comScore ABC's The Bachelor Is a Slut-Shaming Mess That Needs to Stop | The Mary Sue

The Bachelor Is Rewarding Slut-Shaming and It Needs to Stop

ABC, why?

The Bachelor Matt gives Anna and Victoria a rose during Rose Ceremony.

If I knew slut-shaming was the way to The Bachelor’s heart and how you get rewarded with screen time, I wouldn’t have started watching this mess in the first place. Let me backtrack. I started watching ABC’s The Bachelor for some good ol’ trash TV. MTV’s Catfish is messy trash TV, but it is so much fun. So, I thought, “Why not give The Bachelor a try?” Four weeks in and I regret this decision entirely.

I regret it partially due to the contestants after Matt’s heart. Well … except Michelle. That woman has spent two seconds with Matt and the chemistry is there. Contestants like her, I love. But it’s all ruined and overshadowed by contestants like Victoria and Anna. You know, the ones who bully, slut-shame, slander, and weaponize a rumor just because they’re insecure about their chances with The Bachelor.

Victoria has been the villain since day one. And not even an entertaining villain. She’s the most basic version of Regina George from Mean Girls, but she fashions herself as this wannabe queen that everyone wants to get to know, including Matt. Sorry, not sorry, but the only people who want to hang out and get to know Victoria are bullies themselves who like stirring the pot. And when this show is over, they’ll be remembered for the bullies they are and nothing more.

Her slut-shaming of Brittany showed how bitter and insecure she is. Calling the new contestant a “slore,” a combination of slut and whore, is no way to position yourself in a favorable way amongst the women. Because Matt isn’t there most of the time. So, Victoria is doing all of this to show the other women that she’s the “Alpha” who everyone should follow, for reasons. But instead, what she’s dong is showing everyone how one-dimensional and self-conscious she is.

Then, there’s Anna, the surprise turn of events for many watching The Bachelor. Personally, I wasn’t surprised. I’ve met insecure women like her: Women who think that the only way to make themselves look better is to gang up on others. Women who think it’s their duty to save the man from the evil clutches of a supposed harlot. Women who don’t have anything interesting going on in their lives so they cause drama for dramas sake.

Anna did all of these things when she started spreading the rumor that new contestant, Brittany, was an escort. This is dangerous. No matter if Brittany is a sex worker or not, you’re putting her private life out there for the world to see without her consent. That could lead to targeted harassment online and in real life. It’s also a blatant display of slut-shaming that puts down sex workers everywhere just because you don’t agree with it.

This leads to my second reason for not liking The Bachelor. They have given mean girls a platform to weaponize a rumor and spread slut-shaming because this show loves good ratings. And what better way to get people talking and watching than starting a little drama? Except, this isn’t drama for drama’s sake. This is perpetuating demoralizing stereotypes about sex workers and a way to pit women against each other instead of bringing them together.

The Bachelor would be 100 times more interesting if they didn’t give bullies a soap box to stand on and judge others. It’s blatant prioritization that shows people watching that if you’re mean, you’re going places on this show. The only place that bullies like Anna and Victoria should be going is home while Michelle and Brittany get the spotlight. And I’m not the only one who agrees with my thoughts on slut-shaming, the way that Anna and Victoria bully people, or how they want these two women to go home.

(image: ABC/Craig Sjodin)

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Lyra (She/Her) is a queer Latinx writer who stans badass women in movies, TV shows, and books. She loves crafting, tostones, and speculating all over queer media. And when not writing she's scrolling through TikTok or rebuilding her book collection.