Angie Kent slams The Bachelor 2022 format: 'Three shades of white'

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EXTRA EXTRA (EXTRA) read all about it. There’s not one, nor two, but THREE suitors for this year's season of The Bachelor and there’s no doubt about it! No for real, there is officially no doubt about it, because it was announced on May 23.

I added the third EXTRA in to represent the third fella… Because I don’t want any of them feeling left out. I mean, cishet white men have been missing out on opportunities since the beginning of time. Said no one ever.

Before I begin, I want to state loud and clear – this isn’t an article about s**t canning cishet white men. So please, before you get out your pitchforks and plan your ‘so what just because I am a straight white man I don’t deserve opportunities anymore’ MANologue – or all the gals that seem to rock die-hard internalised misogyny start coming for me – let me explain why this news hasn’t overly blown my hair back with excitement and how it has nothing to do with being a ‘man hater’.

Also, if you don’t know the term cishet, let me quickly explain. The term cishet refers to a gender identity as well as a sexual identity. This two-part identity means that a person is both cisgender and heterosexual. Thank you Doctor Google for that. Cisgender refers to people whose gender identity and expression match the biological sex they were assigned when they were born. Heterosexual means you’re into the opposite sex aka you’re straight. I am sure this is very obvious, I mean, I would hope it would be, but because I had so many people asking me I thought I would just get that out of the way straight off the bat. Really easy to Google so very unsure as to why so many people had to go out of their way to ask me what it meant. But alas, here we are. Still. Lucky I am very patient with my need to want to educate and not straight out hate. But I tell ya what… Some people make it very hard to not want to lose all of your s**t sometimes.

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Back to it, so I posted a cheeky little TikTok to my gram that showed me green-screening myself with an image of the two of the three rumoured Bachelors – Felix Von Hofe (excellent name might I add) and Thomas Malucelli – with the caption ‘ Two + Cis Het men instead of one and no female lead… Groundbreaking'.

I used the original audio from one of the very best movies of all time, The Devil Wears Prada: ‘Florals…. For Spring? Groundbreaking’. It pretty much means, 'Wow… it’s 2022 and we have had to go back to the original format where apparently we can only bring in the ratings if cisgendered heterosexual (more often than not white) men are the leads of the program or anything for that matter'.

Warner Brothers Head of Entertainment stated that she is very excited about this season of The Bachelor. It’s going to be BIG. We’re taking some BIG swings. And by big swings, I am assuming she means she is going to take away any diversity from the leads and that there will no longer be a female lead. HUGE!

Why is this a sad one you say? Well because last year we had our very first ever queer Indigenous Bachelorette with ratings hitting an all-time low. Some may say, 'Well you see, The Bachelorette just rates lower'. But wait, there’s more… Jimmy’s season also hit rock bottom too. It truly saddens me to think that as a nation we really need to get rid of that diversity in order for the average punter to tune in? The proof seems to be in the pudding and by the pudding I mean ratings.

Former Bachelorette Angie Kent.
Angie Kent has slammed the new format for The Bachelor. Source: Instagram

Look, we could also say that maybe the franchise has just been exhausted and maybe Covid threw an absolute spanner in the works because there was just so much TV time and so many other amazing programs to watch. There could be a number of factors for sure. However, I feel taking away the female lead and having not one but three straight white men is just not the answer for those of us who want to be progressive. It’s almost as if casting has seen Travis Barker and Machine Gun Kelly are trending and just picked anyone who looked remotely like them. Don’t even get me started on the fact that two out of the three men are mid-twenties. We can’t even muster up age diversity anymore.

So, there is nothing wrong with cishet men or women, and there is nothing wrong with having them on our television, but there is something wrong with ONLY having cishet men and women on television is my point.

I am not fully putting this on the production company or Channel 10, it’s us as an audience that isn’t watching what they are delivering even when we asked for diversity. My issue is that are we still so standpat and non-progressive. People love to point out that, ‘Well they did try last year with our first queer and Indigenous Bachelorette’, and that yes, they did, and that’s what makes this so wildly disappointing. That in 2022 Australia isn’t yet ready for diversity and change on our mainstream television. What is it that we love so much about seeing straight cisgendered white people always coming out on top… Is it because we are familiar with it?

It’s what has been thrust upon us for centuries. And yes don’t think for a second I haven’t copped the whole ‘no shade but you are a white lady and had no problem taking the role a few seasons ago’. Yes, correct. I totally hear this. Do not think for a hot second I do not realise my privilege as a white woman in Australia. I acknowledge that more often than not. Actually, it lives rent-free in my head. The same hand that fed me the opportunity of being one of Australia’s very few leading ladies aka The Bachelorette, is still a very related hand that has fed me patriarchal beliefs. The same beliefs which made me extremely confused and almost guilty about coming out as a queer woman. Until those powerful forces before me and around me walked so we can now run and question these set of societal conventions that no longer serve. Just because I am a white cisgendered woman does that mean that I should not express my concern that we have legitimately had to go back in time to try and win the people over/get these ratings back? I can still understand and acknowledge my privilege and still want change and opportunities for all. At the end of the day, I am still a woman. Do I really have to go down the path of how women experience social inequalities relative to men in most societies every damn day?

I am not having a go at these blokes as individuals. I am sure the 25-year-old Machine Gun Kelly doppelgänger lead drummer, the 35-year-old ridiculously good looking restaurant manager from Florence, Italy, and the 6 foot 6 professional basketball player are all really, really solid dudes. I mean, they’re all practically living Ken dolls if you ask me. I am just disappointed that we have had to replace our leading lady season and only have three straight white guys fall in love with straight girls. Because god forbid we tantalise our tastebuds and feast our eyeballs on something as delicious as diversity and actually fully embrace it.

Look, I hope I am wrong. I hope this grapevine is rotten and that one of the blokes is queer, or there is in fact a season of The Bachelorette still to come and the big execs are sitting back LOL’ing at all of this madness and frantic questioning. I am more than happy to recall and row back.

But until then let me end with a little something I have learned recently. People who sit comfortably in the realms of power and privilege that can afford to be neutral and dispassionate about these types of conversations or get really fired about it when the norm gets questioned are the same people that continue to keep hoarding the things that benefit them. Any person who has devoted themselves to fighting injustice, or refuses to be manipulated into sitting back and performing politeness, is motivated by love. Otherwise, why else would you feel so passionately? Every person who has been targeted for being ‘angry’, ‘divisive’, ‘rude’ has also had a profound sense of community, social justice and LOVE… I wish I could take credit for that piece of art. Shout out to Clementine Ford for always delivering the goods and forever educating me on why it is so important to bring up these conversations and how it’s actually pretty damn spectacular to be classified ‘too much'. I’ll take it if it means change.

They say good things come in threes… So please, enjoy the three shades of white coming to your screens soon! In the words of Miranda Priestly… That’s all.

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