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'The Bachelor': A Double Standard?

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Guest blogger Single Mom Seeking: Would a single mom ever be considered as 'The Bachelorette'? I think not.

the bachelor

Last night, Jason Mesnick, the 32-year-old divorced dad of a three-year-old son, became the first-ever single parent to star on "The Bachelor."

During the two-hour premiere on Monday night, I wasn't the only single parent thrilled to see "us" on a mainstream network. Also, four of the 25 bachelorettes are single moms (although Jason let two single moms go on Monday night.)

But it's impossible to ignore the double standard here.

As momlogic.com's Annie rightly pointed out this summer: "I can't help but wonder: what if it were a single woman who had left her child at home to appear on 'The Bachelor'? Then after hemming and hawing about how much she missed her child, she signed on to the be star of 'The Bachelorette' the following season? I think people would be repulsed."

Annie is right.

I'll never forget the slack I got for writing a post about trying to date as a single mom for the Washington Post.

One reader called me "irresponsible." He went on to say: "Rachel is spending way too much energy on finding a boyfriend. What is wrong with this woman?"

Another reader called me a "loser."

Yet another told me I should have had an abortion.

You get the point.

A single dad who leaves home to find Ms. Right is sexy. But what happens when a single mom dates leaves her kid(s) to find Mr. Right?

"Did you notice that when given the opportunity to vote someone off the show, the majority of the women chose the single mom, whom they judged for leaving her 14-month old at home?" points out mom blogger Mindy Erickson. "Single moms have just as much right to date and find love as everyone else, yet we are held to different standards because we have kids."

We also asked one single dad in San Diego -- RJ Jaramillo, founder of www.singledad.com -- for his take on "The Bachelor." After all, RJ is also a successful, single dad who's out there dating, too.

"I saw the show last night and I thought it was lame that the producer included just three or four women who were 31 years or older," says RJ. "How unfair is that? There are 20 'girls' on the show who are in their mid-20s!"

"This is exactly the wrong message for 'real' single dads out there. If 32-year-old Jason is really serious about finding a wife -- and a mother to his son -- he should not even consider looking at a woman in her 20s. Women at this age are just beginning to discover who they are ... needless to say, men are even farther behind in that discovery."

RJ is speaking from experience: "I made this same mistake with a younger woman, -- yes, I was the 'un-discovered' 30-something man -- and I can see the same outcome for Jason. This is not a happy ending. But I guess that's why they call it DRAMA!"

I'm still waiting for the day that "The Bachelorette" is a single mom. Are you?


next: Your Husband is a Jerk! Part Two
6 comments so far | Post a comment now
Jerri Ann January 6, 2009, 7:26 PM

I wrote a post about this last summer as well the first time they introduced Jason and his son. I was floored that they would allow this when they had made a big deal over a female on a previous show that was “just” divorced. She didn’t even have children and they made a huge deal over it.

But, again, now there are women on the show with children and I think it is horrible that the other women were mean and tried to vote off the woman with a small child.

Now, that said, I am thinking that….if it were me…..I might could have gone on the show with a child over 3 but if I had one younger, it would be much tougher for me to leave.

And, the next part is, “who is the child being left with?” You have to figure that in Jason’s case the child was being left with his mother…..and I don’t know who the 14 month old was being left in the care of but I suspect that all these kids will show up on the show if the female makes it down to the final 4 or 5.

And, never mind that DeAnna shows up next week to put it all in a frenzy ….she wants him back? Stupid girl! She went for the exciting, opposite personality Jesse in the first place and she deserves to rot in her decision. She was old enough to know that she was not in love with Jesse, she was in love with the idea of a free-wheeling snowboard riding rebel.

She may not have been in love with Jason either but it was obvious to me (and most everyone I know that watches the show) that she wasn’t in love with Jesse, she was excited by his lifestyle.

I’ll tell you another tidbit that was fairly obvious to me from DeAnna. She had the hots for Graham. He made her sexually excited. At least she recognized that they weren’t compatible and that the only reason she was drawn to him was his sexual appeal. But, she couldn’t recognize that Jesse’s rebel lifestyle was what got her attention.

Again, I hope Jason tells her to get lost! But, from the previews, it looked like she might hang around for a little while so he may not tell her to hop a train.

Can you tell I am a psychology person?

Jerri Ann January 6, 2009, 7:51 PM

Wow, I wrote a huge comment, where did it go?

Debbie January 8, 2009, 1:59 PM

Sounds like you guys missed the very beginning of the show where Jason said he couldn’t bear to be away from his son and so he would be staying there, along with his brother, who would help him take care of the son. ANyways, the double standard I kept thinking of was if it was a singlle mom, there is no way they would be able to get 25 hot guys to fight over her. Let’s face it - men think of single moms as damaged goods with lots of baggage. It’s so unfair.

Missy January 16, 2009, 2:03 PM

I was just reciting this same monologue to one of my married friends just the other day. Until I pointed out my many reasons why I am not tuning in to this season’s ‘Bachelor’ she didn’t even realize it the clear and present double standard it sets. Since I’m not watching it, I had no idea the other women were more interested in voting off the only single mom on the show then actually finding true love (whatever that is). This just gives me one more reason not to tune in to the show and instead read my baby girl Brown Bear, Brown Bear (again). At least then I would be doing something productive.

Briar Dill March 6, 2009, 5:32 PM

Mothers are closer to the child having birthed it! Of course it is worse for them to leave the child behind. Jayson left the boy with his mother - so what is wrong with that?

Odyksxkx June 26, 2009, 6:30 AM

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