June 8, 2005

If it Happens on TV, it MUST be True...


Does anyone remember that show, "Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire" that was on FOX a few years ago? To refresh your memory, Rick Rockwell, a supposed millionaire was selected as the ultimate bachelor, and several women competed for the opportunity to marry him at the end of the show. Darva Conger, a nurse, competed on the show and won.

What happened next was pure TV. Darva Conger wanted out....not just, "Maybe we can still be friends-out", but, "You're creepy and I never wanted this in the first place-out". Of course, she knew what was involved, went through the whole process of applying for the show, being interviewed, winning a place as a contestant, and fighting for the big prize. Later, she claimed that she didn't know what she was getting into and that this isn't the type of thing that she would do....blah, blah, blah.

I don't know why they popped into my head today, but it seems that marriage to a lot of people is just a big joke or a game. Now I know that I shouldn't take what happens on TV too seriously, but between "Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire" and "The Bachelor", it seems that marriage is seen as a gimmick.

I normally don't watch "The Bachelor", but I did this last season and I have to say that for the first time in a long time I was happy to see someone on TV have a little self-respect and restraint. Charlie O'Connell, brother of actor Jerry O'Connell, was this past season's bachelor. He actually decided to forego most of "The Bachelor's" traditional conventions and decided that rather than ask someone to MARRY HIM (after like a month) at the end of the show, he would ask for additional time to date these two girls and decide which one he really liked. Then, he'd decide later whether he and the winner are marriage material.

Now, I could go on and on about how dangerous a show like "The Bachelor" is to women, and about how it exploits women into thinking they need to ruthlessly compete with other women for a certain man, and that they can only win him over by conforming to his tastes, etc....but that's for a different post or a different blog. I think these women know what they are doing, but aren't clear on whether they *should* be doing it. Whatever.

Rather than rant about the show or the women, I just want to say something about the concept in general. Marriage is not a prize at the end of a competition. If anything, its the beginning of a long process that requires endurance and patience. What these shows tell people is that if you are married you have won, if you haven't you suck.

As an almost-married person, I am looking forward to getting married, but I don't see it as the end of a "game". I see it as the beginning of a challenge, an adventure, and a time that will present us with many rewards and changes. As a single person, I often felt like society was saying to me that unless you are married you simply don't count. There were plenty of times when I know some of my married friends didn't invite me somewhere because I didn't have a guy to accompany me...it wasn't couple-y enough for them.

That's why I hate these shows that both show distain for singlehood and a total lack of respect for marriage...They perpetuate these myths that single is bad at all costs and marriage is always preferred. These "either, or" assumptions make it impossible to live up to the media standard of what is "normal". Just by televising these shows, "normal" gets skewed...who even knows what "normal" is anymore?

Posted by tsch0020 at June 8, 2005 2:02 PM