Last week I sat through the entire season premier of The Bachelor. I’ve never been able to endure it before, but I was suffering from strep throat and a fever so my defenses were down. Now that’s not to say that I haven’t followed a few seasons of The Bachelor in my day….oh, I have! But there’s something about the first few episodes or so that I find to be particularly intolerable. It probably has something to do with the sheer volume of women who are throwing themselves at a man they just met.
But the other reason I was sucked into the episode is that there was not one, but two professing Christian women on the show. One was in church marketing (though I’m not entirely sure what that even means…) and the other was a youth minister. The youth minister got the ax pretty early, but Miss Church Marketer made it to the next round.
Interestingly, the last several seasons of The Bachelor have had at least one Christian contestant on board. Each one has valiantly clung to her virginity and her values (well, sort of), and publicly declared her faith at some point or another. I suppose the thinking is that, in being on a show like that, it’s a unique opportunity to share your witness and display Christian values. I’ve seen this evangelistic tactic used on other shows like The Real World and Survivor as well.
And there is something very appealing about this method. Not only do you get to embark on a unique experience that includes the glamor of being on tv, but you get the added bonus of telling people about Jesus. Win-win!
I, myself, have definitely considered this strategy before. What would it be like to be on The Bachelor? Would I make the cut? Would I make a statement for Christ? What if I won?? Not only would I be sharing the Gospel with millions of viewers, but potentially getting a husband as well!
In my wiser moments, I recognize the error in my logic. Not only is there no way that I would make the cut, and I cannot imagine a more humiliating experience than being rejected in front of all of America, but my motives for being on the show would be thoroughly unscriptural. While the Christians on The Bachelor may say that they’re in it for the ministry opportunity, I wouldn’t be surprised if they weren’t also drawn by the allure of these exceedingly dashing men. They are handsome, they are successful, and they are usually complete gentlemen—what more could a Christian girl want?
But at the end of the day, this method is little more than missionary dating. After all, the bachelors are never Christian, and they hook up with multiple women on the show. I don’t care how nice the package looks—if one of my college girls was thinking about dating a guy like that, I would advise something along the lines of, “Run away as fast as your little legs will carry you.”
The thing is, The Bachelor has come to look like one of the cleaner shows on television, not due to any virtue of its own, but because everything else is so bad. That’s what makes it so easy to watch these shows and accept the worldview it portrays.
So from time to time it’s important to stop and consider these errant perspectives. What are they exactly? Well aside from the fact that we see Christian women compromise themselves by dating non-Christians, The Bachelor essentially devalues women. Because of the way in which the show is set up, the Bachelor is forced to judge a woman’s acceptability based upon very superficial standards.
What’s more, there are no unattractive women on that show, no women who might be lacking in the looks department, but are out making the world a better place. And because of this lack of balance, the show ends up conveying the message that looks are all that matter. In watching it, I begin to believe the lie that all a man wants in a wife is a cute face.
The final problematic teaching of this show is that it encourages women to strive after a husband with a degree of desperation that is oftentimes shameful. After having traded in their dignity for the sake of possibly finding their mate, these women become the pursuers, sinking to manipulation and game playing to win the prize. Not exactly the makings of a healthy relationship.
While this post is not intended to be a blanket condemnation of anyone who ever watches and enjoys The Bachelor, I thought it might be important to pause and remember exactly what it is we are teaching ourselves with the tv shows we follow. Are we planting seeds of desire that we should not have? Are we fantasizing about a type of life that does not honor God? Are we tempting ourselves to date men that we should avoid? At some point or another, all of the above apply, so we need to be guarded about the kind of media that we consume.
And don’t think I’ve mastered this discipline. I’ll probably need one of my roommates to smack me upside the head and remind me all of those things next Monday night when I find myself swooning over the latest Bachelor from England. Those accents kill me every time! 🙂