Opinion: The Bachelor franchise allows sexism to grow in media

Standards that are supported for women are criticized for men, and the dating show reveals how sexuality is treated differently between genders.



THE BACHELOR - "The Bachelor: The Women Tell All" - Peter's dramatic and emotional journey is about to come to an end. But first, he must come to grips with Madison turning away from the strong relationship they have developed until the fantasy suites. Will Madison even show up to the rose ceremony? And then it's a sensational and shocking "The Bachelor: The Women Tell All," MONDAY, MARCH 2 (8:00-10:00 p.m. EST), on ABC.

Angela Stansbery, Columnist

Gendered double standards can work in reverse.

With the presence of the #MeToo movement, women’s voices are being heard in profound ways. However, in this process, other interests can go ignored. Men who wish to abstain from sex are being left behind and the television media is a big culprit.

The Bachelor franchise is one of the leading television shows that support the presence of sexism.

As in wider culture, women and men are held to different standards while they are contestants on the shows. What is acceptable for women is not seen as acceptable for men, both in actions and beliefs.

The last season of  The Bachelorette had a contestant that was obliterated for his Christian beliefs. Contestant Luke Parker expressed how he felt about sex with Bachelorette Hannah Brown.

Parker said he wouldn’t feel comfortable with her sleeping with the other men and if she did, he would need to take himself out of the show.

The sexism shown in The Bachelor teaches viewers how men and women are held to different sexual standards. ”

In the episode, Brown goes off. She told him that he can’t tell her what she can or can’t do and that it’s disgusting for him to even express such expectations. Following her lead, the media criticized Parker for trying to give the Bachelorette an ultimatum.

The succeeding The Bachelor season with Peter Weber had a similar contestant. Madison Prewett shared her Christian faith with Weber and expressed that she is saving herself for marriage. Similar to Parker, she said if the Bachelor were to sleep with any of the other girls, she would need to step down from the show.

In the media, Prewett has been praised for standing up for what she believes in and holding herself to a higher standard.
Where was this support for Parker during the season of  The Bachelorette?

If women are getting encouragement for religiously abstaining from sex, then men deserve the same treatment. Men have the right to decide to wait until marriage and expect that from a partner just as much as a woman does.

The sexism shown in The Bachelor teaches viewers how men and women are held to different sexual standards.

This is harmful because it is teaching that women should have a choice over their bodies and expectations for their partners, but men should not. It teaches that the beliefs of men regarding sex and religion should come second to how it may make a woman feel.

It is not imposing for men to express the same desires as women to wait until marriage.

It’s been obvious since the creation of the show that producers manipulate what happens and how the story is told. It would be ignorant to blame only the media for the unequal treatment of men and women. It is the way the producers form the show that drives the media’s perspective.

Everyone deserves the choice of when and with whom they are ready for physical intimacy. The media representation of Prewett and Parker is unequal and promotes sexism that taints how viewers think about religion and sex. This double standard can’t stand.

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