The most sexist and degrading “Bachelorette” to date: This season is definitely …

20 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘The Bachelorette’ season premiere recap: double trouble.

When the big twist for season 11 of “The Bachelorette” was revealed — that the male contestants would have to choose between two potential Bachelorettes, Kaitlyn Bristowe and Britt Nilsson – people were not exactly thrilled with the decision. ABC’s hit romantic reality series, “The Bachelorette,” kicks off its 11th season continuing the surprises of this season’s “Bachelor” with the biggest one of all: there will be two Bachelorettes.(Photo: Craig Sjodin, ABC) The season premiere of ‘The Bachelorette’ was quite different than it’s ever been.The reality show in which affection is signified by roses might as well have handed the two women vying to be Bachelorette stinkweed on Monday’s season premiere.

After spending the next few months in Los Angeles to compete on “Dancing With The Stars,” Twitter has confirmed he is back on the farm, preparing to marry Whitney. Britt, 28, admits the set-up was “so weird,” but says her experience as one of Chris Soules’ prospects on the last season of The Bachelor took away most of her first-night anxiety. “I didn’t have as many nerves as I felt like I would,” says Britt. “Last season, getting out of the limo, I was so nervous it was paralyzing. And instead of a lady voting on which dudes should stay, the guys picked which of the two girls would make it to the next week and be the main Bachelorette. Back when the unpopular decision was announced in March, host Chris Harrison claimed it was because the producers and “Bachelor Nation” were divided. As our own Tracy Clark-Flory wrote at the time, summing up the mood: “What viewers saw was an enraging power imbalance in the wake of a season that, even more so than average, revolved around women fighting over a man …That power imbalance [in which the men have all the power] has always been there, right under the surface, but with this move ‘The Bachelor’ made it un-ignorable, even to the most blissfully ignorant or in denial.” But since I clearly have a taste for masochism, I decided to tune in for the big showdown, and hoo boy am I glad that I did.

On Chris’ season, Britt, who gave free hugs on Hollywood Boulevard, was sent home rather than proposed to, so we were left to assume she was the next Bachelorette. But since this season has too much drama for one episode, we don’t find out who the guys chose until Tuesday night, after they vote by “putting the roses in the girls’ boxes,” which sounds sexual, but is not. Not only will Britt be looking for marriage on national television, she will be joined by Kaitlyn, the girl who told Chris Soules he could “plow the f— out of her field any day” during last season’s premiere. It’s just different.” The most unexpected outcome of the competitive courtship, says Kaitlyn, was that the ladies got past the initial weirdness of greeting the men side-by-side and managed to develop a sort of camaraderie: “I think we actually had a really fun time with it,” she says. “We’d kind of look over at each other and laugh. So now the story is that the men were “divided as to which girl they thought they could fall in love with” and “it seemed unfair to make that decision for the men.” What seems unfair is for women who’ve already had to compete against each other on The Bachelor to do so again in this circumstance, when they’re supposed to be the ones in control.

A bucket of roses to you and the whole “Bachelorette” team for managing to turn an already-sexist franchise into something somehow even more disheartening than the 11 seasons that came before it (Outkast was right: Roses really smell like poo-oo). I won’t go through all 25 men, but here are a few highlights: Jared, a restaurant manager from Rhode Island, tells us that if he were going into this thing as a superhero, he would be going in as “Love Man” to rescue the Bachelorette from all of the evil men in the world. He’s on #TeamKaitlyn and he’s not afraid to show it, calling her “smart and beautiful and funny and very charismatic.” (We agree!) Also, he has a pretty intense back story: He was a Princeton track star who got in a car accident and was “left for dead.” After some intense physical therapy and training, he proved doctors wrong and learned to run again. For example: Usually, the Bachelorette/Bachelor contestants get long, detailed openings where we get to know our protagonist for the season (remember how many shots of rolling Iowa cornfields we had to endure last season?).

That episode will be just an hour long and presumably will end with a rose ceremony for the men so we can put this nonsense behind us and get on with the season. Britt and Kaitlyn, meanwhile, were pictured purely in the context of how they behaved on the show last season — no shots of them in their hometowns, no opportunities to express themselves in their own words — but with reductive descriptors designed to play up an an artificial divide between them. There is the Canadian dancer Kaitlyn, who is “funny, sexy and sometimes completely inappropriate” (cut to a shot of her stripping off her bikini bottoms) verses the California model Britt, who is “sincere, emotional, and very loving” (cut to a shot of her crying). Monday’s episode started with mini profiles of Kaitlyn and Britt that essentially reduced them to caricatures: Kaitlyn tells off-colour jokes and she took her bikini bottom off on The Bachelor; Britt gives out hugs and cries a lot. Welder Joshua is from Kuna, Idaho, which sounds about as big as Bachelor Chris Soules’ hometown of Arlington, Iowa, but extra points to Joshua for making a metal rose.

Chris Harrison reiterates that this season is going to be different, saying, “the men will have a little bit of power tonight in making this decision.” My hopes that this is not a complete failure in feminism feel a little squashed. Louis, Mo., who prattled on about how life is like a bunch of puzzle pieces, kissed his plants goodbye and showed up to meet the women with an unexplained black eye. As the first limo with the contestants pulls up, the bachelors wonder, “which one do we talk to first?” Then, in true male fashion, each yells out the name of their preferred Bachelorette. Personal trainer Ben Z., from San Jose, Calif., lost his mom when he was 14, but it still feels “like it happened yesterday,” which frankly seems a little worrisome. The whole notion of the show’s true romance quest is artificial, but the twist makes it ever more so, as the women become even more like pawns to be played in a complex strategy game.

Then along came stripper Josh who not only danced for the women but made them run their hands along his heavily tattooed chest. “Britt, have him,” Kaitlyn said. Finally, we hear Kaitlyn say, “This is awkward watching them all talk to Britt.” She’s talking over Ben H, a Realtor from Florida, calling Britt a Disney princess as he introduces himself. Jared, whose jaw line is so distracting I have no idea what his job is, also approaches Britt, shows another superhero T-shirt (yes, he apparently has more than one) and says “Love Man” is his alter-ego. Britt was getting excited about Shawn B., a personal trainer from Windsor Locks, Conn., when she overheard him tell Kaitlyn, “You are the reason why I’m here.” Then Kaitlyn ran into the mansion to say hi to the guys, which had Britt sniffing about how Kaitlyn wasn’t playing by the rules and it was “disrespectful,” except nobody was holding Britt down and preventing her from doing the same thing.

The only Canadian in the bunch, Shawn E., described as an “amateur sex coach” (huh?) from Ontario, Canada, drove up in a convertible that doubled as a hot tub (um, does he use it for his “work”?). Kansas City “junkyard specialist” Ryan M., who had been getting increasingly drunk and obnoxious inside, came outside and yelled that the car sucked. That doesn’t sit well with me,” before qualifying that she is “so grateful and I appreciate that I’m even here.” Even smiley Britt found the process was getting to her — after all, they both went through the embarrassing spectacle of televised rejection just a few months ago — confessing that “it’s so weird to be playing the waiting game again and wanting validation again.” Thankfully Chris Harrison was on hand with friendly reminders of their second-class status, in case they forgot. He claims, “I feel like this is the seventh grade dance, what do I do?” Then, as he walks to Britt, Kaitlyn proclaims, “We feel that way, too.” Cory, the first of two contestants named Cory, but his is spelled with no “e,” struts the hell out of his stuff as he (finally) walks to Kaitlyn first.

Just when the tension was starting to decrease, along came Harrison, minus the triceratops, to tell everyone the voting room was open and ratchet it back up. Didn’t stop him from telling Shawn that everything about him sucked, though. “I hate to do this, but you’re clearly not here for either one of these girls or for a sincere reason,” Harrison said before sending Ryan back to the junkyard. Chris Harrison quickly booted him out, chastising him for being “here for the wrong reasons.” Yet while Ryan may be “The Bachelorette’s” foul id, openly saying and doing the rape culture-y things that make us squirm, his behavior is less an outlier than a logical extension of a world where men pick a team and compete to win their trophy. Ryan had already spoiled his ballot by throwing his rose against the wall, so it’s not like we have to worry about some drunk guy casting the deciding vote.

He tells us he is here because he is “obsessed with Kaitlyn,” and all I can think about while watching his antics is the Miz from the “Real World/Road Rules Challenge.” Briefly, we see Bradley hug both women, wearing a red sweatband. Josh, who is being credited as both a lawyer and an exotic dancer, appears from the limo to perform a strip tease for them as soft porn music plays in the background.

Being an alumnus of the University of Kentucky, I find this rather charming, but I also compared his photo to Joe Dirt a week ago, so I should probably be quiet. Shawn B and his fancy socks follow Tanner, and when he looks at each woman, he smirks and asks, “Group hug?” Once the three of them oblige, he walks over to Britt, who has sparkles in her eyes over this guy, and we have our first pick-up hug of the season. He is banging on the windows to try and get Britt and Kaitlyn’s attention, then lets the other male contestants know he is “all horned up right now.” You know, classy adult male stuff. After Ryan, The Miz, says he would like to take both women “out for a steak dinner and never call them again,” I hope he doesn’t get to hang around for long. While Shawn E is trying to introduce himself, The Miz screams “Your car sucks” and “You suck” and “You won’t see any of us inside.” So, I wasn’t kidding about this whole Miz thing.

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