This season of “The Bachelor” has been quite a journey. Quite a miserable, pathetic journey.
After Hannah Brown’s ridiculous run as “The Bachelorette,” it was time for a reboot. In keeping with the rest of her foolish choices during her season, Hannah passed over attractive and kind Peter Weber and settled for shady, unemployed Jed Wyatt. So we were looking forward to takeoff with heartbroken pilot Weber this season.
It kicked off in the predictably horrible yet captivating way it always does, with awkward first encounters, irrational tears, and wildly premature making out. But thanks to the wily producers, we were immediately and repeatedly far too distracted by Hannah’s presence and our distaste for her to be bothered by the bachelor himself.
It didn’t take long, however, for Peter’s insufferable personality to become the focal point of every episode. The boy apologized more than he delivered, always effortlessly swept into some drama or manipulation without the slightest exercise of discipline, sound judgment, or long-term thinking.
The cycle became infuriatingly predictable: flit around with the women, engage in their drama, fall for their manipulative drivel, cave to the pressure, make a terrible choice, cry, offer meaningless apology, repeat. We watched it week after week.
Oh, the Drama
The standout example of this sequence involved what became known as “the Alayah drama.” Alayah Benavidez was particularly unbearable, and the other girls in the house couldn’t stand her personality, calling her inauthentic and theatrical in her flirtatious encounters with Peter. Earlier this season, the women approached Peter in turn, each using their one-on-one time with him to gossip about Alayah’s horrors. Of course, these revelations confounded poor Peter, who felt such a strong connection with the pageant queen.
Shockingly, weak-willed Peter caved, sending Alayah home. But of course, that wasn’t the end of the Alayah drama. After bowing to peer pressure from the rest of the women, Peter then capitulated to pressure from Alayah herself, swept up in emotion and feelings. He let her return to the show and even gave her a rose on the group date — a football game — of which she wasn’t even a part. It was entertainment whiplash.
“Can I say something really quick?” said Deandra, one of the girls on the date, in front of the rest of the remaining women after Peter brought Alayah back on. “I’m sorry, Peter, but I’ve never felt so under-recognized by somebody. And for us … who busted our -ss out there on the football field and literally have the physical bruises to show, and then for you to come to the cocktail party and ignore us, half of us, who didn’t get time, and then walk in hand-in-hand with Alayah, it was like the biggest slap in the face. Like, I couldn’t even look at you.”
“I haven’t gotten time to tell you why Sydney is the way that she is,” Sydney said of her lack of time with Peter. “You don’t know what my middle name is. You don’t know what I do at home. You don’t know why I am the way I am. You don’t know anything about me, and it’s like, we can’t even get there because we’re dealing with Alayah [i.e., Peter’s terrible decisions] 24/7.”
“I feel like I’m messing up right now so bad,” Peter said, after his re-embrace of Alayah unsurprisingly ticked off the other girls. “This is just backfiring like no other — just back in my face.” Yeah, well, bad choices tend to do that, Peter.
That wasn’t the first time Peter screwed over the other women. Add it to the growing list, along with inviting Brown back onto the show, encouraging Victoria Fuller’s emotional instability, and, of course, sleeping with two other girls during Fantasy Suite week when the top-notch contender, Madison Prewett, whom he said he was in love with, specifically told him not to (We’re choosing to ignore the ridiculousness of basically telling the man who’s about to propose to you, “Yes, please don’t have sex with anyone else tonight”… and somehow be misunderstood? Unreal.).
“He knew that there was a chance he could lose me if he made certain decisions, and he made them anyway,” Madison said after learning Peter had been intimate with the other women.
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. Say something,” Peter begged her. “If you can honestly see you and me together forever, do not walk away. Please don’t. I know that I’ve hurt you, and I’m sorry for that. But please don’t walk away from this.”
And on and on it went. Despite countless opportunities to make the right choice and redeem himself, Peter flopped.
Toxic Femininity Created Peter Weber
Women love watching “The Bachelor” sometimes for the drama, but also for the bachelor himself and the love story that eventually unfolds. Notwithstanding the unpalatable nature of one man dating dozens of women at the same time, there’s something exciting and beautiful about seeing one woman stand apart from the rest and watching a man face the reality of giving up a large quantity of something he wants now to fight for and win one woman he will (hopefully) spend the rest of his life with. Sexualization and celebrity aside, that’s the essence of sacrifice and the trajectory of manhood and marriage — giving up something now for something better and more whole later.
Peter, in refusing to rise to the occasion, proved he is the man-child no woman needs.
But there’s really more to it than that. Peter’s downfall is more than his moral ineptitude. It’s his weakness as a man. The more I watched this season, the more I realized the things most infuriating about Peter are precisely the ways in which toxic femininity has emasculated Western men. Despite the lies of feminism, masculinity isn’t toxic. It’s sexy.
Brute feminism, with all its blather about female empowerment and shots at manliness, has created a breed of boys that not only is unappealing to meritorious women but actively harms them.
For instance, emotional intelligence is crucial to manhood, but feminists are oh so wrong about the role of men’s emotions. Real men cry when apropos but instinctively and necessarily assume the role of emotional stabilizer for the women they love, discerning and dispensing appropriate empathy for her sadness while maintaining a level of decisiveness outside the realm of feeling.
If Peter were a real man, he never would have allowed Hannah or Alayah to manipulate his emotions with their tears. Peter folding didn’t empower those women — it merely stripped the other women of all their power.
Real men also feel things deeply and passionately — and then make decisions in spite of the overwhelming urges to gratify instantly. I’m sure Hannah Ann and Peter felt pretty great in the Fantasy Suite, but where did Peter’s lack of self-control leave Madison? Again, far short of empowered.
What women need are real men — not a stereotype manifested in volatile violence or backwoods, lumberjack strength, but the ability to be decisive. The feminist idea of toxic masculinity has confused men into thinking women want weak-willed, easily-swayed, emotion-driven men. We don’t. We want men with spines who follow through on what they say they will do, regardless of pressure from outside forces, however emotional, strong, and manipulative those forces may be.
“I kinda switched back and forth, and I just was doing my best and trying to follow my heart,” Peter said after one of his many faux pas.
A note to Peter and any other aspiring non-man-children: Don’t “kinda” do anything, especially “switching,” and certainly don’t “follow your heart.” Decide what’s right, and do it fully, regardless of how you feel — like a real man, not like Peter Weber.