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Representation, social media and drama: MSU students discuss the coverage of women of color in 'The Bachelor'

March 19, 2024

One of the most famous reality television shows aired, the latest season of "The Bachelor" is about to come to a dramatic end. Consisting of one male lead and around 25-50 female contestants who vie for his love, the lead- Pennsylvania-born Joey Graziadei- dates the women over a six to nine week period and slowly eliminates contestants until he is left with one, winner of the show and his "true love."

This year's season has been a whirlwind of drama and dazzle, but despite its popularity, many Michigan State University students have mixed feelings about the show in general.

Digital storytelling freshman Klaudia Maciejowski said she personally doesn’t enjoy the show.

“I think it’s a terrible concept, but interesting to watch,” Maciejowski said.

Similarly, special education sophomore Gabby Mantela feels the concept of the show itself is “stupid”.

“(It's) like a bunch of women trying to get one guy, it’s kind of, I don’t know, stupid,” Mantela said.

Marketing sophomore Taylor Randolph is a big fan and enjoys watching the show each season

A lack of diversity within the contestant pool, however, has been prominent since the show first aired in 2002 and subject to much debate over social media.

Compared to previous seasons, though, Maciejowski said, this one has shown an increase in representation overall.

“I think in recent years, (diversity has) definitely gone up,” Maciejowski said. “There’s just a lot of things (that) have been vocalized. People have been protesting, people have been doing things, and I feel like with our generation, everybody’s a little bit more open-minded.”

Similarly, Randolph said that although she thinks representation has been better now than in the past, it still isn’t equal.

“I think that American society has fixated on blonde-haired, blue-eyed, white girls - that’s the beauty standard,” Mantella said. “So a lot of social media and other platforms really fixate on promoting the blonde-haired, blue-eyed standard, and not a lot of people look blonde-haired, blue-eyed ... That really diminishes people of color and really does not represent what America actually looks like.”

Many "Bachelor" fans took note of the fact that the contestants of color have been given far less screen time than their white counterparts. This is because the show is only catering to what the "stereotypical" fan wants to see, Mantella said

Randolph said the difference in screen time is noticeable, especially when solo interviews are shown on the show. In the current season, Filipino-American Rachel received backlash for being one of the final three contestants, with users on social media complaining she had no chemistry or connection with Graziadei. In the recent "The Bachelor: Women Tell All" episode, Nance revealed she had received racist, hateful comments from show fans.

Mantella believes people tune in so much to "The Bachelor" because of the abundance of drama the show offers.

“They probably don’t even think too deep into it, I’m assuming, they’ll just like get bored, probably (if they did),” Mantella said.

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