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Why This Season Of ‘The Bachelor’ Is The Most Problematic So Far

Last night's episode was hard to watch for all the wrong reasons
romy cat alisha

This season of The Bachelor had all the potential to be the best Australia has seen yet. From securing former Wallabies winger Nick ‘Honey Badger’ Cummins to be the lead man – simultaneously tapping into a fan base that otherwise wouldn’t watch the show – to finally including a more diverse range of contestants, including having proud Aboriginal woman and youth worker, Brooke Blurton, as one of the frontrunners. 

But as the weeks have gone by, a problematic theme has come to override pretty much every other aspect of the show – yes, even that of finding love. The bullying done by three women in the house has gone so far that tonight, we saw a woman leave the house in tears to escape it.

Contestants Romy Poulier, Cat Hennessey and Alisha Radburn were singled out as the ‘villains’ of the series early on, but watching tonight’s episode, it’s evident that their behaviour is far more serious than a few snide comments here and there for added drama. 

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Having a villain on The Bachelor has become as ingrained in the show as the rose ceremony: There was Laurina Fleure on Blake Garvey’s season, Keira Maguire on Richie Strahan’s season and Jen Hawke on Matty J’s season.

But this year, we’ve seen something different: a group of three bullies, who use manipulation tactics such as gaslighting and whose behaviour, according to contestant Vanessa Sunshine, is even worse off-screen than on.

“What you’re seeing is not even half of what went down,” Vanessa told marie claire. “They really are like that.”

“Cat, Romy and Alisha get their self-worth and self-validation by belittling, degrading and bullying other people and at the end of the day, it’s bullying.”

Last night, we saw a young woman sobbing into producers arms because of the relentless bullying she faced in the Bachelor mansion. Furthermore, we saw those producers use the opportunity to put cameras and a microphone in her face, rather than assessing the situation as one that could be seriously damaging to her mental health.

Seven episodes is enough, it’s time to stop normalising this behaviour, promoting the perpetrators on TV, and giving it any name other than bullying.

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