Is “The Bachelor” a double standard?

by singlemomseeking on January 6, 2009

Do you think that Jason Mesnick looks like a monkey?

A cute one?

(I’m up way past my bedtime, can you tell?)

By now, you know that “The Bachelor” is also known as “the single dad from Seattle.” In case we forgot, this information was repeated at least 10 times during tonight’s premiere.

Yes, Jason Mesnick is the first-ever single parent on “The Bachelor.”

If you watched the the first episode, then you also know that four of the 25 bachelorettes are single moms. (Although we lost two single moms on the first night!)

My friend and incredible writer Heidi Raykeil, a.k.a. “Naughty Mommy” — whose second book, Love in the Time of Colic: The New Parent’s Guide to Getting it on Again, is due out this month — recently pointed out:

“Rachel, don’t you think people would be outraged and overly opinionated if it were a single mom leaving her kid for months to live in a bachelorette pad?”

“From here, it looks like a double standard: a single dad is cast as a sexy hero for looking for love with a kid, where you’ve been blasted time and again for being honest about your efforts. Am I missing something?”

Heidi knows.

She had my back when I wrote my first-ever post for national online media about trying to date as a single mom — for an editor at the Washington Post in its weekly “On Balance” column.

One reader wrote into say that I was “irresponsible in the first place by getting pregnant by her bipolar, alcoholic boyfriend.”

He went onto say: “Rachel is spending way too much energy on finding a boyfriend. What is wrong with this woman?”

Another reader called me a “loser.”

Yet another reader wanted to know: “How is getting knocked up out of wedlock by a bi-polar drunk a credential for giving Jewish people dating advice?”

You get the point.

So, what do you think?

Is there a double standard here as all these women and viewers go ga-ga over a dating single dad?

~~

Lastly, a correction: Jason Mesnick did not leave his son, Ty, back home during the entire show’s filming.

After watching last night, I learned that Jason’s three-year-old son did get to come down to Los Angeles with his dad, at least initially. His uncle — Jason’s brother — babysat when Daddy had dates.

I’d love to know what Jason told Ty as he left to go on his dating sprees. Maybe “Daddy is going to work now, I’ll be back in the morning.” Hmmm.

If you’re watching “The Bachelor” — or, even if you’re not — I’d love to hear your thoughts! You always have good ones.

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

A Little Bird January 6, 2009 at 1:40 am

Hey Rachel–heck yes there is a double standard! This show would never have been made if it had featured a single mom Bachelorette; they’d never get the advertising support, viewership, or ratings to sustain it. Programmers are smart: they know women viewers are more naturally compassionate and innately inclined to want to step into a family situation (ie with a single dad), whereas most men would not be interested in a single mom bachelorette because she has “baggage”, that is, unless the network marketed her as a really hot MILF, which they wouldn’t stoop to do because that would turn off the female viewers which I’d guess make up 99.9% of the show’s fanbase. So call it whatever you want, a double standard or a Catch-22, but it absolutely exists!

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Angie January 6, 2009 at 5:28 am

I think it’s absolutely a double standard…but at least it’s being put out there regardless of the gender. There are a few single mom’s on the show – and nobody will dare call them lousy moms for being on the show. For the first time.

It looks like it will be a really entertaining show, but was anybody else creeped out (consistently) at the level of intimacy these women thought they already had with Jason? Ty already has a mom, yet these women are ready to jump right into that role – lots of them saying that is why they are there. They are ready to be a mom. Um, hello – Ty will grow up. I’m a little weirded out that these women are looking to have a family, not find love.

But, I guess that’s what the show is all about…

All I can say, DRAMA! I am looking forward to the season and seeing what will happen with Deanna!

Angie´s last blog post…2009 Goals – 3 & 4 of 4 – More Fun/Less Consumption!

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Lance January 6, 2009 at 7:17 am

I’m sure there’s a bit of a double standard, but I think we should do a bit of research before damning Mesnick for leaving his kid. I’d give him and the show producers the benefit of a doubt and assume they made arrangements so that dad spent plenty of time with his son, probably even on a daily basis.

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Kat Wilder January 6, 2009 at 8:06 am

I don’t think the double standard you experienced early on was so much single dad vs. single mom — it’s reality TV vs. reality!

We’ve become obsessed with reality TV shows and somehow forget that the people on them aren’t living a real life. So we can watch a show like “The Bachelor” and forget e has a kid at home. Since your kid is ever-present on your blog, in your book and your media presence — aka Real Life — no one can forget that fact.

Still, if you did go on a reaity TV dating show, people would be tsk-tsking, just like some people judged Sarah Palin for not staying home to care for a special needs kid, let alone 4 others and you would NEVER hear that about a male candidate. Moms are expected to be the nurturers, period.

Kat Wilder´s last blog post…I’m OK, but everyone else needs to try harder

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Eathan January 6, 2009 at 8:35 am

I’m sure there is a double standard. I was happy to see the show has a twist this year. I think it reaches a different and broader audience. It also shows the reality of meeting a single parent.

I agree with Lance, I’m sure they made arrangements for him & his son. That would be the only way it would really work.

Maybe next season they will have a single mom for the Bachelorette. Wouldn’t that be great.

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SingleDad January 6, 2009 at 9:14 am

Okay, I saw the show last night and I thought it was kind of lame that the producer of “The Bachelor” would only include 3 to 4 women that were 31 years or older… How unfair was that?? There must have been 20-30 “girls” in there early to mid 20′s…

I know that Jason is in his mid 30′s,but this is exactly the wrong message that us “real” Single Dad’s do not want to see…If he was really serious about finding a wife and a mother to his son, he should not even consider looking at a woman in her 20′s. In my opinion, women at that age are just begining to discover who they are…Needless to say, men are even farther behind in that discovery…
Admittingly so, I made this same mistake with a younger woman, (and me being the “un-discovered” 30-something man) and I can see the same outcome coming to Jason….It’s not a happy ending!

But I guess that’s why they call it DRAMA!

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Lees January 6, 2009 at 9:21 am

Yah, there’s a double standard. I think the fact that Jason appears to have sole-custody of Ty sends a message about him, and women just eat that up.

I was disappointed with the women as well. Early 20′s & ready to be a step-mom? Sounds unlikely to me, but what do I know. I’m almost 28, am mature for my age (imo) and am not sure I’d even be ready for that.

Lees´s last blog post…A Trip Down Memory Lane…

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MindyMom January 6, 2009 at 9:26 am

I believe it is a double-standard. Did you notice that given the opportunity to vote someone off the show, the majority chose a single-mom and then judged her for leaving her 14-month old at home? She got voted off because she was one of the biggest contenders from the start. Then the women justified it by implying she was being negligent to her son. Single moms have just as much right to date and find love as everyone else but yet we are held to differnt standards because we have kids.

MindyMom´s last blog post…The Silent Treatment

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from the desk of ...me January 6, 2009 at 9:28 am

I don’t think it’s a double standard. I think it’s almost an anomaly. A single dad…huh? You must admit we rarely hear about “real” single dads(i.e. they have sole custody of their children.) I doubt if I watch but I must confess I did read about him online.

from the desk of …me´s last blog post…Don’t Force It

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Dr.Leah www.singlemommyhood.com January 6, 2009 at 12:57 pm

About that sole custody presumption. I can’t say I am watching this show avidly, but I am curious about his child custody status.

Sole custody is extremely rare. When a parent is awarded sole custody, there is always a huge back story. It’ll be interesting to see if he discloses any aspect of this back story. This little guy’s mother did not just conveniently vaporize.

Dr.Leah http://www.singlemommyhood.com´s last blog post…It’s the New Year: You’ve got it, now get it!

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singlemomseeking January 6, 2009 at 1:10 pm

Eathan: The day that “The Bachelorette” is a single mom, I just might cry and cheer. That would show a very clear societal shift.

Angie: Some of those women has so little self-confidence, I just wanted to reach out and hold them. I wonder how many of them are hoping to become L.A. actresses?

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singlemomseeking January 6, 2009 at 1:18 pm

Dr. Leah: The details about his divorce appear to be closed, but Jason actually said on the show last night that it was not his decision to end his marriage.

According to the Seattle PI
[http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/tv/394578_bachelor05.html], his ex-wife left him.

From what I’ve read, Jason does NOT have sole custody. Ty’s parents appear to have shared custody — their son also appears to have much real-life support from grandparents and family.

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Schvach January 6, 2009 at 1:48 pm

About single moms leaving their kids to ‘hang out’ with other bachelorettes, remember the movie
‘Kramer vs Kramer’? In whose favor did the jury vote?

Schvach´s last blog post…

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dadshouse January 6, 2009 at 4:35 pm

I don’t watch The Bachelor, so can’t comment on that. But I will say – those three women in the picture are hot!

Now, now. Don’t get into a tizzy. Looks aren’t everything. In fact, I’d much rather hang with a woman who wore jeans and loved to hike.

Is there a Bachelor campfire edition I can take part in? Oh, that’s Survivor! haha.

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How to Party with an Infant January 7, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Such a double standard. The next bacherlorette should be a single mom. Rachel, you game?

How to Party with an Infant´s last blog post…More Boobs, Doobs and Tubes!

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Janna January 8, 2009 at 12:39 am

There’s alway double standard when it comes to dating and men versus women. Us women can hardly do anything cause then we’re doing it wrong while men always seem to come out on top at the other side regardless what they’re doing.

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Honey January 11, 2009 at 10:16 am

I do think it’s a bit of a double standard because a guy is the first single parent on the show, but I feel obligated to point out:

1) He DID leave his son ENTIRELY for MONTHS when he was a COMPETITOR on the BACHELORETTE. How can we chide him now for being in a position to negotiate time with his son?

2) After never having had a single parent on this show (after how many seasons??? 10 or so???) now in addition to Jason we have 4 SINGLE MOMS. The dam has been broken.

3) If one of them makes it to the final 2 and is not chosen, there is a strong chance she will be the next Bachelorette, as that is the show’s most recent pattern.

4) Do you think the majority of people actually get the Gabriel Garcia Marquez reference in Heidi Raykeil’s book title?

5) Jason is CUTE. I think he’s way better looking than most of the previous bachelors. I wanted Deanna to choose him on The Bachelorette even though I never want kids!

Honey´s last blog post…Snowboarding, Sickness, and a Breakdown at the Grocery Store

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cheryl January 11, 2009 at 9:06 pm

I do not currently watch the show. I watched it long time ago and felt the women had self esteem issues. Crying on TV because they couldn’t get a man. How silly is this? It show low self esteem and too much like they were prostitutes and he is pimping himself. This is not the way to find real love or happiness in 30 minutes or an hour show? Where have all the morals gone? So it is not good to keep promoting shows like this because it sends the wrong message to young girls in how to conduct yourself while looking for a mate.

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Krissy January 26, 2009 at 7:51 pm

I agree with previous posts about this seasons the bachelor. I ‘googled’ the bachelor because I wanted to see if anyone was thinking the same think I was while watching the show. First, I feel Jason is not a real bachelor, he has already been married. I believe a bachelor is a man who has never lived with a woman and shared part of their life with them. Also, if he has custody of his son Jason’s life should focus around his sons for now. I feel like he is only on the show for the fame, good luck at finding love again.

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