New Criticals

Imperative to this discussion of the stereotypes BIP perpetuates is the fact that in order to get on the show one must have already gone through the arduous, humiliating, and highly edited experience of The Bachelor or Bachelorette. What is more interesting than the stereotypes BIP perpetuates is the fact that each of these contestants participated knowing how they would be portrayed. A new question to investigate in future research is: why might they be willing to participate in the manufacturing and legitimation of gendered stereotypes and double standards?

This question necessitates empirical research, so I do not have any answers, but will share my speculations. While reality television perpetuates outdated stereotypes, it also perpetuates the ideology of a democratic society. What I mean by this is that democratic society purports a cultural narrative based on the idea that people are equal, have agency, and are afforded the same opportunities to obtain anything in life. This holds individuals wholly responsible for their circumstances and generates the idea that a place above the herd is not only desirable, but also achievable if you just try. Achievement of social relevancy above the herd is not based on talent or innovation anymore, as scholars have shown (see Turner, 2006; Gamson, 2011; Rojek, 2012). Instead it is based on fame, of any kind, or what Rojek (2012) would call people’s impudent ordinariness. Reality television is simply an easy way to gain the desired social relevancy that places one slightly above their peers. Therefore, my oversimplified answer to the above question is that they do it for fame.