“The Bachelor Winter Games” moves franchise in valuable direction, celebrates differences of contestants

“The Bachelor Winter Games,” a four-episode spin-off of the original series, “The Bachelor,” aired its first season on Feb. 13. The show features contestants of “The Bachelor” franchise from all around the world competing in winter sports and, of course, love.

While “The Bachelor” franchise often receives lots of criticism, it also has a huge audience and dedicated fan base. Due to its popularity, it is all the more important for “The Bachelor” franchise to portray healthy romantic relationships and discuss other important issues.

Since many young individuals look toward the media, specifically reality television, for advice and information on dating, it is essential these shows be held to a high standard. While previous seasons or spin-offs have fallen short in this area, it seems the “The Bachelor Winter Games” is stepping in the right direction.

While the show was obviously not perfect, as there was dramatization and sexualization of the romantic relationships, that is simply the nature of the show. When you accept these flaws and compare “The Bachelor Winter Games” to other shows the franchise has created, it is clear that were genuine strides made. 

In terms of representing different types of individuals on a reality TV show, the “The Bachelor Winter Games” was by far superior to the franchise’s counterparts in this aspect.

This season starred “14 international contestants and 12 American contestants” and many contestants even spoke different languages, according to Insider. This is positive for the franchise as is perpetuates the acceptance for romantic partners of varying races and cultures, an important topic in today’s culture.

Furthermore, the show had a bisexual contestant, Tiffany Scanlon, from Australia. Previously, Scanlon dated a woman she met during her time on “The Bachelor,” according to Refinery29. While Scanlon’s “fluid sexuality” was not explored in the show and the structure of the competition didn’t exactly make it easy for same-sex couples to form, this is definitely something that could be seen from “The Bachelor” in the future. 

Pushing for increased inclusivity on “The Bachelor” and other dating shows is imperative; however, the progress that has been made in terms of race, culture and sexuality over the past few years deserves recognition.

Lastly, one of the main representational successes of the season came from American contestant Lesley Murphy. Murphy revealed on social media before the show that she had underwent a double mastectomy after finding out she had the gene that made her high risk for cancer, according to People Magazine. 

This preventative measure was necessary. Although, it was extremely difficult, Murphy did not shy away from details on social media. 

Murphy praised her mom saying, “she dresses me in the mornings … she also measures my drains twice daily which are the tubes you see coming out of my lovely red apron I never take off,” according to US Magazine.

Murphy’s candid recount of her experience on social media is important for other individuals facing cancer, or those who have a cancer-causing gene or even just those facing surgery in general.

It is commendable that Murphy went on “The Bachelor Winter Games” after this procedure and it is important that the franchise gave her airtime to discuss her struggles, especially in regard to dating again after losing her breasts. Murphy discussed her hesitancy in finding a new relationship, but ultimately found a partner during the show—one whose mom had also faced breast cancer, according to People Magazine.

While “The Bachelor” franchise is far from perfect, the attention to detail and lack of dramatization on “The Bachelor Winter Games” spin-off is notable. Reality romance shows like this are far from slowing down. If this is the future of television, it is exciting to see some strides being made in improving representation of romantic relationships as well as women and individuals in general.