A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this dating competition show features multiple women competing for the affections of a single man. They constantly make catty comments, backstab each other, wear revealing clothing and bathing suits, and sometimes drink too much. The Bachelor kisses many of them, and a few go on overnight "fantasy" dates with him. There is some frank sex talk and occasional profanity ("bitch,” “pissed," and stronger words are bleeped with mouths blurred).
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Each installment of THE BACHELOR features 25 women competing to win the heart of a single man who will hopefully become her husband. Each season’s “prize”, which have included a winery heir, an actor's brother, a football player, and a real-life prince, spend time with the women going on outdoor adventures, helicopter rides, and of course, wining and dining, during individual and group dates. Each week the women who continue to impress him receive roses and are invited to continue living in a luxurious house, accompany him to exotic destinations, go on overnight fantasy dates, and even meet his parents. The woman lucky enough to be chosen at the end of the competition must then wait and see if she will become his soul mate.
Is it any good?
The reality dating competition relies on stretch limos, high-end hotels, and candle-lit dinners to create a romantic fantasy that is popular among teen viewers. But beneath the show’s shiny veneers are problematic messages about gender roles, dating, relationships, and marriage. These become even more problematic when previously featured bachelors return to try their hand at it again, despite the obvious failure of the process the first time.
The women on the show often connect their self-worth to their ability to “snag” the bachelor, and usually engage in insecure behavior in order to get his attention. Meanwhile, each bachelor, who is always polite and respectful, is more than willing to kiss and profess their affection for different women (sometimes during a single night). Teens may find it entertaining, but this kind of fantasy isn't without its problems.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the show’s messages, like the idea that a young woman is a failure if she's single and that marriage should be the ultimate goal. What do dating competition shows like this suggest about relationships? Marriage? Can you really find true love in six weeks?
Parents and teens may want to discuss the kind of messages the show’s exotic locales, steamy hot tub scenes, and overnight dates send about sex and sexual activity. How appropriate is some of the behavior being featured here?
For kids who love romance
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