reality tv

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Hate-Watch “The Bachelorette”

As the romance-reality show begins its twelfth season, it continues to embody contradictions in our culture's view of femininity.


On Monday night, a summer-long love affair between a woman and her nearly thirty suitors commences. Around the country, hundreds of bottles of rosé will be uncorked, pajama pants with nicknames embroidered across the asses will be slipped on, and Twitter will light up with exclamation points.  

Jojo Fletcher, Season Twelve’s titular “Bachelorette,” begins her “journey” to find true love. Meanwhile, an audience of mostly women tunes in, pressing pause on the routines of singledom, married life and everything in between to envy, sneer, cringe and heckle the 25-year old Texan’s suddenly complicated love life.


JoJo Fletcher, the latest iteration of reality TV’s “Bachelorette”

And even though “The Bachelorette,” in many ways, demonstrates the very worst inclinations of gender politics in the U.S., the show also provides a continually updated cheat sheet to American attitudes on relationships, while also endowing supreme power on a woman, her taste and her pleasure.