“Women choose solidarity over competition”
“Women choose solidarity over competition”

Bachelor Nation fans watched with bated breath as Joey Graziadei’s journey to find love came to an end on March 25. In the final moments of the Season 28 finale, Graziadei gets down on one knee and asks Kelsey Anderson, 25, a junior project manager from New Orleans, for her hand, which she gladly gives. Graziadei finally tells Anderson that he loves her. Anderson says it through tears. They kiss and hug and it all feels pretty ordinary bachelor final. Except it wasn’t.

We have runner-up Daisy Kent to thank for that.

Breaking The Bachelor protocol

Kent, 25, made her mark on Graziadei’s season from her entrance – she arrived in a truck full of Christmas trees, a nod to having grown up on a Christmas tree farm – all the way through the competition as one of the last two contestants battling for the final rose of the Bachelor. In the finale, she wants to be “the last man standing” at the end with Graziadei, but has doubts that The Bachelor will choose her, a fear only heightened by her last date, which she said left her feeling “left out”.

In the first franchise, Kent goes to Anderson’s hotel room just before the proposal and the women have a heart-to-heart about their recent encounters with Graziadei. While Anderson says she felt reassured, Kent says she felt like Graziadei was very careful with his words.

“It’s so hard to hear Kelsey say she’s been confirmed. It just hurts because I put 100%, everything I could into it,” Kent tells the camera.

Viewers then see separate shots of Kent and Anderson in the limo on their way to the proposal location, only to learn that they are actually in the same one limousine together and holding hands.

Kent is the first to get out of the limo to meet Graziadei, who admits that she was his first real relationship. But before he has a chance to disappoint her, Kent has his say.

“I love you, but the thing is, you won’t choose me,” she tells Graziadei. When he offers to take her out, she replies, “I think that’s something I have to do on my own.”

Kent walks back to the limo where Anderson is waiting outside the car, another franchise first. The women hug and Kent tells Anderson that she knows her mother, who passed away in 2018, is watching her with pride.

Usually on bachelor franchise shows, the finale marks the only time in the season that the final two contestants are isolated from each other. They stay in separate hotel rooms, go on separate dates and arrive at the proposal ceremony at different times. But Kent and Anderson hooking up before the proposal, riding to the finish together and then embracing after Kent self-eliminated was, for many, a welcome departure from the norm.

“It shows that these two women didn’t see this as a competition, but really as ‘finding the perfect match,’ which is what the show is supposed to be,” Kay Brown, co-host of Betting podcast, Yahoo Entertainment said. “We see so many examples of people who just want to win and don’t see it as, ‘Is this the right person?'” And the fact that Daisy didn’t tell Joey that she did all of this shows how much she knew that that’s really what it’s about.

Yahoo Entertainment reached out to ABC for comment, but did not immediately hear back.

“Conflict and Evaluations”

Daniel Lindeman, associate professor of sociology at Lehigh University and author of True Story: What Reality TV Says About Us told Yahoo Entertainment that Kent and Anderson’s treatment of each other in the finale was “in some ways” a departure from what Bachelor Nation is used to.

“The very premise of the show plays into the cultural stereotype that women are competing with each other for a scarce commodity — attractive, successful men — in the heterosexual marriage market,” she said. “A key ingredient of many [of] Reality television is conflict, and historically this show has relied on the tension between women as a central driver of conflict and ratings.”

Maria Pramaggiore, head of the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies at Appalachian State University, who specializes in sexuality and gender in reality television, explained that women on The bachelor have historically faced a double standard.

“Traditional gender norms dictate that women are not feminine if they compete, so they face a double standard to begin with. They have to “win” the hand [or] proposal on The Bachelor, but it doesn’t seem ambitious to go for it and compete with the other women,” she told Yahoo Entertainment. “If the show wasn’t a competition, they would have given The Bachelor the opportunity to date 32 women in serial fashion, one by one. He would stop when he “found his man,” as they say. This structure is explicitly comparative and therefore competitive.

Kent and Anderson’s decision to forgo protocol, Pramaggiore added, is a testament to their sisterhood and rejection of the show’s competitive nature.

“The fact that Daisy and Kelsey chose to prevent this scenario from culminating in a ‘winner’ and ‘loser’ is important, but the show frames it as a personal choice — in other words, it’s not characterized as a moment that undermines the premise of the program.” , she said. “It’s a potentially important moment, but it can come down to individual personalities and maybe the year of Barbie.” when women choose solidarity over competition because that is what circulates in the popular zeitgeist.

On Kent’s terms

Kent’s decision to put himself first was praised by fans on social media. Considering she was in a “pretty unhealthy” and “competitive situation,” Pramaggiore said, Kent appears to have made a healthy choice for herself.

“It seemed important for her confidence to feel that she had the opportunity to be chosen by a man for romantic love,” Pramaggiore said. “At the same time, that confidence seemed to give her the courage to choose herself in the end—to state openly that the match between her and Joey isn’t what it should be, and therefore she’s no longer trying to win the final rose in a scenario , which would define her as a ‘loser’.”

What Kent and Anderson showed viewers, however, is that loving yourself and loving your friends is just as important, if not more important, than winning the guy over.

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