Dwelling on injustices, bad behaviour and modern day dilemmas.

Shelley Bridgeman: Why you should boycott The Bachelor NZ

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Zac Franich is the third man to step up to The Bachelor NZ plate. Photo / Supplied
Zac Franich is the third man to step up to The Bachelor NZ plate. Photo / Supplied

It has to be said: Three is officially messing with my head. I'd thought our relationship was trucking along quite pleasantly but now I'm beginning to question whether what we had in the first place was real. We'd spent some time together. We'd shared a few laughs. Was our connection all an illusion?

You see, this particular television network has not treated me well recently. Never mind reports that after twenty-four years of service, broadcaster John Campbell's farewell gift was a "s****y" bunch of flowers, I've suffered, too, at the hands of this network. Paul Henry's breakfast show ended yet still I managed to drag myself out of bed each weekday morning; I endured the loss silently and with stoicism.

And, when Three introduced a logo that looked like something a cartoon typewriter might produce if it vomited, I didn't bat an eyelid - even when management claimed it was "vibrant, playful and inspiring".

But perhaps my lowest moment was about a year ago when the-network-previously-known-as-TV3 chose to run another season of The Bachelor NZ rather than The Bachelorette NZ.

I'd really hoped for the latter option, which would have evened up the score a little with 20-odd men enduring the indignities associated with publically vying for the affection of one woman.

Rather than take the network to task over this continued sexism, instead I created a little diversion by listing five things women do in real life that pervert the feminist cause. I wonder now if I was suffering from a form of Stockholm Syndrome. The-network-previously-known-as-TV3 had offended my sensibilities yet I tried to protect it.

Columnist Lizzie Marvelly, however, was far less forgiving. She worried about the impact of the reality show on "young men who are shown that they need to spend ridiculous amounts of money wooing a woman who will then acquiesce to their every directive, and the young women who are told that no matter what they achieve, they'll never be complete until they find a man."

Marvelly also wrote: "I find few things more torturous than watching The Bachelor ... The very premise makes my heart hurt ... I despair that 23 Kiwi women felt the need to participate in a contrived public popularity contest."

Reading between the lines, I don't think she was a fan.

For the uninitiated, here's how the franchise works: Twenty-odd women compete for the attention and affection of whoever happens to be "The Bachelor". This year it's a man called Zac. Throughout the course of the season, the women will wait longingly in the "mansion" for the privilege of being selected to go on a date with Zac. A "single date" would be ideal but even a "group date" will do.

Because, if these "girls" don't have enough time "to connect" with Zac they might pay the ultimate price at the rose ceremony. At the end of each episode, the bachelor must hand out an individual long-stemmed rose to each woman. But there's a catch. There's always one rose too few. So one woman misses out and must go home. It's all pretty undignified stuff which is why it's important to reverse the genders occasionally just to ensure a bunch of men get the opportunity to look desperate, demeaned and discarded in front of an all-powerful woman.

But the disappointing truth is that there is no upcoming series entitled The Bachelorette NZ. As I wrote a year ago: "Different year. Different bachelor. Different set of women. Same old disempowering messages being broadcast to impressionable minds across the nation."

A third season of The Bachelor NZ is set to be broadcast. The ship has sailed. The horse has bolted. So now it's up to the audience and the advertisers to show their disapproval. Potential viewers can do this by simply not watching it. Brands and retailers can do this by specifying that their television commercials do not appear during episodes of The Bachelor NZ.

And finally, when the season has concluded, opinion writers, especially those who dwell "on injustices, bad behaviour and modern day dilemmas", may need to examine the advertisers (and any embedded sponsors) and consider why they might have chosen to support a misogynistic reality show that reinforces harmful gender stereotypes. Sorry, Three, there's no rose for you this week.

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Dwelling on injustices, bad behaviour and modern day dilemmas.

Shelley Bridgeman is a truck-driving, supermarket-going, horse-riding mother-of-one who is still married to her first husband. As a Herald online blogger, she specialises in First World Problems and delves fearlessly into the minutiae of daily life. Twice a week, she shares her perspective on a pressing current issue and invites readers to add their ten cents’ worth to the debate.

Read more by Shelley Bridgeman

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