Real men watch “The Bachelor.”
I know I just alienated half of the people reading this, but bear with me.
Last Monday, I sat down to watch “The Bachelor” with five of my closest friends. Why does this seem noteworthy? Because four of them were male, all of them straight.
I happily told this to everyone. My Hill hall is cool. We defy stereotypes. We bond all over again over “The Bachelor.” Does your hall?
The gents, however, were not so eager to share the information. They didn’t want to tell all their friends that they spent two hours watching Sean Lowe and one lucky lady try to find true love on reality TV. That last part seems impossible, but this happens every Monday.
I took a poll of the room and discovered that two of them would go on “The Bachelor” simply to find true love and three would go on it if ABC offered them $100,000. The fourth said it would take $500,000 to convince him, but he’s difficult.
He’s also the one who said, “I definitely didn’t love it. I may have enjoyed it more than I’d like to admit, though.”
Why don’t guys stereotypically enjoy shows like “The Bachelor,” and why won’t they admit it if they do?
To figure this out, I turned to the man of all men in my eyes — my dad. “Dad, why won’t you watch ‘The Bachelor’ with me?” I asked.
“I just don’t care,” he said. “Guys don’t invest in stuff like that. It’s the same reason I don’t watch ‘American Idol’ and ‘The X Factor’ with your mother. Men don’t get as emotionally wrapped up as easily as women.”
Shows that require some level of commitment — some level of emotional investment — seem “feminine” because emotional investment is stereotypically a feminine quality.
Guys, you can emotionally invest yourselves without seeming less masculine.
In the past few decades, various parties have worked to dismantle gender stereotyping. In 1982, Bruce Feirstein took a tongue-in-cheek approach to domestic stereotypes in his book “Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche.” He satirizes the philosophy of what constitutes a “real” man, arguing that if a man lacks the self-assurance to comfortably eat a breakfast egg dish because he fears not conforming, what kind of a “real” man is he?
The American Cancer Society launched its Real Men Wear Pink campaign in the early 2000s to target something more abstract than meal choice: color. Branding its slogan on T-shirts, billboards and commercials, the Society made a statement about men’s aversion to supposed displays of femininity and simultaneously increased breast cancer awareness and support.
These campaigns have been successful. They have made inroads to a male bastion: pro sports, as both the Pro Rodeo and the National Football League now sponsor events in pink. Quiche and pink are no longer affronts to a man’s masculinity. And now comes my campaign: Real Men Watch “The Bachelor.”
I’m not saying that all men have to love “The Bachelor.” Or “American Idol,” quiche and pink. I surely don’t. The drama can be overbearing, and for some people, it’s just not their cup of tea.
However, a guy should not refuse to watch — or deny he watches — any of the aforementioned shows because others don’t deem them “manly.”
I’m encouraging emotional attachment. I’m — gasp — proposing that men get a little more comfortable with their feelings and that women, myself included, stop getting excited when guys do express emotion. Men, break the stereotype — one that should not still exist — on campus and in the larger public and indulge.
Guilty pleasures — such as cheap TV drama — are not just reserved for women. In an article for 34th Street earlier this week, College junior Zacchaius McKee stated, “We spend far too much of our lives being embarrassed about the things we genuinely find amusing … And I don’t want to be judged for it.” He enjoys “Say Yes to the Dress” and “High School Musical,” and I think most men would if they gave them the chance.
So men, find a guilty pleasure. Emotionally invest in something. Become attached. And then relish in it. It will be the beginning of an acceptable pastime, not the end of your uber-masculine selves.
Morgan Jones is a College junior from Colorado Springs, Co. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or send her a tweet @morganjo_. “Nuggets of Wisdom” appears every Thursday.