So the big drama on The Bachelor tonight was Rachael‘s “Plan B” – not her morning after pill. Her other crush in the Bachie mansion, on a crew member.

ICYMI, Rachael confided in some Bachie gals that she had a crush on one of the crew members at the mansion. They felt this was inappropriate – everyone is meant to be here for Matt, what is Rachael doing pursuing other people in the house? Meanwhile, Rach put her name and phone number in the dudes pocket, or gave it to him personally (this part was confusing). Point being – her number wound up with this crew member while Mary told Matt in true primary school playground style about Rachael’s crush – who Rach was calling her “plan B”. Cue Matt unceromoniously booting Rachael from the mansion in one of the most shamey scenes in Bachie history.

Let’s start this deep dive by very much acknowledging this is a REALITY SHOW. Which means it’s actually very fake. I do genuinely think you can’t mould a persons entire personality as a producer, but you absolutely can, say, encourage them to make up a fake crush on a crew member for entertainment and then throw them under the bus at the end, or who knows. Some iteration of that. The point is – this episode felt VERY producer-led, and VERY bullshit. I acknowledge this.

But it’s not about whether what went down was real or manufactured. It’s about the story these shows tell the nation – and yes, it IS the nation because a lot of fucking people watch The Bachelor, and then a whole lot more are accosted with information about it in office workplaces and at parties, etc etc. Whether you love it or hate it, Bachie is part of the zeitgeist and that means it has influence on our culture.

Matt’s reasoning for booting Rachael was very, very measured in terms of what he verbally explained. He went to great lengths to stress that he doesn’t expect every woman who walks through the Bachie mansion doors to adore him – he gets he may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But then when he was putting Rachael in the car, he accused her of being there for the wrong reasons.

It’s a complex one, because the premise of The Bachelor is this one ideal guy, and 28 women who are looking for love. The unspoken rule is that you’re there because you want to date this man, and that you leave when he says you leave, or if you realise you don’t want to date him. In and of itself this concept, when you think about it deeply, is kind of fucked up. It’s why The Bachelorette was created, I’m sure of it – as we socially became less fine with that deeply sexist trope of women fighting over men, there needed to be a show where the whole thing was reversed so sometimes, it’s all the men fighting over a woman.

But controversies aside, life isn’t that simple in the real world anyway. You have more than one attractive available person come across your path when you’re single, and as much as Bachie is this fake mansion life, there ARE other dudes and ladies walking around these TV contestants who are real people you can get real crushes on. People like crew members, for example.

Now, if Rachael and this crew member were in the full throes of an illicit secret affair behind Matt’s back, while she also acted like she was keen on the Bachie himself – I’d understand Matt being pissed and booting her. That’s proper “not here for the right reasons” shit because your side-thing is your #1 thing. But from the get-go she was calling it “Plan B” and talking casually about it being a crush. Nothing had happened, and she’d made that clear both to the girls in the mansion, and her to-camera pieces, and to Matt.

Matt booted Rachael because she gave her name and number to someone on the crew. She got booted because she was seeing potential with someone else who wasn’t him, as much as he wanted to reassure Australia that that wasn’t the reason. She never said she wasn’t keen on Matt, and she never said this crew person was even a THING.

I know, I know, I’m deeply analysing a reality TV show. But did you read above? Zeitgeist! What we watch and what we accept becomes part of the fabric of our culture, and can perpetuate bullshit systemic stuff if we let it. That is mayyybe a bit dramatic in this context, but it’s nonetheless true. Laughing off reality TV as fake bullshit is a very ignorant view considering how influential media is on the wider masses. Maybe you don’t think twice about what happens on The Bachelor but I can damn well tell you millions of Aussies do.

In this case, Rachael being publicly shamed for daring to look at anyone else besides the Holy Bachelor Man made a villain out of a woman who was simply not willing to wait desperately for one guy to give her attention.

This whole event will be forgotten in a week – hell, it’ll be forgotten tomorrow. The drama lives on, you know? But that’s again not the point. When you see bullshit, call it bullshit. That is how we can check ourselves so we don’t let sexism, damaging dating trends and shit attitudes through the cracks. Rachael being shamed and vilified for being a modern woman who keeps her options open is fucking bullshit.

Image: Network Ten