From our friends at Hey, Pumpkin:
Once upon a time, I auditioned to be on The Bachelor. I wish I were joking, but I’m not. I was 22 years old, fresh out of college, and thought it would be a “fun experience.”
While it did give me something to talk to people about at parties and dinners, it actually ruined my relationship with my body for a long time. OK, let me explain.
I’ve never been the skinniest, prettiest, or tanist (let’s be honest, I’ve never been tan) woman in any room, but prior to my Bachelor audition, I felt good about the way I looked. I was confident and didn’t compare myself to those around me.
At the time I was a size 10/12, a very normal, very healthy size for any woman. I wasn’t looking to lose weight or change my hair color or even put on any self-tanner. I felt good about the way I looked.
However, the second I jumped in that Bachelor line, I began picking apart every single inch of my body. I was not only surrounded by the most beautiful women I had ever seen in my life, but I was subconsciously being told that in order to be worthy of finding love on TV (which yes, is incredibly silly), I had to be a size two, with movie star hair, and a million-watt smile. (And don’t even get me started on The Bachelor franchise’s glaring race problems. That’s a story for another day.)
I spent the entire time evaluating myself against the women around me and left feeling terrible about the way I looked.
Following the audition, I spent the next week or so continually evaluating myself in the mirror. Why did my thighs have to touch when I walked? How come that pair of jeans I just bought wouldn’t button? My body was all I could think about.
And the crazy thing is, I knew I was healthy! I knew, deep down, that there was absolutely nothing wrong with the way I looked. But I just couldn’t quiet the negative voices in my head.
Not to mention, I was also frustrated with myself for being so affected by a silly audition, “It’s just The Bachelor,” I tried to tell myself, “of course they only cast a certain type of woman! Don’t be so sensitive.” But I couldn’t help it, I was affected by it. And I felt this way for months. When the season of The Bachelor that I auditioned for finally aired, those feelings came rushing back.
While I love watching The Bachelor as much as the next person, they’ve really never made any effort to cast women (or men) of differing sizes. In fact, in all my years of watching this show, they’ve probably only cast one or two women who were more than a size four.
What is that telling the young women who watch this show? What kind of message is it sending that in order to find love you have to be thin and have model-worthy looks?
As a society, we’ve made major strides to improve body diversity in our media. We tell young women to “love themselves” no matter their size, but how can we expect them to do that when they aren’t seeing their size on TV?
It’s been a few years since my Bachelor audition and I’m happy to say I’ve overcome my confidence issues. I feel better now than I’ve ever felt and I don’t spend my time comparing myself to reality stars. But, that’s not to say other women aren’t struggling.
If The Bachelor and these other reality shows want to get with the times, they also need to take a look at the number of people they’re neglecting through their casting choices. They’re essentially saying everyone over a size four (which is a majority of the population, by the way) doesn’t deserve to be seen on TV. Sure, it may just be a silly reality show to a lot of people, but these shows have the power to affect people.
So to the Bachelor producers, if you’re looking for a fun, adventurous woman to be on your next season, I’m ready and waiting.