I’ve never been a big fan of The Bachelor, or the Bachelorette for that matter. However, this season I’ve been sucked in to watching because of others in my household who insist on seeing every episode of this trainwreck.
Every time I see the promos for this show, I wonder about the people who go on this really thinking that they’re going to find the love of their life and then put all this emotional investment into it. Some of the behavior, from the machismo of the men to the crying, catty, and crazy women, I can’t see why anyone would want to subject themselves to this on national television. That said…
Juan Pablo is our Bachelor this year. JP is American-born (Ithaca, NY), who was moved to Venezuela when he was 2 years old. He is 32 years old, and is the first minority person to be The Bachelor. He spent time in the US in college, played professional soccer in Venezuela and in Miami, and later became involved in the music and club scene in Miami. He has a young daughter by former girlfriend and Venezuelan actor Carla Rodriguez.
On the most recent episode, JP spent time with Clare during a one-on-one date in Vietnam. Clare had such a good time that she decided to go to JP’s hotel suite at 4am to “thank” him for the day. They swam in the warm ocean waters that night, and evidently had sexytimes at some point that night. Clare was over the moon excited the next day, until JP sat down with her and told her how much he regretted what happened the night before.
He started out saying that he felt it was a mistake, that it was unfair to the others, that they shouldn’t have done that. Clare began to object, and JP changed his strategy. He told Clare that his daughter was going to see this, and it wasn’t good for her to see Clare acting as she had. He was pretty much saying she’d acted too slutty for a potential mom of his child. Clare was very upset, and took the blame upon herself completely, saying that she never intended to be a poor example and didn’t want to hurt either JP or his daughter.
The internets exploded the next day. JP was taken to task for his slut-shaming actions. After all, we see JP every episode making out with multiple girls, and he seems to have no problem with his daughter seeing that. What we’re really seeing is JP’s value system at work. Let me elaborate…
Men like JP see women in one of two ways, either as the Madonna (saintly mother) or as the Whore (no explanation needed). JP knows the Whore well. He’s been with them all his life- in college, as soccer groupies, in the Miami club scene. These women JP sees as Whores aren’t really Whores at all. They’re simply normal women out having a good time and enjoying their sexuality. After all, JP clearly enjoys his, and no one says that’s bad. So before you go blaming the women, think about the double standard first. More evidence is JP’s treatment of the single moms on the show. He has resisted getting too physically intimate, saying he worries about how their kids will see that. This seems a bit chivalrous now, but later if these women decide to become more sexually aggressive, it might prove to be a problem for his decision making. The host, Chris Harrison, characterizes JP’s style as a “cultural difference”, likely based on his South American upbringing.
You see, JP is looking for the Madonna to be his child’s mother, and to have more children with. He wants someone caring, charitable, giving, saintly, angelic. At the same time, he’s all about who’s sexy, who’s hot, who’s body is best. He wants the Whore too, but only when he’s OK with it, not when they want to bring her out. He wants the control, but he’s not telling them that. I think the women sense this to some extent, as several of them feel some distance, until he pulls them in and reassures them as he loves to do. The show also promotes this power structure, where the women have no power, and Clare, poor Clare, who made the mistake of exerting her own power and independent thought, paid dearly for her choice. I’m betting she doesn’t last two more episodes. I do have to say, Clare is not blameless in this. She didn’t have to go to his room that night, and what she did was unfair to the process as a whole. I know the other women would be upset to learn what she’d done, but we will have to see if that comes to light. To be clear, Clare’s mistake was not in having sex with JP. It was in going up there in the first place when she wasn’t supposed to be there at all.