Some fans say ‘The Bachelor’ franchise has an ‘anti-fat gripe’

A new campaign is calling for size inclusion in Bachelor Nation.  (Photo: Getty Images)

A new campaign is calling for size inclusion in Bachelor Nation. (Photo: Getty Images)

His fans The bachelor The franchise returns season after season to watch men and women fall in love. But some are put off by what they see as the franchise’s “absolutely dismal track record of casting people with different body types.”

Now, those fans want to have a wider conversation about fat inclusion in the series, demanding change with an advocacy campaign called Roses for Every Body.

“In 20 years, 44 seasons, 1,100+ contestants, only 2 viewers out of The bachelor franchise,” Roses for Every Body posted on Instagram. “And they went home one night.”

“Reality television is one of the most accessible forms of entertainment media. The bachelor has a huge and diverse audience, and therefore a huge impact on American culture. In the last 20 years, [its] The message about the bodies was that thinness is a prerequisite for giving you a chance at love. That message needs to change,” the group tells Yahoo Life via email.

Roses for Every Body was inspired by the Bachelor Diversity Campaign’s work that began in the summer of 2020, which shed light on the lack of racial diversity seen throughout the franchise. After seeing some positive change by coming together to highlight the issue, Roses for Every Body addresses another area of ​​concern regarding the exclusive body standards the show seems to normalize.

Neither ABC nor Warner Bros, which produces the series, responded to Yahoo Life’s requests for comment.

While some members of the new collective come from the Bachelor Diversity Campaign, others with the same inclusive mission have joined to work on the latest campaign, which launched on July 11. And while this isn’t the first time the lack of a body joining Bachelor Nation has been addressed, the team hopes the campaign is the most effective method of creating change.

“This isn’t a new conversation in Bachelor Nation, not in the slightest. But often the conversation dies down after a while when everyone collectively realizes that it would take something big to push the franchise toward inclusion,” the team explains. “We hope this multifaceted campaign will give those in the public who want change a place to make their voices heard as a collective. We believe that when enough people gather in one place and make loud enough noise, change can happen.”

The members of Roses for Every Body feel strongly about making their questions clear, which they have done with a specific list of five requirements, including casting “at least 5 fat, different contestants each season” and choosing powers “that make it clear that their attracted to fat people.”

Other issues include “equal screen time”, “mental health support” and “fat inclusion training” for staff, all of which they say are vital to making real progress.

“We didn’t want to only ask for fat contestants and then have the show witness, dehumanize and possibly traumatize those fat people by putting them on TV without considering how fat people are often treated in the media.” says the team. “That’s something to consider when representing any marginalized group. We hope the requirements we’ve put in place give the franchise a solid place to start, as well as guidance on how to deal with thick representation.”

While the conversation surrounding mental health has already gained momentum among members of Bachelor Nation, Roses for Every Body explains that appropriate resources are especially important for contestants who are more sensitive to public scrutiny.

“When fat people come out, whether online or on TV, we are so often faced with vitriolic anti-fat harassment. person online,” the team says. “While we believe The Bachelor Audiences are more than ready for body diversity, it’s important for the franchise to support the contestants as they step into the spotlight.”

Individual voices calling for the same progress were previously preceded by a case of body shaming that played out while Matt James Unmarried season that aired in 2021. An episode in the same season that showed all the women choosing dresses from a clothing rack that appeared to offer limited sizes also led viewers to express that there may be a bigger problem.

According to the Roses for Every Body campaign, there have only been two self-proclaimed plus size contestants in the entire franchise. “Bo Stanley, who was in his 19th season The Unmarriedand Bryan Witzmann, who was in his 18th season The Bachelorette”, the group shares. “They were both sent home the first night, with less than a minute of screen time each.”

Stanley, a professional surfer who maintains a platform as a body activist, tells Yahoo Life that she believes labeling people as “fat” or “plus size” is not helpful to the cause. “This further separates us and defines us as a body type,” she says. “I probably see it as a need for inclusion as people. That normalizes all body types without labels. Because that’s normal in the real world, all shapes, sizes, colors and walks of life.”

Witzmann, a former professional football player, however, proudly referred to himself as a “fat” boy when appearing on Michelle Young’s season. He tells Yahoo Life how these body standards affected his experience with the franchise.

“Even though my weight was functional for my position in football, the only reason they pushed me to cast my size was because of the NFL status they like to have on the show. Being the heaviest person ever on the show vs. at least 60 pounds, I think that had to do with the lack of opportunity to experience The Bachelorette and the least screen time of any contestant? I would say 100% yes,” she explains.

While Witzmann and Stanley have different opinions about their experiences, the team says the almost non-existent airtime they were given on the show makes something clear to viewers.

“The message being sent about which bodies deserve love. By excluding fat people for two decades, the franchise has made it clear that they believe only thin bodies are worthy,” they say. “While fat people ultimately bear the brunt of this message, it hurts everyone.”

The chat has also been implemented into other reality dating shows such as Island of Love and Love is blind.

Love is blind Host Vanessa Lachey recently came under fire for her response to the lack of diversity on the Netflix show. During an interview with Knowledgeableshared that she believes the lack of plus-size contestants Love is blind it has to do with a level of insecurity on their part.

“All their lives they’ve been so insecure about being themselves because of this crazy generation we’re in and this catfish we’re in that they’re so afraid to be themselves,” Lachey said, adding that Netflix gives all candidates a “fair shot” in the casting process, although it has no involvement. “I wonder if they really don’t have enough time in these two weeks to find themselves, Ah, and then be themselves to then find that husband.”

In 2014, then-Unmarried Host Chris Harrison was similarly questioned about having a “chubby” lead on the show. “That’s not attractive and TV is a very visual medium,” he said New York Times magazine.

And while the general consensus on fat representation has seemingly shifted, the people behind Roses for Every Body acknowledge their ongoing struggle to get public support from cast members past and present The Unmarried franchises.

“We are grateful for every signature on our petition, however it was disappointing to see so many contestants show no form of support,” they say. However, the group took to Instagram to share the few who signed the petition, including former Bachelorette Katie Thurston.

“Body inclusion on the show benefits everyone in Bachelor Nation,” shares Roses for Every Body. “The bachelor is still one of the most popular dating shows on television, they have the opportunity to lead in size-inclusive casting.”

They add, “We’re not asking for perfection, we’re asking for progress.”

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