For the first time, The Bachelorette has taken the unprecedented path of having two leads, Rachel Recchia and Gabby Windey, but this has been problematic not only for them, but for the men as well. Rachel and Gabby are best friends, and they are navigating the uncharted waters of this journey together. Although most of the attention has been on why it is wrong for Rachel and Gabby to be pitted against each other, especially after what they went through on Clayton Echard’s season of The Bachelor, the new format is also unfair to the men.
The season began with the men meeting both women at the same time, and then accepting roses, which meant that they were interested in pursuing both women. Some of the men decided almost immediately which woman they wanted to date, but others were torn between the two of them. When Rachel and Gabby felt that this arrangement was no longer working for them because they felt that the men had too much control, they abruptly decided to change the rules. They felt that the men had all of the power, and they wanted to shift the decision-making back to them. On the latest Bachelorette episode, host Jesse Palmer announced to the men that the cocktail party would be cancelled and that they would have to decide who they wanted to pursue: Rachel or Gabby. If they accepted a rose that night, it would be for either Rachel or Gabby exclusively.
Some of the men who had not had enough time with either woman to make an informed decision were blindsided by this development, especially since they had planned on taking time at the cocktail party to speak to them. Each guy was now put on the spot to make a commitment to a woman some of them had barely gotten the chance to know, and to accept a rose that meant that they were ready to possibly get engaged to either Rachel or Gabby at the end of the season. There are a number of reasons why the two Bachelorette format is unfair to the men, as well as to Rachel and Gabby.
Some of The Bachelorette season 19 guys have been unreasonably painted as villains, just because they chose one of the women over the other. On the most recent episode, Gabby was very upset when she was rejected by Tyler Norris, Hayden Markowitz, and Jacob Rapini, all of whom said that they would rather pursue Rachel than her. Tyler was more gentle when he told Gabby about his decision, while Hayden called her “rough around the edges,” and Jacob said that if she were the only Bachelorette, he would have left the show. While both Hayden and Jacob should have been more sensitive and tactful when they spoke to Gabby, they were doing exactly what the women wanted: being transparent about their feelings. This does not make them bad people.
On the other hand, the audience has seen Logan Palmer torn between the two women after he chose Rachel. Is he really a villain because he is unsure which of the two women that he just met he wants to possibly marry? In real life, as long as he was honest about it and the women knew, he could date both of them and make his decision later. However, Logan was put on the spot before the rose ceremony, and now he might regret his decision. Although the men knew that they would have to choose between bachelorettes Gabby and Rachel eventually, they did not know that it would be on the night of that particular rose ceremony. The men then had to choose between them quite quickly, and, for the few who were still not sure, this was unfair.
Similarly, the men who rejected Rachel’s roses for Gabby at the rose ceremony were treated unfairly. The power was shifted back to the women as they offered roses to the men of their choice, but is finding love really supposed to be a power play? Termayne Harper, Alec Garza, and James “Meatball” Clarke told Rachel that they could not accept her roses and were sent home when Gabby did not offer them one, which was reasonable. However, the problem with the new format was revealed when Meatball was then shown changing his mind after the rose ceremony, and asking Rachel for another chance. This was because he had not spent a lot of time getting to know Rachel before the ceremony, and he did not know what to do when he was forced to make a split-second decision. This was an unfair position to put him in, and it made him look indecisive. However, this was not exclusive to Meatball because most of the people on this season of The Bachelorette, including Rachel and Gabby, have been confused so far because there are so many variables involved when there are two leads.
The two Bachelorette format was supposed to empower Rachel Recchia and Gabby Windey, but, in the process, it is playing mind games with the men. While the women have been very sensitive to the guys’ feelings and have tried to make them feel comfortable in this situation, the nature of the show is causing people to feel confused, upset, and rejected. Although the show is Rachel and Gabby’s second chance at love, viewers must not forget that the men are human beings with feelings as well, who make mistakes and who need time to make decisions. Hopefully, as the season progresses, the path to true love will be smoother for everyone involved.