In this month’s Allure, feminist literary gadfly Jennifer Weiner takes a major deep dive into the shallow end (or cesspool?) that is ABC’s The Bachelor and its accompanying franchises. Weiner, a longtime fan and avid live-tweeter of the show, digs into the behind-the-scenes business, and asks the big question about the show's notoriously homogenous casting practices:
Why does it continue to present such a narrow view of femininity? Where are the brown girls, the porcelain-skinned goth girls and barefoot yoga girls, the girls with wild curls or piercings? In other words, how did a reality show get so unreal?”
Great question! Unfortunately, it's one even Weiner can’t quite answer, aside from speculating about male tastes, audience aspirations, and ratings. But she can answer a lot of other questions. Like, how do contestants maintain their bikini lines, and who does their makeup?
What are the stats of the average contestants? Age; 25, size: 6; race: white.
And what does that look like in real life? Weiner calls it the “idealized version of the girl next door: pretty but not gorgeous, stylish but not edgy, sexy but not raunchy.” It’s “Julie Bowen, not Sofia Vergara.”
Who is responsible for maintaining their beauty routines? Why, the contestants themselves, silly! After the first night, there are no makeup artists or hairstylists on retainer. Each woman is responsible for keeping “their manicures, pedicures, bikini lines and hair color on point.” Does this mean DIY waxing? Is this why at least one contestant every season is employed as an “aesthetician”?
How much clothing does each contestant bring? Six to eight weeks' worth. Everything must fit into two suitcases that can be whisked away by producers faster than you can crush the dream of true love and Prince Charming and extend fame.
How would you describe their style? "Something a fashion-savvy high-school girl could put together by next weekend," as Weiner brilliantly puts it — in other words, trendy but accessible. But this was before “game-changer” Emily Maynard brought Prada with her Forever 21. Now The Bachelor's ladies are more brand-aware and wear more “fashiony” clothes (though they tend to look like they came from Bebe or Express).
How do they stay fit? Well, there's no gym — cardio leaves you too winded to trash-talk your housemates. Instead, it appears producers subtly impose a starvation diet. Season-nine contestant Erica Rose says, “Sometimes there wouldn’t be any food until 3 in the afternoon. It seemed to me that they definitely didn’t want us gaining.”
What do they do for fun? They can’t work out, as already established. Nor can they watch TV, go online, or leave the Bachelor compound — which leaves them with “endless, dateless hours to spend doing one another’s hair, nails, and makeup” as well as undermining each others' self-esteem.
Is that why they all look alike? Yes. It’s a Mean Girls style of bonding. According to Weiss, during one season, “They all had the same hair because Michelle Money (yep) was doing everyone’s hair. During Sean’s season, they all had side braids because Leslie knew how to do a side braid. They end up morphing into one another because it’s the only social interaction they have.” Also, Franklin A. Rose is the unofficial plastic surgeon of Bachelor cast-offs.
Well, at least the roses are real.
Most Viewed Stories
Brad Pitt Fights Back Against Angelina Jolie and Her Plot to ‘Destroy’ Him
Looks Like Kate Middleton Is Enjoying the View in Canada
Trump Campaign Manager Accidentally Refers to His ‘Abuse’ of Women on Live TV
Megyn Kelly Roasts Trump’s Campaign Manager for Claiming He Doesn’t Make Sexist Comments
What It’s Like to Be a Female Reporter Covering Donald Trump
Finally Someone Called Donald Trump a Giant Baby and It Was Michelle Obama
22 Intimate Lost Photos of Marilyn Monroe
The Best Part of Being a Royal Is Getting to Pet Bunnies
Prince Married to Commoner Still Too Good to Tweet
Democratic Women Senators Are Very Concerned About Donald Trump’s Weight
From Our Partners
powered by PubExchange
The Cut’s Latest Love and War FeaturesThe Novelist Disguised As a Housewife
Shirley Jackson wrote 17 books while raising four children — and she couldn't have had a successful career without them.Ava DuVernay on Hollywood Racism, Modern-Day Slavery, and Why She’s Still an Optimist
The director, whose new documentary The 13th chronicles America’s history of racial subjugation, talks to Rebecca Traister about Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, and the modern criminal-justice system.What No One Tells Couples Trying to Conceive
It helps to be rich.The Hidden Black Women Who Helped Win the Space Race
A segregated unit of mathematicians born of desperation during World War II became the secret to NASA’s success.Slut-Shaming Squids Are Everywhere
The “Bermuda Square” comic strip is back.Santigold’s New Video Is the Result of a Spontaneous Run-in With Kara Walker
The collaboration that dreams are made of.Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield Spotted Together Again, Love Might Be Real
They could be back together ahh!Teen, Forced to Go on Vacation With Her Family, Calls 911
The logical decision.Report: Hearst Fired Seventeen EIC Michelle Tan During Her Maternity Leave
Tan had been at the magazine for about two years.Good Morning America Host Amy Robach Apologizes for Saying ‘Colored People’ on Air
She quickly apologized.
That’s one way to do it.Don’t Mess This Up, Mischa Barton
Marissa Cooper is poised for a comeback ... maybe.California Votes to Remove Time Limit on Prosecuting Rape Cases
In light of the Bill Cosby case.Beyoncé’s Behind-the-Scenes Lemonade Photos Belong in a Museum
She had the "Boycott Beyoncé" sign already in formation on set.The Rise of the Male Celebrity Full-Frontal
An ex-publicist explains.Gabby Douglas Will Be a Miss America Judge
The gold-medal gymnast will help choose the 2017 pageant winner.Camille Becerra’s Photo Diary of Rockaway Beach
An ideal trip to add and cross off your summer bucket list.Sorry Nerds, Ian McKellen Won’t Officiate Your Expensive Lord of the Rings–Themed Wedding
Not even for $1.5 million.Miles Teller Is Still Upset About Being Called a Dick
He wants to set the record straight.Why Parents Shouldn’t Talk About Weight With Their Teens
New guidelines seek to banish weight talk.