Posted on August 7, 2013

A New “Not White” Bachelor

Laurie Essig, Psychology Today, August 7, 2013

According to the Hollywood Reporter, ABC’s long-running reality show the “Bachelor” is finally featuring a non-white bachelor after eighteen seasons. Although there have been a few non-white men and women to appear as contestants on the shows, no bachelor or bachelorette has been anything but lily white.

Perhaps the new Bachelor, Juan Pablo Galavis, is a response to a lawsuit brought by

“A group of Nashville residents led by Nathaniel Claybrooks and Christopher Johnson brought a class-action lawsuit last year, alleging that the roles of the Bachelor and Bachelorette on the hit reality series have failed to feature non-white cast members and that civil rights law “plainly prohibits whites from refusing to contract with African Americans because of their race.”

Of course Mr. Galavis, a former soccer player from Venezuela who now lives in Miami, is creating quite a stir in the blogosphere both because he is the first Latino Bachelor and because he is… well… white.

Juan Pablo Galavis

Juan Pablo Galavis

Why have all the Bachelors and Bachelorettes been white? The answer lies in the nature of ideal romance in the United States. Because the shows are premised on a Disney-like narrative of finding one’s true love, proposing, and ending the story at the alter with a big white wedding, they require characters who fit our notions of the “perfect” love story and the “perfect” wedding and the wedding has always been and remains white–at least in its most idealized form.


So when ABC makes a decision to only have white Bachelors and Bachelorettes and only have white contestants win their love, they are merely reflecting the ideal romance that ends in the ideal white wedding that is always already white. {snip}