A bunch of people have sent me messages/emails/tweets/memes about the physical appearance of many of this year’s Bachelor contestants. It upsets me that readers of mine think this is something I would find funny.
When I write satire about The Bachelor, I make it a point to never get personal about the contestants; to never get mean. I comment on how the show is a construct. I comment on how things are edited. I comment on how the whole thing is a ridiculous fantasy derived from the minds of Ten executives (which is also just a crazy fantasy in my mind e.g. Queen Sandra Sully). I will say someone has ‘been edited to be the villain/wife/quirky girl’, I’ll never say that’s what they actually are. Because I don’t know these women, so how could I know what they actually are? Everything I write is based on a heavily edited, finished product, that has nothing to do with the real people who appear in it. It’s a reality show with no basis in reality.
Good comedians understand that making fun of people only works if you make fun *up* the ladder. To have a go at the people less privileged than you (and in particular, when it comes to women, their physical appearance) a) just makes you an arsehole and b) just means you’re not clever enough to come up with something better.
Besides commenting on the exhaustingly perfect, physical, caucasian appearance that Australian networks require of their cast members (i.e. the impressive six-pack of every Bachelor, or the obvious lack of people of colour), I never comment on the looks of the people appearing in The Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise. That has been my policy since the first season. Because I'm better than that. I'm smarter than that. I'm funnier than that. And also because they are real people, and they may be edited for our entertainment in a million different ways, but their physicality is something they have no control over, and it is not something we should ever, ever mention. Making fun of the appearance of Bachelor contestants is just lazy comedy.
Make fun of the construct. Make fun of the fantasy. Make fun of the clear unreality of reality TV. But don’t make fun of the way these people look. That’s just shitty.
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The Bachelor is ridiculous, and lends itself to ridicule from countless angles. But the ridicule should be aimed at the concept of reality television production itself, and never at the real people who find themselves at the mercy of that production. Because that production is a construct of fantasy. A brilliant, entertaining, commercial construct of fantasy. And in a few weeks it will end, and the briefly famous people involved with it will need to go back to their regular lives.
When they do, I want to make sure that everything I’ve written about them has been about the show itself, and never about them personally. Because I don’t know them personally. I only know what construct a corporation has put forward to me. And that construct may be hilarious and entertaining, but it’s not real.
A corporation can handle endless jokes and criticism; a regular person can’t. So stop with the personal jokes. We can enjoy the show with intelligent critique without being nasty.
Now let's do that - because The Bachelor is DAMN ENJOYABLE TO WATCH.
Listen to Mamamia's dedicated Bachelor podcast: Bach Chat.
This post originally appeared on Rosie Waterland's Facebook page, and has been republished here with full permission.