There are many things wrong with this show before we even get to what happened last night. Chief among these are its perpetuation of an impossible fairy tale paradigm in relationships, its dramatization of what's supposed to be a quest for true love, it's focus on the shallower aspects of love, its seeming to take the issue of marriage so lightly, and its placing its couples in circumstances that aren't reflective of real life.
I mean, I can go on and on here.
But I don't judge or start a public outcry simply because the show happens to be one of my guilty pleasures. I view it as entertainment and not in any way indicative of the real world.
But last night's show went somewhere that really pissed me off.
There are four girls left and The Bachelor. Jake has just finished visiting each of the girls' hometowns and meeting with their families. The day of the next rose ceremony comes around and one of the girls, Ali (admittedly my least favorite of those left) comes a'knocking on Jake's door in tears. She sits down and tells him that she has a choice to make between staying there with him and going back to work.
Read: "I'm going to get fired if I stay here any longer."
Now let me give a quick tutorial to those who aren't familiar with the premise of the show. The show picks a male or female each season who is supposedly looking for the love of his or her life. The show chooses from presumably thousands of contestants and picks around 25 men or women and places them all in a house and essentially they compete for the Bachelor or Bachelorette's affections. At the end of each show the Bachelor or Bachelorette sends a person or persons home and at the end of the season there are two left standing. The Bachelor or Bachelorette then chooses between the two and gets engaged to the that person who will later become his/her wife/husband.
I'll wait for you to finish laughing.
Now at the time Ali drops this news, she's left with three other girls, meaning she only has a 25 percent chance of ending up with Jake's ring on her finger. She's devastated saying she has to choose between the man she loves and the job she loves. She asks Jake to help her with the decision (read: "tell me you're gonna pick me") and Jake says, rather cautiously "I can't look at you and tell you for sure that I'm going to put a ring on your finger at the end of all this. But I also can't tell you I'm not going to do that."
I'm sure that helped a lot.
But in a way you can't fault him because he has four beautiful girls two steps from ripping each other's throats out in order to be the last one standing and as far as I can tell, he has roughly equal amounts of affection for all of them. So of course he doesn't want to reassure Ali.
Ali then bawls and bawls and when the rose ceremony comes around, she asks to speak to Jake in private and she bawls some more. Jake then tells her repeatedly that he doesn't want her to go.
So this girl is supposed to give up her career (and let me just say here that in this economy, the girl is beyond blessed to have ANY job much less one in her field and one that she enjoys) for a maybe?
Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying Jake should have stopped the show and told Ali that he was going to marry her. But the stand up thing would have been to tell her she should go home and go back to work.
For starters, do you think a man would ever let a woman come between him and his career? No matter how much he loved her?
Secondly, since when is it OK to let someone give up their life to be with you when you aren't one hundred percent prepared to do the same? Suppose she stayed. And lost her job. And then Jake decided that what he really wants is to marry Vienna. And he'd be OK with that because in the end, well, it was Ali who made the choice to stay.
Third, has Jake ever heard of a telephone? E-mail? Twitter? If he cares so much for this girl, then letting her give up her career might not be the best way to show it. So what if she goes back home? If he misses her, he can call her.
But what's really got my goat is that this scenario once again reinforces the notion that women have to make a choice that men just aren't forced to make in our society. We are constantly split between going out and making our way in the public domain and holding it down in the private domain.
And here it is again. Ali can either be a career woman or she can be a wife. Have I suddenly landed in the 1950's? Would Jake give up flying planes for Ali, or for any one of them. Hell no! Would we expect him to? Hell no!
So why does Ali have to give up a part of herself for a man who may not even choose her in the end? For love? That special reality TV brand of love?
And I, for one, wouldn't at all be surprised if a woman who suddenly finds herself aimless in life ends up being decidedly less attractive to our little Bachelor.
In the end, Ali went home.
I was so glad. I think she did the right thing. She said to him "if you were mine it'd be a different story, the choice would be easy"
You got it all wrong girlfriend.
If he was yours, really yours, you shouldn't have had to make a choice in the first place.