It’s no secret that The Bachelor and The Bachelorette is not exactly the best when it comes to representation and seeing yourself on screen in Australian TV. Despite being on the same TV network, it’s no Masterchef. But, a new petition is finally calling the show’s producers and casting out on their lack of representation and demanding to see a proper reflection of Australia’s diverse society.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, roughly 26% of the Aussie population were born in another country—largely from England, New Zealand and China. Roughly 19% of overseas born Australians were born in non-English speaking countries. First Nations people, who are the original owners of the land we live on, make up 3% of the population. So, why doesn’t our reality TV represent that?
Of the 23 women that fought for the attention of 2020’s Bachelor Australia candidate, Survivor winner Locky Gilbert, only two of them were women of colour. In that same season, one of the white contestants, Zoe-Clare, accused one of the two non-white women on the show of discriminating against her because of the colour of her hair—sadly, I’m not joking.
As Fashion Journal Magazine put it, there hasn’t been a single Indigenous, Asian or non-Eurocentric Bachelor or Bachelorette on the show. “In the last two years of The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise, 95 of the total 113 contestants have been white.”
To make things better, a new Change.org petition is calling for a change to the dating show franchise. In a new petition titled, Dear Channel Ten: You Have an Opportunity to Change for the Better; Use it or Lose us, fans are demanding that the show begin to represent the various ethnic backgrounds, orientations, religions and other cultures and identities that make up our community.
“The Australian Bachelor and Bachelorette, have repeatedly failed to reflect the reality of Australian society in its casting,” read the petition. “The values, ideas and opinions circulated through the show have become so monotonous as a result of this persistently homogenous casting.”
“The repetitive, predictable, heteronormative anglo-centric nature of the show enduring throughout times where issues around representation and equality are paramount, simply isn’t acceptable any longer.”
“Ethnic Background, Orientation, Religion. Show us people that look like all of Australia. Show us diversity; that is who we are as a nation and you have not represented us for who we are.”
In the lead up to the current season of The Bachelorette, fans advocated for a woman of colour to be the Bachelorette but were met with two blonde white sisters. In a season of Bachelor in Paradise also airing this year, a quote from the one Black person on the show was taken out of context and edited in promos as a joke about the different colour of his skin.
The Bachelor being largely unrealistic as a concept isn’t new, but its refusal to change with the times feels embarrassingly ignorant when compared with other shows airing. And, given that this year’s season of The Bachelorette has had the worst ratings in the show’s history, we are once again reminded that a study literally found that you lose money when you choose to make something not authentically diverse.
You can sign the petition to get more people from varied ethnic backgrounds, sexual and gender orientations and religions into The Bachelor franchise here.