An Open Letter to the Bachelor In Paradise Producers, From an Abuse Survivor

Co5fYxCW8AEqIJCHi there. You don’t know me, but I’m a loyal fan of The Bachelor and its spinoff shows. I’ve been watching the franchise since the third season of Bachelor Pad, and despite being a Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies major when I was in college, I’ve defended the show through thick and thin. Remember when you made Britt and Kaitlyn compete to be The Bachelorette? I blogged angrily, but I watched. When Kaitlyn got slut-shamed all over the place for sleeping with Nick? I tuned in early, and then I blogged. I’m a proud member of Bachelor Nation, accepting roses from even the worst of seasons (let’s be real, JoJo was a bust). Continue reading

BACHELORELLA: JoJo’s Season of The Bachelorette Is Terrible. We Are All Terrible.

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I haven’t written about The Bachelorette this year because, to be honest, it hasn’t been good. I’ve never gone into the final five so apathetic about a Bachelor or Bachelorette’s choices. Will JoJo accept the proposal of the Ken doll with facial hair, or without? Will they break up a month after the finale, or two months after? What will she title the tell-all memoir about the failure of their relationship? In a moment of resigned crankiness I sought out Reality Steve’s spoilers, hoping there would be some shocking plot twist to motivate me to care. Meh. Let’s be real: this season sucks. Continue reading

BACHELORELLA: Ben Higgins Is a Softboy

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Something rare happened recently on The Bachelor: a contestant’s family called out the star of the franchise, Ben Higgins, for being a dick. Jojo’s two obnoxious brothers were the villains of the “hometowns” episode, accusing Ben of having her “brainwashed”—quite hypocritically, as it turns out. Jojo Bros #1 and #2 expressed doubt about his motives and concern that their sister’s heart would be broken by the man currently dating three other women. Shitting on the star of the franchise as he tries to prove his genuine feelings for your sister is widely considered a rude move on The Bachelor, but in light of Ben’s double “I love you” confession on the most recent episode, I’m surprised no one is discussing the obvious: that Jojo’s brothers were right. Ben Higgins is an asshole.

To be more specific, Ben Higgins is a softboy. Continue reading

Bachelorella: We Need To Retire The Las Vegas Herpes Joke

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I haven’t been writing Bachelorella recaps this season of The Bachelor because I am busy and tired and nothing interesting has happened. And then tonight The Bachelor put Ben H.’s harem of girlfriends on a jet (or, possibly, on a passive aggressive party bus) and dragged them to Las Vegas. And I cringed, because I knew what was coming: the herpes jokes. Continue reading

Bachelorella: The Bachelorette Gets Real About Online Harassment

Source: @BacheloretteABC

Source: @BacheloretteABC

The producers of The Bachelorette made an interesting choice during tonight’s “Men Tell All” episode. Between the awkward reunions and desperate attempts to rebuild reputations, Kaitlyn Bristowe and Chris Harrison had an honest conversation about the tidal waves of harassment this season’s Bachelorette has received online. In a controversial move, Harrison read out several real tweets and emails sent to Kaitlyn over the last few months in all of their violent, slut-shaming, expletive-laden glory. The studio audiences’ jaws dropped, Kaitlyn struggled not to cry, and her men winced and grimaced in sympathy and horror. Twitter lit up like a switchboard. Was The Bachelorette actually addressing the harassment women receive online?

Yes. Yes it was. Continue reading

Bachelorella: Why I Should Definitely Be On The Bachelor

Ben H. will you accept this rose please I love you.

Ben H. will you accept this rose please I love you.

So Kaitlyn did the very stupid thing and eliminated the only sane, respectable guy left on her season of The Bachelorette. Bye bye, beautiful Ben H., who made an impression on us all when he made an awkward sex education lesson somehow romantic. You were always a little too smart for Kaitlyn, lovely Ben, who found herself drawn like a moth to the expensively-cologned flame that was Nick and Shawn’s jealous “feud” over her affections. We’ll see you soon, sweet dove. With you goes my remaining investment in this season of The Bachelorette. Continue reading

Bachelorella: The Bachelorette’s Nightmare Non-monogamy

Nick and Kaitlyn traumatize passersby. Source: All on TV.

Nick and Kaitlyn traumatize passersby. Source: All on TV.

I took a break from Bachelorella recaps because much of this season has been composed of cringe-inducing group dates and unnecessary confrontations. But I needed to come back this week because, in case you hadn’t heard, Kaitlyn got laid on national television. Reactions to Kaitlyn gettin’ some swung in two directions: the online media rolled its eyes and said WELL DUH, SHE IS THIRTY YEARS OLD, WHY IS THIS A SCANDAL, while viewers on Twitter called Kaitlyn a whorish, vapid tramp. And then the media machine embedded those tweets, and then more articles happened, and the producers were rewarded with the controversy they so perfectly manufactured. Keep it classy, America.

So. Why is it so scandalous for the Bachelorette to bone one of her dudes? After all, people have sex all the time; it’s a normal part of a relationship. If Kaitlyn is going to marry one of these men, she better give them a sexy test drive. She was going to sleep with at most three of them in a few weeks in the fantasy suite anyway. Why all the pearl clutching and Twitter freak-outs? What is the big deal?

The answer, my dear friends, is that The Bachelorette is a nightmare version of non-monogamy where everybody loses. The relationships fostered in this jet-setting disaster of a dating show are caught up in the story the producers want to tell, the values America wants it to uphold, and the audience’s hunger for blood. Emotional carnage, all for the purpose of great television. How far we as a society have come. Continue reading

Bachelorella: The Men of The Bachelorette Teach Sex Ed and It Isn’t a Total Disaster

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Ryan helps middle schoolers locate the clit. I’m not kidding.

Quick Bachelorette recap this week because let’s be honest, not a lot happened. Tony weirdly showed his temper when he had to sumo wrestle and left the show because he’s a pretentious little pissbaby. Clint and JJ are faking a gay romance to get more screen time and it’s kind of biphobic and would make for great television if they were, you know, less obvious about being manipulative idiots (anyone who thinks their attraction to each other is real is a moron and has not hung out with bros for very long). Ben Z. and Kaitlyn had a super dumb date involving a scary puzzle room which I fast-forwarded through because #noonecares. Blah blah drama drama Kaitlyn really enjoys confronting men who are assholes, which I respect but sometimes you gotta just take the high road, girl. Not every petty manchild deserves your attention. You are The Bachelorette, you have producers to walk the discards down the long driveway of shame.

I would have skipped recapping this week entirely, but one of the group dates involved making the men of The Bachelorette teach sex education to a room full of child actors as a funny prank. The sad thing? They made better sex education teachers than the volleyball coach who taught me about the birds and the bees my senior year of high school. Continue reading

Bachelorella: The Literal Battle of the Bros

Ben Z. gives me feelings.

Ben Z. gives me feelings.

I love bros. This isn’t exactly a secret; my twitter handle is @brosandprose, after all. Why do I love bros? I love their confidence, and their nerve, and their arms. I really love their arms. I also love their near constant negotiation with gender, because if being a bro is about anything, it’s about masculinity. Don’t get me wrong—I’m not a “men must be REAL MEN” type of girl. But I’m fascinated by how bros articulate, understand, and struggle with the expectations they’ve grown up with and continue to be judged by.

Self-aware social justice bros are Ella kryptonite. Yes, they’re real, I promise.

Anyway. Tonight’s episode of The Bachelorette was all about bros. During the first hour of the show, the men competed in a boxing tournament against each other to win Kaitlyn’s heart, and a big, fancy belt. Yes, you read that correctly. The men physically fought each other. Be still my heart. Was it insane? Yes. Was it hard to watch? A little bit, yes. One guy, Jared, was basically given a concussion, but still felt well enough to get Kaitlyn’s lip gloss smeared all across his face. I was aroused by it and also uncomfortable.

If you need evidence that men need feminism too, look no further than Jared wheezing, “It was worth every punch that I took… my head may hurt but my heart has never felt better.” Continue reading

Bachelorella: How The Bachelorette Got Bystander Intervention Right

The men of The Bachelorette dealt with sexual harasser Ryan swiftly, without excuses. Screencap by @bricesander.

The men of The Bachelorette dealt with sexual harasser Ryan swiftly, without excuses. Screencap by @bricesander.

In the midst of what was arguably the most sexist season premiere of The Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise, a magical thing happened. There was a beautiful lesson in sexual harassment and bystander intervention, and I felt for a fleeting few minutes like the world was a better place than it was.

Let me rewind. Quirky, edgy Kaitlyn and beautiful, arguably shallow Britt arrived to woo 25 men into choosing them to be the next Bachelorette. The Internet waited with bated breath to see how sexist this sexist twist on a normally female-driven show would be. The Bachelorette did not disappoint—Britt was catty and smug, Kaitlyn was nervous and felt “sick to her stomach” about the men voting on who to keep around. The men were in turns pretentious, nauseating and hunky as they decided which woman to choose. They were all plied with alcohol.

Copious amounts of alcohol. Continue reading