Rosechasing: Toxicity has taken over this season of ‘The Bachelor’

(Arielle Chen | Daily Trojan)

Two weeks ago, Peter Weber’s season of “The Bachelor” was a complete mess. Now, with just four women remaining, viewers finally have some clarity as we head into hometown dates. Last week, Peter sent home four contestants, Sydney, Tammy, Victoria P. and Mykenna, after their involvement in a highly tense drama which included lots of lying, accusing and denial.

Season 24 of “The Bachelor” has delivered drama in ways that no other season has, but that is by no means a good thing. In my opinion, this season’s toxicity has reached levels that have detracted from the audience’s enjoyment. While the show is meant for audiences to embrace the fantasy romance, this season is exposing the dark side of “The Bachelor” as a reality show pitting women against each other in a harmful way. I would even argue that this negative portrayal of women is degrading and anti-feminist. 

Most recently, Mykenna and Tammy decided to hash it out as Peter began to make some major decisions about who to keep, and they realized their chances of advancing were slim. Their beef began after Tammy accused Mykenna of being overly dramatic and moody and the two engaged in a vicious shouting match that Peter overheard in the next room. 

However, the tension only grew as the two took turns venting their frustrations to Peter, accusing each other of childish behavior and dishonesty. Eventually, Peter sent both women home, which solved the problem but does not detract from the excessive pettiness that both of them showed. 

The women are in no situation to encourage or empower each other. Rather, they are thrown into an uncomfortable, messy spot where their only option is to compete.

Therefore, Mykenna and Tammy’s poisonous behavior should not be surprising by any means because having the women clash and claw is inherently a major part of the show. 

The women all live together, have too much free time, are constantly seen drinking and, most importantly, are all fighting for the same man. It would obviously be difficult to be a woman on the show and have to deal with about 20 other women all dating the same person. In addition, the contestants are forced to commit 100% of their time and effort to the show. They have to leave their jobs, their families and all contact with the outside world just to get their hearts broken on national TV. 

I would imagine that the women feel helpless and that the situation is to some extent out of their control. Because of this, the show breeds a “me-first” mentality that results in toxicity among the women. Every girl wants that next one-on-one date or time alone with Peter, and they are willing to do whatever it takes to get there, with no regard for who they hurt along the way — including themselves. 

Victoria P. was one contestant who hurt both herself and others while on the show. Her situation is a perfect example of how women are degraded and exploited in the name of entertainment.

At first, she earned an early one-on-one date after catching Peter’s attention and becoming a solid frontrunner. However, her demise began after she denied being good friends with contestant Alayah even though there was proof that they had a relationship before the show. 

Victoria P. had few reasons to lie, except for maybe one — to get Alayah eliminated. Victoria P. most likely knew that Alayah was under fire and she was probably smart enough to realize that she had enough sway over Peter to influence his actions and choices. She also may have wanted to separate herself from the drama by distancing herself from Alayah. 

Either way, her actions and words were pointed toward one end goal — to get closer with Peter and have a better chance of winning with one less contestant to compete with. However, her actions backfired, and she ended up ruining her relationship with both Peter and Alayah. Peter ended up having doubts about her integrity and character as a whole, and Alayah probably did not want to be friends with her anymore.

Victoria’s words may ultimately have caused Peter to send Alayah home, but it was also the reason that she got sent home. 

I was honestly surprised that Victoria P. lied in the first place since she did not seem like she would be a villain at first, but that goes to show that “The Bachelor” can bring out the worst in people at inopportune times. 

The fact is that this show takes advantage of women and their emotions because it provides entertainment for America. Audiences want to see the fights and competition, even at the expense of the contestants’ dignity.

Harrison Cho is a sophomore writing about  “The Bachelor” and American pop culture. His column, “Rosechasing,” runs  every other Friday.