Can someone please explain to me how we went from last year’s goofy dogc*unt drama on The Bachelor to actual RACISM as a plot device this year?!
If you watched the Bachie premiere, you’ll know what I’m talking about – or maybe you won’t, as it seems the Australian public is having a hard time identifying racism. Gee, how surprising.
There were a few early comments here and there about Bali and Lebanon, but the real drama started when contestant Areeba, who is Pakistani Australian and the only visibly dark-skinned woman on this season, interrupted Zoe-Clare (who is white) at the first cocktail party.
Hmmmmmmmmm Laura’s quirky lil anti-Bali rant about a country that’s tOo DaNgERoUs and has “water you can’t even brush your teeth with” was a little too racist for prime time tv for me…… #TheBachelorAU
— Michelle Rennex (@michellerennex) August 12, 2020
It’s a tale as old as time in terms of Bachie man-stealing – I’m pretty sure this happens like, several times each season.
You know what else is a tale as old as time? Racism. And yep, that was there too.
You see, Zoe-Clare was so incensed by Areeba interrupting her that she went on a very long, very drunken rant about it, in which she claimed she was being discriminated against by Areeba (THE ONLY DARK SKINNED PERSON ON THE SHOW) for having red hair.
— Kayla Joiner (@_kayjoi) August 12, 2020
During her drunken rant, Zoe-Clare constantly mentioned her white skin, Anglo bone structure and red hair as indicators of why she “deserves respect” and is a more worthy candidate for Locky’s love than Areeba.
I have and will never understand the “intruder” hate. The nature of the show is that you’re all the scarlet woman trying to steal someone else’s man. You literally signed up for this #TheBachelorAU
— Georgia Love (@GeorgieALove) August 19, 2020
Let’s take a minute to deconstruct this, incase you aren’t seeing the racial elements of this rant. Why was Areeba implied to be inferior to Zoe-Clare? Is it because she doesn’t subscribe to white beauty standards? Do Zoe-Clare’s features entitle her to respect from Areeba?
There were really big ‘know your place’ vibes happening, with the constant relation between Zoe-Clare’s “complexion” and “red hair” in contrast to Areeba.
The implication it seems to be is that Areeba offended Zoe when she had the audacity to interrupt a white woman when she herself is brown, because how dare she not know her place, right? Areeba pretty much threw the model minority myth out the window by not being a ~nice brown girl~ like Zoe seems to have expected of her.
And before anyone tries to accuse me of needlessly bringing race into this conversation – actually, Zoe-Clare did that. Not me.
— Bachelor of Hearts Podcast ? (@BOHpod) August 12, 2020
Zoe-Clare weaponised her whiteness to attack the only dark skinned woman on this show because she felt threatened by her. She attacked her ethnic name by calling her “abra cadabra”, her looks and her personality rather than her actions, and then she derailed the very real racial elements of the situation by victimising herself and crying about her hair colour, despite the fact that she later says no one commented on her hair.
PRODUCER: Did ANYONE mention your hair? Did someone touch it? Did they look at it. ANYONE?!
Zoe-Clare-Epponnee-Ray: No. (*Wipes tear) BUT RANGAS MATTER OK. #TheBachelorAU
— Em Rusciano (@EmRusciano) August 12, 2020
Anyway, it was racist and disgusting to watch on TV, and you can read more of my thoughts about it and the way Channel 10 handled it here. I have very low standards for Australian media, and even I was gob-smacked at how overt racism was being used as entertainment on primetime TV.
I thought it would then be called out on-screen, or be acknowledged later on somehow, but nope. The drunken rant was treated like something silly, funny and absurd by The Bachelor, and everything when back to normal as if we didn’t just witness a racially charged attack.
— Jerome Doraisamy (@JeromeDoraisamy) August 12, 2020
Then we had episode two, and there was still no acknowledgement of racism – in fact, we saw Zoe-Clare rewarded for creating drama with a rose, a sexy outfit and a prime spot in the photoshoot.
Then episode three comes a long, and yep we still aren’t acknowledging racism, while giving the only dark skinned woman a villain edit. Cool cool cool cool cool.
— Lauren Edwards (@laurenvedwards) August 12, 2020
— Megan Harding (@megsyharding) August 19, 2020
The racism doesn’t stop on-screen, either – publications have been demonising Areeba while fawning over Zoe-Clare in what I think is a testament to how racist the wider Australian public is.
Last week, Pedestrian TV published an article calling Zoe-Clare’s racist rant “iconic” and discussed how it should be “framed.” This week, their recap of The Bachelor said Areeba was “cancelled” because she was mean to Juliette.
Do you see the double standards that WOC are held to? White women can behave like actual racists and it’s just cute and funny, but a brown woman is mean (not racist, just mean) and she’s a horrible bitchy bully that deserves to be cancelled.
I’m fairly new to The Bachelor, with last year being the first time I watched it – and honestly, I don’t think I’ll be coming back.
Image Sources: Twitter