The Bachelor Vs The Bachelorette
Post Date: August 25th, 2010
During its peak in the midst of reality shows’ heyday, The Bachelor hit the scene with a simple premise that seemed to enthrall every woman on the planet: a wealthy man searching for love gets his chance to court 25 women from around the country, eventually picking one as his bride.
The guys were all cookie-cutter combinations of traditional (Caucasian) good looks, charisma and affluence. The women were all beautiful with varying personalities, which, by design, manufactured the maximum amount of drama. What more could you want?
Well, it turned out we wanted a lot more, because after 14 seasons, not one of the winning ladies ended up married to their Bachelor beau. Of the 14 seasons:
- 7 “proposals” that never made it to marriage,
- one of which was a “mistake,” taken back, and given to one of the women he had dumped (not making that up).
- 7 “relationships” that failed after a few months,
- one of which ended in domestic violence
Not so impressive, huh? And yet, women continued to tune in every week to watch the scripted drama of a couple dozen fame hungry women all vying for one guy who is probably still confused about what he wants in life. Luckily, someone over at the studios thought to themselves, hey, what if we put the women in the lead? Have a successful, beautiful woman as our leading lady, and 25 handsome gentlemen who are ready and looking for a real relationship?
Enter The Bachelorette in January of 2003, where runner up from season 1 of the Bachelor, Trista Rehn, sought to find The One from a batch of 25 bachelors.
Fast forward 6 seasons, and the numbers look far more appealing. Of the 6:
- The first (Trista Rehn and Ryan Sutter) have been married for 7 years with two children
- 2 of the others resulted in year long relationships that didn’t quite make it to marriage
- one ended with the Bachelorette (Jennifer Schlefft) rejecting all bachelors (talk about intuition!)
- one is in the process of planning the wedding
- and only one ended in less than 6 months
Now of course we don’t have as much data to work with for the Bachelorette, as it’s still a fairly young show, but just from the few stats we have for the show, we’ve come up with a couple questions.
- If the Bachelor is so inextricably tied to failure, why do we keep watching it? Why is it that every season we expect a fairytale courtship followed by a fairytale marriage when we have 14 seasons of proof that it’s just not plausible?
- If the Bachelorette continues on the path it’s on, with a higher rate of successful relationships and marriages, will society use that as a mirror and believe that maybe, just maybe, it’s not crazy to allow women the same level of agency over marriages? Perhaps the responsibility of The Proposal, the momentous responsibility that is, traditionally, almost exclusively on men, will be given to women?
- If the social structure of The Proposal changed (though as we’ve seen in so many occasions, it often takes decades or even centuries for this to happen), what effect would it have on marriage as an institution? Could divorce rates go down? Would more children grow up in two-parent families? Would women feel more empowered in their social, educational, and occupational lives? Would men be less likely to be “commitment-phobic” and more apt to concentrate on successful relationships?
We don’t have all the answers to these questions right now, but we do know that online dating success is 5 times more likely when women take the lead. So if HerWay is a better approach to dating… is it also a better approach to proposals?
We value your opinions and would love to know what you think about this provocative new approach to relationships, so let’s start the conversation!
(image courtesy of charmantenewfs.co.za)