderately humorous and sigh in disbelief when people try and argue that ‘Breaking Bad’ is not the greatest television show of all time, I make no apologies for my addiction to the low-brow, trashy world of reality television.

After watching many series of the American version, I couldn’t mask my excitement when Channel Ten announced their new offering of the very first local version of ‘The Bachelor’.

I eagerly IQ’d the first episode and sat down that Sunday evening on my couch with a glass of wine, ready to swoon over the Aussie hunk who had been deemed Bachelor-worthy and secretly judge or root for the array of gorgeous women who would be fighting claws-and-all for the opportunity to win his heart.

The show has cast many incredibly beautiful women, the usual models, fitness instructors and some with quite impressive professional careers including a doctor, lawyer and psychologist. Episode after episode I have watched as these beautiful, intelligent women, try to get a husband by demeaning themselves, disregarding the wonderful things that they have to offer and degrading their competition and it leads me to wonder why they would put themselves into this position?

In the process of fighting for Bachelor Tim’s attention, and desperately trying to win alone time with him, the women become the worst possible versions of themselves, which is obviously played on by the network as it makes for much better and more stimulating and exciting television. Surely introducing a woman like “The Shire’s” very own man-eater Jolene in the first episode was all a part of the production to add drama, excitement and intrigue, they didn’t truly believe that she would find love with Tim.

The Bachelor is filmed in such a short period of time that it forces contestants into a situation where they need to develop feelings and find a connection incredibly quickly. This is often pushed even further as situations are created in which the bachelor is withheld from the women as much as possible and one-on-one time becomes such a rare commodity the women push and shove each other, interrupt conversations and make complete fools of themselves for an extra minute to get his attention. You make one little mistake or have one boring conversation and you risk missing out on being given a precious rose.

The format of the show creates highly emotional situations where feelings are laid out and tension is extreme. Perhaps it is just me, but I could never put myself in a situation like this. The thought of having to share someone that you are starting to have feelings for and seeing them engage in intimate situations with even one other person, let alone a flock of stunning women makes me feel sick in the stomach.

Our culture is one where we desire what is new and what other people have and as long as I can remember women have competed with each other about appearance and other physical and materialistic things. As the show progresses, it becomes more about the competition and winning, masked as “feelings for him”. These women think they love him, but I think it is more likely that they actually just get caught up in winning as self -validation and wanting to beat the other women.

How do you know when you sign up for the show that you will be physically attracted to the bachelor, let alone have anything in common with him? Tim Robards is a reasonably good looking man, but let’s be honest, he comes across about as interesting as a stiff board. Contestant Ally is an interesting example of this. It appeared from the first episode that she had convinced herself that she would be falling in love with the bachelor, and be the final girl, lauding and bragging about an incredibly strong connection they shared after their initial two minute conversation, trying to steal a kiss on the first night and fainting in a later episode at the thought of Tim spending time with or enjoying time with another woman. It takes more than five minutes of alone time to get to know someone and build a long-term meaningful connection, let alone conclude he or she is the love of your life. She seems like a smart, likeable and pretty girl who would easily find a man, although after this she may have a little more trouble convincing potential suitors, who have seen the show, that she is not completely desperate and bat-shit crazy.

Artificial situations and conversations marred by awkward small talk and rehearsed questions and answers as well as the complete overtiredness from emotion and desperately trying to impress someone you barely know is very unlikely to produce a true, long-lasting love story.

And finally, in a less than positive omen for the eventual winner of Tim Robards “heart”, the outcome of almost all of the overseas series of the show is a broken heart and shattered engagement. Perhaps it is safe to assume after all that these women get so caught up in playing the game, trying to beat the other women, to be the last one standing and win the ultimate prize (a husband!!) that they manufacture disingenuous feelings that are doomed to fade away.

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