The Bachelor and the Public Sphere

The mediated public sphere can be deciphered as a medium to which public opinions and perspectives can be formed without any influence or force. The most common channels these opinions take place today is through media outlets such as television programs which can undeniably evoke debate and personal expression depending on the social, economic or environmental matters raised.
Allen KcKee illustrates five pivotal concepts in relation to public sphere within the beginning of the 21st century. They establish that: it is too trivialized, it is too commercialized, it relies too much on spectacle, it is too fragmented, and that it causes individuals to be too apathetic. So is it true? Now that we’ve heard these notions, can we apply it to our favourite news programs, documentaries and reality TV shows?

The Bachelor is one Australia’s ‘guilty pleasures’ but once again, this reality program falls under the critiques of the mediated public sphere in regards to ‘it relies too much on specticle’. It begins with the slow motion panoramic of a rugged, yet sensitive, man looking out over the cliff-face, pondering the meaning of love. All his life, the nice, attractive, rich man has somehow managed not to find love and so this is his last chance to make things right. So what is the logical thing to do? Hand picImagek 25 desperate women, put them all in the same house and shove numerous TV camera’s in their faces – of course!
To summarise the show, a group of attractive women compete for the attention and ‘love’ of one attractive man but is love really the reason thousands of viewers tune in every week? I say no. What really grabs our attention is the drama. The rivalries. The bold yet embarrassing attempts to win over one man. And what do you expect? A house full of women living together and all pining over the one man (that they don’t know) is just begging for a toxic environment. It can be argued that these women are not even in love with him. According to Andrew Clements, “they are just in love with the idea of love” because let’s face it, true love is hardly something that you can achieve by ‘signing up’ or ‘entering a competition’. The odds are slim, hinting at the idea that The Bachelor is also ‘too commercialized’. It is just another way to make money by taking advantage of the audience’s weakness for love and controversy, demonstrating an opportunity for personal perception and debate and, in turn, a mediated public sphere.

References:
– Lisa McLeod 2009, ‘Why I Hate The Bachelor’, huffingtonpost.com, 03/04/2014, < http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-earle-mcleod/why-i-hate-the-bachelor_b_173318.html >

– Brandon Clements 2012, ‘Why I Hate The Bachelor’, brandonclements.com, 03/04/2014, < http://www.brandonclements.com/2012/02/why-i-hate-the-bachelor/#comment-583317682 >

– Cappy Writes 2013, ‘The Bachelor: Everything That Is Wrong With America’, cappywrites.com, < http://cappywrites.com/2013/01/08/the-bachelor-everything-thats-wrong-with-america/

– McKee, A 2005, ‘Introduction: the public sphere’, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 1-31, 03/04/2014, <  http://ereadings.uow.edu.au.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/mckeea2.pdf >

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