Anyone who’s watched The Bachelor or The Bachelorette knows, the reality behind such ‘reality TV’ must be edited and manipulated and poked and prodded until real life becomes good television.
But the extent of these behind-the-scenes measures remained largely unknown until author Amy Kaufman wrote Bachelor Nation, published March 6.
The book is based off of the US series (it has nothing to do with Australia’s Channel 10 programs) and the revelations are (almost) unbelievable.
Perhaps most startling, between the emotional manipulation and the STI discrimination (we’ll get to that later), is the way the show’s producers monitored female contestant’s menstrual cycles in order to create the most dramatic viewing.
“When women cycled together in the house, it created a completely different vibe,” Ben Hatta, a former Bachelor producer, told Kaufman, Page Six reports. “So a girl’s now crying mid-interview about nothing, or being reactionary to things that are super small. It helped the producers, because now you’ve got someone who is emotional. And all you want is emotion.”
Speaking to Refinery 29, Kaufman said the monitoring of menstruation cycles occurred early on in the show’s filming, which began in 2002, and that the production has become less extreme since then. Nonetheless, she was surprised they “ever took it that far.”
But it wasn’t only about creating a different “vibe”, either. Monitoring hormones was also useful in coercing contestants into doing and saying things they didn’t necessarily mean.
“If a girl’s feeling the butterflies for a guy already, when she gets into that state, her feelings just become more powerful, so she’s probably more willing to tell that guy she loves him,” Hatta said.
The use of the words “girl” and “state” aside (along with the presumption that women are incapable of logical thinking during menstruation), the level of manipulation implied is flooring.