I’m going to try to recap the actual finale of The Bachelor before I descend into my rage spiral about the decision to have two Bachelorettes. Thankfully I wrote half of my recap during “After The Final Rose” before the big announcement, back when I had faith in society and was not shuddering with rage.
So The Bachelor ended without much drama, all things considered. Chris chose Whitney, she of the baby voice and refreshing maturity. Whitney could say what Becca couldn’t: that she was in love with Chris beyond any doubt, and she wanted to move to Iowa. While Becca admitted with far too much intelligence for this reality show that she just wasn’t where she was supposed to be in the process, stuck in the weird pre-love limbo that comes from only dating someone for two months, Whitney was like let’s do this, bro.
On a side note, I really feel for Becca. This was the first episode I understood her personality: she had a wonderful, dry wit when she met Chris’s family, and I can see her appeal. “Oh, so on weekends we’ll go to the Post Office,” she joked, referring to the ghost town that is Arlington, Iowa. I laughed. It was a great moment of condescending, bitchy put-down humor that I find very charming.
And beyond that, Becca’s struggle this episode was relatable. Here was a young woman—who had never been in a serious relationship before—looking at a guy who was perfect and finding herself full of doubt. Chris Harrison was so damn rude about Becca’s admission that she’d never been in love before, but the more power to her for not pretending to feel something she didn’t. There are many ways to love someone, and there are many ways someone can matter to you other than a ~trip down the aisle~ romance. Why should she uproot her life when she wasn’t sure, just so she didn’t lose? You go, Becca. You have all of my respect and support. And I realize being aromantic isn’t a thing the Bachelor franchise would understand, but honey, if you don’t feel that way for people at all, that’s cool too. Be true to who you are, whoever that may be.
Anyway, as I wrote a few weeks ago, I found out Whitney was the winner early. I’m sort of glad I was spoiled—I was able to enjoy the crazy antics of Ashley I. and Britt without much fear that Chris would choose one of the flakes. Whitney is a perfect match for Chris. Where he is unable to formulate full sentences, she answers Harrison’s invasive questions with the evasive swiftness of a politician. Where Chris cannot make up his god damn mind, Whit is decisive and full of smiles. Who will wear the pants in their relationship? She will. Make no mistake—Whitney might want to make a bunch of babies and be a farmer’s wife, but she is no one’s wet blanket, throwback housewife. She shook like a leaf as he proposed, but her vulnerability is just one of her many strengths. Chris absolutely chose the right woman, and I have more faith in their marriage than I have in any recent franchise couple.
The only other woman I would have rooted for was Kaitlyn, the wise cracking queen of class with trendy, hard-ass emotional walls up. Watching her get dumped in the middle of a rose ceremony was hard but not unexpected, and I’m just as happy that Whitney won as I am that Kaitlyn didn’t make it to the final two. If she had, she wouldn’t be where she is now: the next Bachelorette.
But she’s not alone. Because there are going to be two Bachelorettes: her and Britt.
Excuse me while I vomit everywhere.
That’s right: the next season of The Bachelorette will feature two ladies. We don’t know much about how this will work, but on night one, 25 men will show up in limos and they will get to choose who would be the best wife. That’s right. The empowering, badass half of the franchise where one woman gets to have her pick of 25 men has been turned into a weird fucking competition between the women. It’s an opportunity for weird conservative values based on femininity and perceived virtue—the best wife?!—to take center stage, but most likely it’ll also descend into a weird popularity contest. I can see no version of this where it doesn’t get bitchy, if not between the women than between the two teams supporting them.
Just to clarify, I don’t think it’s sexist to dislike either of the women. I vehemently dislike Britt because I think she’s overdramatic, petty, and lacks self-awareness. Sharleen Joynt, majestic opera singer of Juan Pablo’s season, does a great job outlining Britt’s drawbacks in her recap of the “Women Tell All.” But I do think it’s sexist, deeply sexist, to bait women into hating each other, and to bait the audience into hating them. Even if Kaitlyn and Britt stay above the fray, their fans won’t. It’s already happening online. By saying I’m #TeamKaitlyn, I’m already a part of it. I’m part of the fucking problem. All I wanted was the chance to objectify 25 men as a badass woman took control of the process for a mere ten weeks, and instead we get this.
I’m livid. And I’m pretty sure Kaitlyn is to. When asked what she thought of the arrangement, she said, “Well that’s not ideal… nothing against [Britt], that’s not really what I pictured, but if that’s what it takes to find somebody…” You go, passive aggressive Kaitlyn. She was the overwhelming favorite to be the new Bachelorette, and this decision reeks of ratings desperation and publicity scamming. Fuck you, Bachelor Nation. YOU DO NOT DESERVE KAITLYN. YOU DO NOT DESERRRRRVE HER.
Plot twist: Chris Harrison and the producers aren’t here for the right reasons.
For the record, apparently this whole tag team approach has happened before during season 6 of The Bachelor. I had to reference Reality Steve on this one because I’m pretty sure I was still learning how to read when that season aired, but the women were given different colored roses and got to vote on who should stay. The man with fewer roses went home at the end of the first night, and the winner ascended to his proper place as the actual Bachelor. But look, this is one of those moments where a plot-twist like that doesn’t have the same meaning when you gender-swap it. The female competition aspect of the series has been problematic as hell from the get-go. And Britt is, to be honest, the pretty, disingenuous cheerleader we all resented in high school. She had a fucking meltdown when she lost her proverbial prom queen crown to Kaitlyn on a group date. But she’s hot as fuck, so… excuse me if I don’t have much faith in the judgment of the men the series will cast.
At least Twitter seems just as upset as I am. Even Bachelor couple Sean and Catherine Lowe are WTF-ing up a storm. Sean quotes his wife as calling it “disgusting.” That’s a big deal, considering the Lowes are the sanest of the recent couples, and arguably the most successful.
I don’t know, guys. That’s a bad note to end a recap series on, but I honestly don’t know. I’m angry, and I’m nervous, and I kind of want to eat my feelings and go to bed. Watching Andi’s season of The Bachelorette was incredibly rewarding, and feminist in its own ways. Andi ran that show, and she wrote her own story, and she chose her man (bummer it didn’t work out, but still). I was really looking forward to seeing Kaitlyn shine the same way. Hopefully she winds up acing that first night and taking center stage the way she deserves.
Congratulations to the happy couple, thank you all for reading, and I guess I’ll see you May 18th because I have no self-control. I enjoyed writing these recaps too damn much not to give it another round, and I suspect Bachelor Nation needs me in this time of sexist shitshowing. Yes, I just made shitshowing a verb.
Thanks for an amazing season, and as always you can find me on twitter @brosandprose, ranting about my feelings and assembling IKEA furniture.