Class Year


Access Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department or Program

Media Studies Program

First Advisor

Tarik Elseewi

Second Advisor

Colleen Cohen


This project provides an oppositional reading of ABC’s popular Bachelor franchise, arguing that these reality dating programs present viewers with specific narratives of gender, sexuality, class, and race that contribute to greater hegemonic discourse that reifies heterosexual marriage. Through a close reading of one season of The Bachelor and one season of The Bachelorette, this project details the ways in which these programs manipulate both cast members and audiences to reinforce the heterosexuality and the institution of marriage, thereby suggesting that these programs are both a product and a tool of a heteronormative society. I conclude these readings by urging audiences to always remain cognizant and critical of the hidden agendas of entertainment media and popular culture; I do not, however, suggest that audiences reject these programs altogether. Instead, I call for an increase in Stuart Hall’s notion of the negotiated viewing, suggesting that audiences can enjoy “mindless” entertainment, so long as they understand that they cannot be mindless in their viewings.