By: Dani Kessel
I am a huge fan of The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, and all the spin-off shows.
They are such a guilty pleasure of mind. It’s entertaining to watch the mindless drama that goes on between the contestants. (Though the cattiness this season has been way over the top.) The hopeless romantic in me loves the idea of this franchise actually helping people find love. I enjoy that the show doesn’t shy away from social issues. (They seriously need a better vetting system for terrible people though.) I thoroughly enjoy every chaotic and ridiculous moment. As I’ve watched this season of the Bachelor, I’ve noticed something extremely bothersome though.
There is serious emotional shaming occurring by both contestants and the show itself.
This has been going on for years, even further back than Ashley Iaconetti Haibon, one of the series’ most well-known emotional contestants. It has gone to ridiculous levels this season though.
Kelsey Weier was called emotionally unstable and heinously accused of mental health issues which I won’t repeat. After Hannah Ann Sluss was set up by producers to open a special bottle of champagne brought by Kelsey, the show proceeded to paint her as unhinged. Yes, she handled the situation wrong; she even admitted it on the Women Tell All. That doesn’t mean they should make her out to be a bad person for having an emotional reaction though. The show capitalized on “champagne-gate” and made it central to her portrayal on the show.
Mykenna Dorn was basically made out to be a child for being emotionally expressive. She was called whiny. People said she wasn’t mature enough for love, despite not shaming other contestants of the same age. (This very clearly was a product of her crying and showing emotions.) The contestants and the show judged her basically every moment.
What the heck do people think is so wrong with being emotional and crying?
The show is clearly a reflection of societal beliefs. Society tells us emotion is weakness, but that’s wrong! In a partnership and marriage, it’s important to be able to express yourself. I’ve learned that from my own past experience, observing many dysfunctional marriages, and taking my interpersonal psychology course. Communication of expectations, thoughts, emotions, values really matters when it comes to having a functional relationship. This requires you to be in touch with yourself.
I’d rather have a partner capable of crying than a partner who bottles everything up.
I’d rather teach my kiddos to express themselves than stunt their emotional intelligence.
I’d much rather watch Kelsey and Mykenna try to find love on The Bachelor than watch people who become uncomfortable and hostile towards anyone’s emotional expression. Not every contestant has to show emotions in the same way. As a contestant and bachelorette, Rachel Lindsay didn’t show emotions the same way that Kelsey and Mykenna did, and I loved her. Ashley Spivey, a contestant on Brad Womack’s second season (if I remember correctly), was very vulnerable but level-headed. She was a fantastic contestant. The list goes on and on. Clearly, a wide variety of personalities and expressions is great. (If any producers read this: include a more physically diverse cast too, please!)
But, can we please stop shaming people for crying or being upset or outwardly expressing any kind of emotion other than happy?