Welcome welcome welcome and helloooooooooooooooooo to all our readers, watchers, and hopefully [really crossing our fingers here], Hugh Jackman.
If you’re here by accident and don’t know what this is all about, we’re working to examine and call out our culture of relationships that we see under a microscope in the petri dish that is Bachelor Nation. By examining our media and culture, we can work together to build healthier relationships for ourselves and future generations. Check out our weekly Facebook Live video (catch up by watching old videos on our Youtube channel!) to hear all our thoughts and let us know what you’re thinking about this week! Don’t forget, you can always follow along with us on Twitter too! (@Safe_PassageDV)
If you missed this week’s rant, you can always catch our full thoughts on Youtube:
This was our first full-week with Tayshia as our full-time bachelorette and it really felt like we were back on familiar territory: toxic masculinity, fragile egos, and tattling that someone isn’t “here for the right reasons”. Oh Bachelor, how we’ve missed you.
This week’s episode was sponsored by the phrases “Grown Ass Man” and “Smokeshow”. We had a themed group date with Bachelor alums Ashley I and Jared. The contestants demonstrated their maturity and relationship-readiness by being able to answer basic math and spelling questions, winning tug-of-war contests, and cooking an edible breakfast-in-bed. You know you’ve found the one when they can cook turkey bacon AND spell limousine correctly.
We also had a rose ceremony where several guys who I still don’t know went home and a second group date where guys were literally oiled up and made to fight. Also Noah shaved his mustache. Welcome, baby-face Noah.
The theme of this episode, just like the theme of the show, and the theme of history was Toxic Masculinity.
Everything, from Chasen’s weird identification with Wolverine to Chasen only being able to describe Tayshia by adjectives that focused on her appearance to Chasen picking a fight with Ed over his chicken legs was 100% wrapped up in our social norms around how we expect men and boys to behave and the unfair boxes we force men and mascs into.
Also…to be completely fair to Chasen, he was NOT the only offender. I don’t know if we have time to list all the different ways we saw toxic masculinity play out, but let’s give it a shot.
- Dates that LITERALLY forced the men to fight over a woman. [men are aggressive and women are a prize to be won]
- Praising Ed for taking care of the fake baby. [women are parents, men are “babysitters”]
- Ed playing the “savior” to Tayshia by telling her about Chasen being there for the “wrong reasons”. [women can’t take care of themselves…we need a man to save us.]
- Chasen responding to the drama by making fun of Ed’s “chicken legs”. [the most important thing about a man is how strong he is]
- The passive guy who waits patiently (Ben) loses time with Tayshia. [nice guys finish last]
- Chasen announcing that he’s found a new way to describe Tayshia that’s different from Clare: smokeshow. [the most important attribute for women is appearance]
- The guys are mad at Noah for coming on the group date and “stealing” their time with Tayshia. [a man is always in charge; this is noah’s fault, not tayshia’s decision]
- Chasen tries to apologize; Ed refuses to let him. [men don’t solve problems with their words; they have to battle over who is billy big bollocks]
- THE PRODUCERS LITERALLY MAKE THEM OIL UP AND FIGHT AGAIN. And they SPECIFICALLY choose to pair Ed and Chasen. [competition is normal, aggression is normal, violence = passion = love]
These ideas are SO unhealthy because they create a one-dimensional idea of what men can be. They box men into this notion that they have to be hyper-aggressive and hyper-competitive. They box men OUT OF the ability to be vulnerable, intelligent, compassionate, and empathetic. They box women out of being strong, independent, and leadership-material. And they absolutely box out anyone who doesn’t fall within a gender binary. (To our trans, GNC, and enby fam…we see you. Your experience is real, you are valid, you deserve protection and safety.)
Men can be athletes. Men can be leaders. Men can be tough and strong. Men can love sports. But men can also be kind and gentle. Men can love gardening. Men can be passionate about cooking and poetry. There is not one way to be a man. But when society (and the Bachelor producers) only show us one type of man, we’re not giving our young men or any of our young people, the role models and examples they need to grow up to be healthy adults with healthy relationships. We are knee-capping the skills they will need the most to be safe, nonviolent partners.
Boys deserve better. Men deserve better. Girls deserve better. We ALL deserve better. Abusers are born that way. They learn abusive behavior from a society that doesn’t show a value for empathy, friendship, and consent. If we want to build a better world, we have to start by showing that a better world is possible. We believe it is. ABC, we’re waiting on you.
See you next week.