For Our Consideration: The Bachelor shows the power of female friendships over competition

“I’m not here to make friends” is such a common refrain on competitive reality shows, it’s become a cliché. The Bachelor, now in its 20th season, has women compete to “win” the bachelor, with each episode showing roughly one week in the process of the eligible man getting to know his suitors. Episodes are heavily edited so each week contains a narrative arc of tension, drama, and resolution. The bulk of the episodes are dedicated to showing the growing relationships between the bachelor (this season, it’s Ben Higgins) and those competing for him, but in the margins we see the relationships between the women. And while “I’m not here to make friends” has surely been uttered by more than one Bachelor contestant, making friends is exactly what happens on the show.

We don’t see much of it. The relationships between the contestants are only given …

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