This guest reflection was written with love and humour by a local mother who happens to be a corporate lawyer.
I am a feminist and I love watching The Bachelor (and The Bachelorette).
I am now used to the many looks of disgust that I receive when I ask people if they watch the show? My closest friends included look at me with despair. While I want to discuss the latest outfits and drama on the show, they go on to discuss the book they are reading for book group or the current Netflix or ABC show that they are watching on TV.
I ask myself why I like the show so much, and how, as a mother of a daughter, do I justify this?
The answer to this so very important question is the fact that I am enthralled by the success of the show and the fact that people have found love in the process. I met my husband in the good old days when there was no mobile phones, let alone social media. We genuinely looked like rubbish all the time and there is little photographic proof of it. There is no way that I could have handled the rejection or public scrutiny. Fast forward 20 years and online dating and a social media profile is now “normal” for the younger generation. How do they do it?
For those of you that are not fans of the Australian series, let me catch you up on what has played out so far.
In 2013, Tim Robards was the first Australian bachie. This was a great season, with my all-time favourite, criminal lawyer Anna Heinrich, winning Tim's affection ahead of 24 other hopefuls. The couple has been dating ever since.
Things heated up in 2014 when bachie Blake Garvey proposed to Sam Frost on air and then broke off the engagement shortly afterwards. Blake was publicly tagged 'the most hated man in Australia' but came out the other side in a relationship, after establishing a real-life connection with third runner up, Louise Pillidge from Perth. The relationship ended earlier this year.
Sam Frost pulled herself together and went on to be the first Australian Bachelorette in 2015 and fell in love on air with builder, Sasha. Sam then went to score an amazing job as co-host on 2DayFM breakfast radio show with Rove McManus. It is fair to say that the show presented her with some pretty amazing opportunities.
Sam Wood chose single mother, Snezana, from Perth last year. The couple are now engaged and living in Melbourne with Snezana’s daughter, Eve. Wood admits that he and Snez often laugh about the fact they would not have met had they not both been on the show. This is my pick to have the first Australian bachie baby.
The current bachie, Richie Strahan, got his heart broken by Sam Frost last year but he is looking very happy in his current surroundings. My pick to win his heart is Nikki or Alex. Either way, one of them is going to lose and get hurt. That bit I don’t like.
The Bachelor reminds us that both women (and men) now have choices. Rather than ridicule and hate these men and women who have chosen to chase their dream of love, why not support them? Many no doubt work long hours, have been subjected to rejection on dating apps (including a range of bodily pics they never asked for) and have made a brave step to put themselves in the spotlight to find someone to spend their days with. Season after season has shown that it is the contestants who are most kind and considerate that make it down to the final few. Back stabbing and trickery does not get you far on The Bach, nor does it in life.
As a female working in a sexist male-dominated profession, I know all too well the struggles that the feminist cause still faces. But the Bachelor is not the cause of these problems, nor does it prolong them. Both men and women sign up to this show in the hope of finding love because they have so far not found it in their everyday lives. It gives them a new context in which to find a partner. And the show continues to prove the critics wrong, with many of the partners staying together in long term relationships (and certainly longer than your average Tinder date). How can any of us judge them for that?
Perhaps there is something a little voyeuristic in us tuning in to watch the trials and tribulations play out in front of us. But it's escapism, like all the great stories ever told about love and relationships. For joining in this escapism I do not apologise. And feminists shouldn't either. We go on the journey with the girls (and boys) together, hoping the best for all of them, and shedding a tear for those who don't find their partner, or at least not just yet.
Georgia Love, a newsreader from Tasmania, was recently announced as the next Bachelorette Australia. Another, gorgeous and smart women will be introduced to guys she would otherwise never get the chance to meet. I am excited already!