If there’s one thing Bachelor Nation loves, it’s a good old-fashioned villain. The villain probably isn’t kind to their fellow contestants, and they’re not going to put on a fake smile about it, either. The Bachelor and The Bachelorette are, after all, competitions at heart.
After The Bachelor‘s season 22 (yes, really!) premiere this week, fans were quick to assign the “villain” title once again. The internet appeared unanimous in its decision: 29-year-old Chelsea was the group’s bad seed. Chelsea was the first to snag a one-on-one discussion with Bachelor Arie Luyendyk Jr., and she stole him away for a second round of conversation, too. Her take-charge attitude wasn’t received well by some of her competitors — but she ended up winning Arie’s first impression rose.
If the previews for next week’s episode are any indication, the show itself is just as eager to push the “villain” narrative. Speaking to the camera, Chelsea suggests that she deserves more time with Arie because she’s a single mom. To many people, this go-getter attitude makes her “aggressive” — and apparently, that’s not a good look for a Bachelor contestant to have. But in reality, going after what she wants doesn’t make Chelsea a villain, and it’s time for us to stop painting women that way.
As the ladies emerged from the limos to meet Arie, a common theme emerged: Many of them were talking about how nervous they were — understandably — to meet the Bachelor. By taking charge of the situation, Chelsea did the opposite. If she was nervous inside, she didn’t show it. Instead, she exuded confidence throughout the entire night.
We don’t need to categorize that as a bad thing. If anything, we should be praising Chelsea for bucking the norm and going after what she wanted: some alone time with Arie. She hasn’t done anything that’s directly rude to the other contestants (at least, not yet), so labeling her a “villain” is a bit premature.
It’s no secret that the Bachelor shows veer toward extremely traditional, heteronormative settings when it comes to relationships. Bachelors seek fathers’ permissions to propose while on hometown dates. Even on The Bachelorette, where a woman decides which man is the show’s winner, the man still has to “propose.” In a world that plays into these stereotypes, Chelsea is a hero for not doing what’s expected of her. She didn’t “wait her turn” to talk to Arie, and it worked out for her. That’s not villainy — it’s bravery.
Will you be keeping up with season 22 of The Bachelor? Let us know @BritandCo!
(photo via ABC/Craig Sjodin)