“The Bachelor” is the WNBA of Bachelor Nation. Watching a bunch of women play the game just isn’t as good as watching men do it.
Now before you accuse me of misogyny and whatnot, understand I’m not saying men themselves are better than women, just that they fight better, and thus “The Bachelorette” is way more fun to watch than “The Bachelor.” Monday night’s fracas between a pair of this season’s divas is illustrative.
We picked up this week with Jessenia and MJ facing off on opposite couches, waiting to make their case to bachelor Matt James after MJ caused quite the nasty stir in the house and equally petty Jessenia tattled to Matt about it.
“Y’all want to see me fight? Get your popcorn,” said MJ in a talking head. But the ensuing fight was nearly unwatchable, complete with eye-rolling, performative vocal inflection, petty chuckles, and repeated arguments yelled over each other. Things only got worse as the catfight intensified.
“For Jessenia to say that I’m a liar and for her to put my relationship in jeopardy — that is so shady,” said MJ. “This is horrible. I’m trying to, like, keep it together right now because this girl is trying to tear me apart,” continued the mean girl. “She shouldn’t have said my f-cking name. I can’t stand her. She’s just such a little b-tch.”
But just after her mental breakdown, MJ bounced back with a snarky vengeance, saying to the camera: “Hold on, I gotta fluff my hair. I forgot who I am for a second. I had a weak b-tch moment, but I’m back.”
Long story short, MJ pled her case to Matt, who didn’t quite buy it and sent her home, and Jessenia’s devilish smirk as her rival was eliminated confirmed she’s equally toxic. The bottom line is that both girls are horrible, and their “fight” was insufferable. I’m all for reality TV drama, but there’s only so much catfighting one can take before it’s time to analyze why it’s so much more becoming when men brawl than when women do.
We Like It When Men Fight
For those who get confused about the ins and outs of the franchise, “The Bachelorette” features one woman weeding through a horde of eligible men to find a suitable mate, while in “The Bachelor,” a house full of females vie for one man’s attention. Although there are ample tears in both shows, one of them comprises mostly testosterone and rugged competition while the other is made up of lots of estrogen and petty squabbles. Bet you can’t guess which one is more fun to watch.
It’s safe to say that no matter how petty “The Bachelorette” gets, the fights among the contestants truly separate the men from the boys in a way that keeps viewers cheering for the superior suitor rather than hoping both sides of an emotionally unstable feud will be sent home.
This isn’t a dig at human emotion, nor a comment on comparative intellect. Both shows include emotional outbursts and people who have white-collar jobs, blue-collar jobs, and who don’t work at all (I’m looking at you, Victoria, the “queen”). It’s just that I’d rather watch boyband manager Kenny rip into one of his bros or Noah jump a fence to physically fight the other men on a wrestling group date than to watch copywriter Anna spread nasty rumors about one of her housemates being an escort.
Part of maturity for all human beings, men and women, is learning how to defend oneself and to handle conflict and confrontation head-on, including being willing to duke it out when necessary. But there’s something about men fighting as they pursue their would-be wife that just doesn’t translate when women go claws-out, tearing each other down in search of a husband — it’s ugly, and although devoted Bachelor Nation fans watch it, it’s unattractive.
Contrary to feminists’ “toxic masculinity” narrative, masculinity includes, among other things, an impulse to fight — and while some immature men don’t have that impulse under control, fighting is in men’s nature as the physically stronger of the sexes and the natural protectors. It’s attractive. It’s hot. And it’s something most women value in a partner for good reason.
After all, fighting isn’t always about asserting dominance. It’s often about righting wrongs. Consider this fight from last season’s “Men Tell All,” in which all the men came swinging for season villain Yosef after he disrespected bachelorette Clare:
That’s Not What We Get on ‘The Bachelor’
The same is not true for combative females. Having a strong will or a commanding presence, traits many men desire in a partner, aren’t the same as being belligerent. Women picking fights — criticizing each other for wearing too much makeup, starting drama as a snippy narcissist, and dueling with pageant queens — ultimately result in disillusionment from the men they seek to impress, as MJ and other girls this season have shown.
This isn’t to say there aren’t exceptions to the rule. This season’s contestant Katie, who sadly was sent home on her one-on-one date Monday night, has demonstrated over and over her ability to fight clean.
When mean girls continually stirred up drama in the house, Katie went at them alone several times, standing up for the truly victimized girls without backing down. On the flip side, Bennett’s confrontation with Noah on the last season of “The Bachelorette,” in which the former presented the latter with a book on emotional intelligence, was a more childish skirmish than anything we’ve seen from the women in a while.
For all the squabbles throughout the endless seasons of the franchise, however, history has been kindest to the women who kept their hands clean and the men who fought without devolving into narcissism. But dating competitions result in fights — it’s the rule — and that means “The Bachelorette,” with all its manly brawls, is the better of the shows.