Ash Talks Bach is Back!
Michelle, Bachelor Books, and Bachelor Fatigue
Hey Bachelor Nation!
It's been a while since I've written. I'm juggling two jobs, self-care, and trying to be a human, so any time I get some time with my Bach fam, I have to squeeze it in. I've been able to keep up with the episodes and most of the podcasts on my commutes, but it has been a while since I've sat down to write. Sorry for the wait.
Ash Talks Bachelor Fatigue
Like Hunter of seasons past, I too frequent the forums and the Facebook groups. Lately, I've been seeing many fans discuss the concept of Bachelor fatigue. Fans praise Michelle for her poise, beauty, and character but can't seem to engage with the content like normal. For some reason, fans don't feel as connected to the men as they had in previous seasons…. But they can't put their finger on why… more on that later.
I had Bachelor fatigue in June. I was tired from the whiplash of everyone pontificating about the myriad of ways the show failed Matt James while not questioning the show's next lead. It was tough for me to separate the person from the show's decision when plenty of BIPOC contestants were ignored to make this choice. While I was not present in any of these Bachelor executive meetings, the decision to cast two bachelorettes, one being our current lead, felt like a knee-jerk reaction to their initial decision.
I have Bachelor fatigue from watching an entire season of Bachelor in Paradise where Black women were either pitted against each other, cast aside when a new love interest came along or relegated to the friend zone. Fast forward to the present, where I turn Riley and Maurissa on post notification, so I don't miss their Sunday morning post. While Riley and Maurissa gave me life, everything else about that season left me fatigued. Gorgeous, driven, and successful Black women like Natasha, Deandra, and Chelsea were ignored by vanilla, ordinary men with only one person who shall not be named receiving any backlash. Am I supposed to forget all of that? I'm tired.
I'm tired of all of the virtue signaling by this fanbase. Look at me. I am paying attention to (insert BIPOC contestant)! Indeed, I'm better than a Chris Harrison apologist. Meanwhile, microaggressions towards BIPOC cast members perpetuated by the show, other contestants, and social media are swept under the rug for the latest news from the Vanilla corners of Bachelor Nation. I'm fatigued.
It's hard not to compare the responses to each Bachelorette with two seasons so close together. Still, I am fatigued by the myriad of reasons that will be presented as to why Michelle doesn't have the same amount of Instagram followers. Fans will speculate it has everything to do with Tuesday nights or constant content or her lack of a non-stop online presence. I, for one, love her "I'm just here, so I won't get fined" approach to social media. I like a lead with an air of mystery. I don't have to know what the lead ate for breakfast to connect with her. I like that Michelle loves her career so much that she's still teaching while the season is airing. Michelle is MY Bachelorette. I want to posit that Michelle has posted her meetups with Bachelor Nation friends. She's met up with Bri and Ryan, but that wasn't reposted nearly as much as the San Diego crew. So, we have to ask ourselves, Bachelor Nation: is the anti-Blackness just relegated to the mass exodus of Karens post-Chris Harrison? Or does the fanbase, perhaps even the progressive viewers, need to sit with and unpack this sudden widespread case of Bachelor fatigue. I promise it's more than non-stop content.
Ash Talks Bachelor Books
Speaking of fatigue, I'm seriously considering how I can also get a Bachelor book deal. Rachel Lindsay, Matt James, Hannah Brown, Madison Prewett, Jason Tartick, Tyler Cameron, and more all have books that are either on our shelves or will be soon. However, I have not seen anyone's book called into question more than Matt James's. We all know his racial identity, and how he navigates his reality is layered and nuanced at minimum. While I am wary of the book and its content, I'm even more disturbed by the dismissal of his book by so many White viewers, the same ones who said that the show did him a disservice by not allowing him to tell his story. I'm here for the conversation that this will spark with other Black viewers, but I think that more White viewers should listen and not interject their opinion at this point. We can all speculate about what the book's content will be, but for so many to dismiss the book after lamenting that the show robbed him of his creative control over his narrative. I just don't get it. As stated previously, I do not think this book will be used in college courses on racial dynamics; however, if Matt wants to tell his story, it's his to tell. If the vanilla authors can publish mediocre content, so can Matt.
I will say that this onslaught of books is an entirely separate entity from Rachel Lindsay's forthcoming memoir. Rachel has intentionally separated herself from the Bachelor franchise and fanbase, so to include her book among other alums would be doing it a disservice. I legit want to start a book club to discuss her book in January, so stay tuned for details.
Ash Talks Future Bachelors
This section won't be too long. The franchise's decision to cast Clayton is an intentional reset to restore the order that left the building the minute Chris Harrison opened his mouth in February. The lackluster outrage from the viewership over this choice signals that most are okay with this return. I still hear comments about the emotional turmoil many endured watching Season 25 while expressing no sympathy for the lead or the women affected by the show's racial reckoning of 2021. I'm sure Clayton is fine, and perhaps he even has some endearing qualities. However, I am aware of the messaging that this choice is sending, and I'm sure you are, too.
Ash Talks Michelle's Season
I love her as the lead. I love the exciting dates, the stunning wardrobe, her command of the room, and the season in general. Watching her season doesn't feel like the chore that most of this year's Bachelor content has felt like for me. Maybe it's because, as a teacher, I can see myself in Michelle. Perhaps it's because, as a Black woman, I can appreciate her journey to find love. Maybe it's because she is handling issues of race in a way that shows that she is in control of the narrative. Perhaps it's because there are opportunities to discuss the nuances of colorism and how it shows up on the show. Maybe it's because Black love is being presented, and at some level, you can see that Black people have had a say in the narrative. Perhaps it's because it's fun. Maybe it's because a regal, beautiful, confident Black woman is falling in love and enjoying herself in ways we haven't seen on the show before.
If you are not enjoying Michelle's season because of Bachelor fatigue, maybe it's time for you to examine the root cause. There's a reason that this season has lower ratings, and the men and Michelle aren't being followed in the same way as last season. And it ain't Michelle.
Until next time,