The Bachelor 21.3: in which I defend Corrine because don’t hate the player, hate the game, and the name of the game is CATTINESS

Corrine, Corrine, Corrine.

That was the title of this past week’s episode, right?

After the whole “Liz” thing, the ladies in the house find themselves without a united enemy, and so, they choose Corrine. Corrine took her top off at the photo shoot (where another girl was also topless)! Corrine interrupts other girls’ time with Nick (which is how you get time with Nick)! Corrine is participating in The Bachelor process (how dare she?)! So naturally, we hate her. Before her departure, Hater Hailey (remember Shark Girl’s greatest adversary?) has some pointed words for Corrine:

Ah well bye-bye, Hater Hailey, nobody needs your shitty internalized misogyny and bullshit girl-hate bad attitude anyway. Because obviously Nick is attracted to “someone like Corrine!” They have so much in common! For example, a mutual cheesy notion of what’s “sexy:”

Exhibit A:  Observe Corrine with her aerosol spray of sugary dairy products, compared to

Exhibit B: Nick posing as the sexy “prize” of the field day date:

So they’re both corny, horny adults who enjoy making out in a bouncy castle. What’s all the fuss about?

Let’s talk for a second about This Game. Ask anyone why they enjoy watching The Bachelor and the response is going to be along the lines of “cattiness!” “bitchiness!” or “DRAMA!” From the network’s perspective, the fun of watching is picking the women apart and finding faults with them. I mean, I love watching it to find teachable moments in feminism but yeah, I’m weird, and that’s what I’m gonna do now so buckle up, buttercup, here’s my sermon on “cattiness.”

TL;DR: The Bachelor franchise wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for CATTINESS. Because a long time ago, some producers decided that Women + Romantic competition + open bar = GOOD TVThe Bachelor is set up to create conflict between women. Playing off of jealousies and fueled by endless goblets of white wine, producers set up interviews and prompt women to say nasty things about their competitors. That is how it works. If you thought otherwise, congrats on just moving into society out of that cave.

Hater Hailey’s sneering swipe at “someone like Corrine” is troubling because that type of vague cattiness has no boundary. If Corrine is a fair “target” for cattiness and “someone like her” slander because she’s openly sexual and not very domestic, then who is next? Teasers for the next episode suggest that we’re in for two hours of girls having one-on-one interventions with Nick addressing their grievances about Corrine. If they are successful in getting Corrine kicked off the show because of their “concerns,” then I think we should ask, “Who’s next?” Openly bisexual Jaimi? Alexis, for her honesty about having fake breasts? Which girl is “good enough” for Nick to be above their collective reproach, above the “cattiness?”

Let’s take a minute to recognize the way in which females are always compared to felines! Our conflicts are called “cat fights,” our genitals are called “pussy.” This past weekend, we celebrated PUSSY GRABS BACK with the Women’s March, which is kind of the antithesis of this whole Corrine situation. Ya with me? Okay, keep following: turning the power of our energies against an oppressive regime because it is inarguably patriarchal and misogynistic is a POSITIVE use of pussy power. Channeling our collective cattiness to pick apart other women is a counterproductive use of our female energies and reinforces internalized misogyny that keeps the patriarchy afloat.

SO, YES. I am defending Corrine because the Sisterhood demands that I do. Cattiness is not entertainment — it’s boring, it’s a waste of episode time I’d rather spend watching helicopters and Backstreet Boys, and sends a terrible message to girls. We have bigger patriarchal structures to topple. I sincerely hope that this season of The Bachelor doesn’t become a federal case of The People vs. Corrine’s Platinum Vagine.

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