Tag Archives: white beauty ideals

The Bachelor/Bachelorette’s White Elephant

By Deputy Editor Thea Lim

Over at Femonomics Coca Colo asks why everyone on the Bachelor and the Bachelorette is white:

The Bachelor and The Bachelorette are two of the whitest shows on television.  Not only is the star always white, but so is the host, and so, by nature of our society’s continued discomfort with interracial dating, are almost all of the suitors.  The all-white star phenomenon then becomes a self-perpetuating cycle, because the newest star is usually picked from one of the nearly rejected contestants, who are all themselves white…

Now, simply choosing a black (or hispanic, or middle eastern, or asian, or south asian, or mixed race) star would certainly not remedy the problem.  In fact, it would likely only highlight it, since naturally ABC would never reverse the formula and stock this cast with all people the same race as the star (that would make The Bachelor a “niche” show, they would say).  Nonetheless, at least we would have taken a small, token step toward inclusiveness.  I know The Bachelor is ridiculous, that the formula of trying to find love in a couple months with 25 strangers is nonsense, and that we have bigger representation problems than television.  You can tell me all that, and yet it still enrages me how white this show is.  So ABC, you’re on notice.

I get Femonomics’ exasperation on this – as a race and pop culture blog, one of Racialicious’ biggest problems actually is poor representations of people of colour on TV.  But the Bachelor/Bachelorette’s myriad problems aside (like the heteronormativity and the bizarre power dynamics), the consequences of a bachelorette/bachelor of colour could equally be heartily positive, or completely negative.  Indulge me in some baseless what-if-ing – colouring the Bachelorette/Bachelor: what could go right (or wrong)?

Let’s imagine a bachelorette/bachelor of colour.  It would be just lovely to see people of colour pursuing love in their own way and taking charge of their sexuality, especially when you consider that people of colour are usually portrayed as asexual (Eddie Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop 1), comically hypersexual (Donna on Parks and Recreation or Long Duk Dong in Sixteen Candles), sexual vessels for someone else’s fantasy (any number of East Asian women playing bit roles in white vehicles), or the perpetual wingperson (any number of black women playing sassy black best friend roles in white vehicles).  It could be our (sexy) time to shine!

Then again, there are just as many things that could go wrong. Imagine if we had, say,  a Korean bachelorette.  I doubt we would make it through a single episode without references to said bachelorette’s exotic beauty and delicate hands.  Or what if we had a bachelor of colour pick a white suitor? We’d have another disastrous portrayal of white beauty being selected over nonwhite.

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