I will admit it. I love the show, The Bachelorette. My addiction to watching it started the first season in 2003 when the infamous Trista and Ryan found love on reality television. I felt somewhat personally connected to the show because at that time my academic advisor at Michigan State University for soccer (the office I spent the majority of my free time in just because I loved her company) was Trista’s first cousin. I have been hooked since.
See, Trista and Ryan set the bar high. Since their season, post-show breakups have seemed to occur often, love has happened quickly, and faded even quicker, and hearts broken—all on national television. The initial perfect love story has become a show filled with endless drama. And, the one contestant who has been made to appear the most dramatic has been “Ashley I.” who has appeared on The Bachelor, Bachelor in Paradise (2x), and The Bachelor Winter Games.
In case you aren’t familiar, Ashley claimed she fell in love at first sight with Jared H. three years ago on Bachelor in Paradise. She has been so incredibly emotional that she developed the nickname, “the crying girl,” with the reputation of being crazy, obsessive, and possessive. Jared made it very clear they were just good friends while he became wrapped up in other serious relationships.
Now you’re wondering why I am writing on a contestant of The Bachelor franchise who relentlessly chased her Prince Charming. The Bachelorette Season 14 premieres tonight (May 28, 2018). Ironically, just last week, Ashley and Jared publicly announced that after meeting three summers ago on Bachelor in Paradise, they’re finally together.
Ashley has literally spent THREE YEARS chasing, begging, hoping, and praying that Jared would change his mind, and fall in love with her. Tears, drama, emotional turmoil, tension, hysteria, and a yearning for romance was what viewers have witnessed in Ashley I.
So, when Jared posted his first picture of them in swimsuits on a beach holding hands and revealing his love for her on Instagram, I have one major issue: Why the hell did she feel the need to reply to his post (and the world) saying, “Plus 10 pounds on those curves?”
He has 561K followers, and she has 918K, totaling 1,479,000 followers. These followers know damn well how hard she has worked to get to this place, and how much she should just be basking in her dream come true. But, instead, she commented about her weight gain in a picture that shows a body most girls would die to flaunt.
What are young girls thinking? If Ashley I. is disappointed in her body, and she is skinny, toned, and healthy appearing, then what are we? Fat? Gross? Unattractive? In a society where the perception of beauty is based on body and weight, it is going to take celebrities like Ashley I. to make statements about what beauty should truly be defined as—being kind, compassionate, gentle, and sweet.
Fifteen years ago exactly I developed an eating disorder. Ironically, this was the same year The Bachelorette premiered its first season. And, while there is no one single cause of eating disorders, research is increasingly clear that media does contribute, and that exposure to and pressure exerted by media increase body dissatisfaction and disordered eating.
The damage her one comment on social media is making on girls is significant (even if unintentional). Therefore, I wish Ashley would’ve used her platform to have a more positive influence on her followers related to body image and weight. Despite this major oversight, I am genuinely happy for Ashley and Jared. Everybody deserves happiness and love. And, there is nothing better than seeing two people find it. And, finally, I am wishing Becca the best, and am only hoping she finds herself love, too, on this upcoming season of The Bachelorette.