“Bachelorette” franchise exploits contestants

Katelyn Vargo, Staff Reporter

“The Bachelorette” is often considered the definition of reality TV. It offers little educational value but is extremely entertaining and addictive. A spin-off of “The Bachelor, the show premiered in 2003 and has amassed a cult following with dedicated fans calling themselves members of Bachelor Nation. 

Fans tune in weekly for any show that belongs to “The Bachelor” franchise, live-tweeting their reactions and even participating in fantasy leagues dedicated to the show. However, after a recent episode of the current “Bachelorette” season, Bachelor Nation took to social media to express their disappointment with the show. 

During this season’s second episode, which aired Oct. 20, Bachelorette Clare Crawley held a group date with several men vying for her heart. The men were told they were participating in a dodgeball tournament for the date. It did not take long for Crawley to change the game and make it strip dodgeball. 

Many John Carroll students are proud members of Bachelor Nation and it is fair to say those fans have seen many crazy things happen in “The Bachelor” franchise. The strip dodgeball tournament, however, was something different. It involved sexually exploiting contestants against their will in front of millions of viewers.

Within minutes, members of both teams had lost articles of clothing. One team was left wearing only tiny jockstraps. Sitting at the judge’s table with host Chris Harrison, who was clearly uncomfortable with the “strip” aspect of the game, Crawley took no action to stop the men from taking off their team uniforms. 

As soon as the scene aired, viewers began protesting the episode and calling out producers of the show for holding a double standard. Twitter user @MarissaSaysWhat said, “Friendly reminder if this strip dodgeball date happened on the bachelor vs #thebachelorette, we would be furious because of the further objectification of women.” 

Former cast members of “The Bachelor” also weighed in on the controversy. Former Bachelor lead Ben Higgins said on his podcast “Almost Famous,” “If this was a ‘Bachelor season, no way this happens, no way they get away with it, no way it’s appropriate, no way this just becomes a weekly topic.” 

John Carroll sophomore Lydia Delvaux said, “I do not agree with Clare’s decision to make the men play strip dodgeball. A lot of the men seemed uncomfortable about the situation, and it was disrespectful on Clare’s part to make them do that in the first place.” 

Despite the backlash, others were not as uncomfortable with the events of the strip dodgeball game. In fact, many recalled a group date from the last season of “The Bachelor” where lead Peter Weber had participants on the date wear lingerie while participating in a pillow fight competition. 

Although people on social media were fired up over the group date, none of the parties involved have made a statement about the questionable game. With the show promising more drama in future episodes and rumors swirling about Crawley quitting the show early to leave with contestant Dale Moss, Bachelor Nation is unlikely to boycott the show due to the controversial date.