opinion

The Bachelor's Alex is copping hate from everywhere, even inside the house.

As viewers, it’s our job to love and hate television characters. They’re written to do that to us, after all.

But the rules around this kind of engagement becomes murky when it comes to reality television, because as the genre name would suggest, the people involved in these shows aren’t characters. They’re real people. And fundamentally, that should influence the way we speak about them. But for some reason, it doesn’t seem to.

Take Alex Nation, for example. She’s 24, blonde, attractive, has an incredibly intense makeout face, a young son, an ex-husband, and is currently competing for Richie Strahan’s heart on The Bachelor.

alex the bachelor

Hey Alex! Source: The Bachelor / Chanel 10.

For some reason, she seems to have fallen into camp hate rather than love, which is okay, but it's why she's there that's the problem.

Hating a television personality for the way they talk or their accent is one thing. Hating them because they have a young child and an ex-husband is another altogether.

It's true that Alex had a baby and got married when she was extremely young. She's made no secret of either of those things. So what's the problem?

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Richie and Alex on their love balcony. Source: The Bachelor / Channel 10.

Since first appearing on the Channel 10 series in July, it's been suggested that Alex is too desperate. That she's searching for a replacement father for her child. That she's too much to take on. That it would be easier for Richie to love a woman without a child, as though childless women are somehow purer and worthier of true love.

And last night, it became apparent that even other women inside the house see her this way, with Rachael apparently telling her that as a single mum there was no point in her being there.

Every time comments like that are made, the hierarchy that exists around women's worth is reinforced.

It tells women that a good personality isn't enough. That there are only so many times you are allowed to find love and lose it before you're deemed unworthy. That if you're a mother, you should count yourself lucky to find anyone at all.

Don't hate the player, hate the game. Source: The Bachelor / Channel 10.

But perhaps the most damaging message this sends is that women aren't allowed to make mistakes or fuck up. But if there's one place that we're most likely to do just that, isn't it surely in our love lives?

(Let's all take a minute to remember the people we once thought were set to be the great loves of our lives only to eventually find out they were absolutely, 100 per cent not. Ha, what do you know? You've got a past too, I see.)

To be honest, I don't really love or hate Alex. I simply don't know enough about her to form a solid opinion of her, but she definitely makes for good viewing, which is all I'm really looking for when it comes to reality television.

But the fact that it's 2016 and we're still allowing people to suggest there's a ranking system for women and their ability to be loved by another? That's something I really hate.

And as the son of a single mum himself, I reckon Richie would too.

Listen to this week's Bach Chat, below.