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Dear Channel 10, we need to talk about The Bachelorette...

Dear Channel 10,

We need to talk about The Bachelorette.

It began with such promise. The ad showed our Bachelorette, slightly overdressed for the middle of the day, giving a meaningful look of solidarity to the feminist sisterhood.

YES LADIES, I too can date multiple people on national television, because #feminism.

The season debut attracted more viewers than the first episode of The Bachelor. Blake Garvey (that love rat) was booted off Celebrity Apprentice on the same night that Sam Frost was presented with 14 eligible bachelors. Feminists everywhere ceremoniously burnt their bras, as it appeared that the fight for equality had finally been won.

Except. It. Hadn’t.

We didn’t win, and now all our bras are burnt and we feel silly. The ratings this week were slightly lower than they were when bachelor Sam Wood met his potential in-laws. So, what went wrong?

1. This season is a little…boring.

As part of a generation who lives in constant fear of not being adequately entertained, we watch TV while also scrolling through our phones, even at the best of times. But while watching Thursday night’s episode, we were also on our laptops. We had our phones, our laptops, AND the TV, and we were STILL BORED.

“Meh. Let’s find Richie on Tinder”

Perhaps the biggest issue is that the show never airs conversations about actual things. You know – Game of Thrones, funny stories, the most painful physical thing they’ve ever experienced, whether or not they believe in ghosts, the meaning of life, etc.

“How do you feel this conversation is going?”

There is SO MUCH to talk about yet they spend their time engaged in some meta-inception cycle discussing whether or not they feel a connection when they should just be MAKING a connection. The ‘chats’ between Sam and her bachelors seem to always go the same way:

“How do you feel this conversation is going?”

“How did you feel 5 minutes ago when we were talking about how we felt about each other?”

“How do you feel about me…now? How about now? What about…NOW?”

Given that this formulaic conversation isn’t very interesting, the boys don’t end up seeming that genuinely interested in Sam. The guy who has shown the most interest in Sam so far has been Michael’s Dad, and boys, here’s a lesson for you: the interest was most definitely reciprocated.

How to fix it.

Channel 10, it’s important to air compelling conversations, ESPECIALLY when they’re with a woman who is already being packaged as a beautiful and one dimensional object, rather than a complex human being. Getting to know someone isn’t about knowing how many siblings they have, where they live and whether or not they like seafood. It’s knowing the last thing they Googled. It’s knowing what personality they attribute to their pets. It’s seeing them fart (as actually happened on The Bachelor NZ).

2. There is absolutely no diversity.

Here is a picture of the cast of The Bachelorette:

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Oh no. Sorry that was a genuine mistake. We got it mixed up with this ACTUAL picture of the cast.

Even white people are sick of seeing white people on TV.

In fairness, The Bachelorette could probably be added to the list of ‘stuff white people like’ along with yoga, multi-lingual children and Ted Talks.

Nonetheless, it is entirely inappropriate, not to mention repetitive, to not even consider cultural diversity. We thought Michael might be Italian, because he looked like he smelled nice, dressed sort of fancy, and claimed to play professional soccer (God Australians are so bloody racist). But at home visits it became clear that he was just as Caucasian as the rest of them, which we really should have guessed, because he LITERALLY shares a surname with our (painfully white) Prime Minister.

How to fix it.

Channel 10, could you PLEASE start representing a cross section of Australian society on television before we a) run out of white people to chuck on reality TV or b) start genuinely believing that every Australian man is named Dave, has less than 5% body fat, and comes from a middle to upper class, functional family.

3. We’re not used to seeing women do the choosing.

The waning interest in The Bachelorette probably has something to do with the fact that we’re used to seeing women be chosen, rather than do the choosing. Women have been socially conditioned for centuries to be the sex that waits. We wait for the sweaty boy at the Year 6 disco, who has attempted (we repeat attempted) to mask his BO with Lynx, to ask us to dance. We wait to be asked out, we wait to be kissed, and we wait to be proposed to.

Perhaps our hopes that centuries of gendered socialisation would be undone in one season of The Bachelorette were too high. While Sam Wood appeared to have NO problem walking into a mansion of 24 single women, and believing that each and every one would fall for him, Sam Frost doesn’t have the same self-assurance.

Perhaps our hopes that centuries of gendered socialisation would be undone in one season of The Bachelorette were too high.

Sam has felt the need to check in with almost every contestant about whether they are on the same page, and has emphasized that she knows she “isn’t for everyone”.

Men don’t appear to experience the same doubts, at least not on TV. When they don’t receive a rose, it’s not because there’s anything wrong with them, it’s simply that Sam just didn’t get to see how amazing they are.

BE MORE HURT. SHE DOESN’T LOVE YOU DAMMIT.

How to fix it.

Ok, so Channel 10, while this one isn’t all your fault, you’ve definitely exaggerated the issue with your editing. Make it normal and interesting for women to do the choosing. Show us some more sideways glances with intense music, or completely out of context comments the boys have made about each other. Exploit the boys like you exploited the girls dammit! Or EXPLOIT NO ONE AT ALL (plz keep exploiting or we won’t know what to do with our weeknights).

In conclusion, Channel 10, you have a big job in front of you. Please take on board our recommendations, and in the wise words of Bob the Builder, when he was disheartened about the sexist shortcomings of our society:

“Can we fix it?”

“Yes we can!”

That Bob. So wise.

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