The Bachelorette has featured two women as leads in the past, with contestants voting on who stays and who goes, and in one season, the lead was replaced due to picking her winner early. But this time it’s different, as both Rachel and Gabby will be leading throughout the entire season. While this may simply be because both women deserve their chance at finding love, it may also be a smart ploy to get higher ratings because The Bachelor has shown to be significantly more successful than The Bachelorette.
The Scientific Reason Why We Prefer The Bachelor over The Bachelorette
Fans of The Bachelor franchise (myself included) often base levels of excitement for a season based on the lead, but the real stars of the show are the contestants. Though there have been Bachelorette contestants who have made for great TV, the women on The Bachelor always deliver on the drama.
This can be attributed to how women fight differently than men. Men tend to form a hierarchy and abide by it, but women are a different story. Their methods are subtler and more complex, which makes it more interesting to watch – especially to other women. Psychologist Joyce Benenson says, “Now females do not form a hierarchy easily and there is no basic reason to cooperate. Generally, they do not cooperate with unrelated individuals. They naturally take care of children, parents, relatives, but when it comes to a best friend, it’s really easy to get rid of her, as sad as that is.”
Benenson continues, “The ultimate tool they use is social exclusion. That is what girls use in place of direct aggression. If someone is prettier or smarter or a better violin player, and not at the same time putting herself down or saying she’s an equal, then she’s out. Compared to men, they are terribly worried about social exclusion, and for good reason. That is what women do, from 4 years old to nursing home residents, if they find they can’t be dead even. And they find it very pleasurable.”
Think back to your childhood: The worst thing your girl friends at school could say to you – whether it was kindergarten or junior high – was that you weren’t their friend anymore. In the old days, being excluded from the group wasn’t just a loss of a social circle, but a loss of the safety, support, and resources necessary to survive.
Another primal instinct is at play here as well: The biological pressure to find a man before your fertility fades – and before some other woman takes the available man. "Men have more time to figure it out,” Benenson says. “Just mathematically, the amount of time you want to invest in that first choice, it’s much more important for a woman.”
Reality shows outside of The Bachelor franchise follow this same formula, and it’s a staple for trashy reality TV shows. There’s a reason why it’s Real Housewives and not Real Househusbands – female drama is simply more fun to watch.
The Few Exceptions to the Rule
While The Bachelor is often more dramatic than The Bachelorette, there are a few exceptions to the rule. Both JoJo Fletcher’s and Hannah Brown’s seasons of The Bachelorette are remembered for being highly entertaining, and it comes down to how both seasons had a villain who was completely unhinged.
While there are bound to be a few extra-dramatic contestants on every season of The Bachelor, it’s not guaranteed on The Bachelorette. The villain of JoJo Fletcher’s season was Chad Johnson, a luxury real estate agent who was both arrogant and went out of his way to cause trouble in the house. His behavior caused all of the men to turn against him, creating drama comparable to what we’ve seen on The Bachelor.
Chad’s ego ended up getting him kicked off the show, leading the rest of the men to celebrate. Though the season aired in 2016, Chad is still remembered as one of the most chaotic villains in the history of the franchise.
Hannah Brown’s season aired in 2019 and gave fans the blessing and curse that was Luke Parker, a born-again virgin who was ready to cause chaos the second he walked into the mansion. He treated both Hannah and the other men in the house like garbage, and his antics dominated the entire season.
Like Chad, the other men turned against Luke, and it made for excellent tv. Out of the many encounters of Luke versus everyone, one of the funniest came when he walked in on some of the men trash-talking him. *awkward silence* The funniest part of this clip is how the men all (rightfully) blame Luke after Chris Harrison announces that the cocktail party is canceled. The way they all walk out of the door while blaming him is both comedic and reality tv gold, and I can’t help but laugh whenever I watch it.
The Bachelorette is more likely to be entertaining when the men are as petty, manipulative, and dramatic as the women. It’s no secret the show’s success depends on petty drama, and women are just more likely to bring petty drama than men. It might not be the politically correct thing to say, but we all know it’s the truth and the ratings reflect it.
Will This Season of The Bachelorette Bring More Petty Drama?
After the absolute disaster that was last season's finale of The Bachelor, producers announced that they were having two leads for the next season of The Bachelorette: Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia. It makes sense, as both women were humiliated and dumped by Bachelor Clayton Echard after he told both women he loved them and took them to the fantasy suites, only to choose Susie Evans, who dumped him after she found out he had already slept with the two women and told all three women that he was in love with them. Both Gabby and Rachel seem like wonderful and genuine women who deserve all the love in the world, and both deserve a chance at redemption after getting screwed over by Clayton, but many fans can’t help but wonder if having two women as leads will inevitably lead to drama between the two friends?
Historically, The Bachelor has more viewers than The Bachelorette, and many believe that it’s due to the lack of female drama on The Bachelorette. There will always be catfights and mean girls on The Bachelor, making the show interesting. With two women vying after the same men, it’s entirely possible that there will be drama between Gabby and Rachel this season.
Both women became good friends when they filmed The Bachelor, and have both made it clear that they won’t let a guy get in the way of their friendship while filming the show. However, People got a look at the season teaser and confirmed that there is a man on the season whom both women call “unsettling” and “unhinged,” implying that one of the contestants is in it for fame (let’s be real, most of them are in it for the Instagram followers) or is set to ruin the friendship between Gabby and Rachel.
Whether the show comes in the way of Gabby and Rachel’s friendship or not, the new layout of the season is bound to stir up some drama that we’ve never seen before on The Bachelorette.
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