Commodifying Love

After reading the Keywords and Ouellette readings, I could not help but apply the concepts discussed to the reality TV shows that I watch, particularly The Bachelor/Bachelorette. The first thing that came to mind was the idea of classism. Although the Bachelor/Bachelorette contestants come from various backgrounds/fields of employment, in order to be able to come on the show, you must be financially stable enough to pause your life for several months- Not to mention they must deal with expenses that come with the many outfits they must wear on dates and at the infamous Rose Ceremonies. This excludes a huge amount people from even considering this opportunity. Additionally, while reading about commodification, I realized that The Bachelor and the many other relationship related reality TV shows have literally been able to commodify the abstract concept of love. The men and women who participate on these shows may genuinely want to find love, but that very journey to find love is what makes people watch, and what makes the networks money. Moreover, The Bachelor/Bachelorette brings back up the topic of representation, as the show has recently come under criticism for consistently lacking diversity in their casts. In Bachelor history, there has only been one non-white Bachelorette. Something powerful that was included in one of the recent episodes of The Bachelor, was when Sienne (one of the few black contestants on the show) explained that, growing up, she did not think that she would get a “fairytale romance,” because she never saw girls that looked like her experiencing fairytale romances on television. Essentially, many reality TV shows are exclusive, as their casts often represent a small population that is financially well off and overwhelmingly white.

In terms of brands, the men and women of past seasons of the Bachelor/Bachelorette often turn their fifteen minutes of fame into a way to use their image and name as a commodity by becoming influencers on Instagram. Women sell fit-tea and Diff eyewear, while men advertise their new workout guides and protein powders. All in all, I found these readings incredibly relevant to the shows I watch. For my photo, I chose an example of a typical Bachelor contestant (skinny, white, beautiful, wealthy) using her Bachelor credited fame to make money. For sound, I included the audio of a phrase Bachelor watches hear over and over again from the host, Chris Harrison. I felt the repetition drew a parallel to how most of the Bachelor casts look the virtually the same, season after season after season.