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‘The Bachelor’ Wants to Talk About Body Image? Really?!


‘The Bachelor’ Wants to Talk About Body Image? Really?!

On Monday night, The Bachelor staged another group date steeped in vulnerable conversation. As we’ve seen increasingly in recent years on Bachelor/ette, producers once more put some chairs in a circle for some tearful heart-to-hearts between Clayton Echard and his contestants. And while several contestants shared candid accounts of moments they’ve disliked themselves, it was the Bachelor whose disclosure might make the greatest impact.

After multiple contestants shared their experiences with body image issues, the former NFL player shared his own experience with body dysmorphia as a teenager. Considering how little-discussed male eating disorders and body dysmorphia are, this conversation could be seen as a step forward—at least, if it had happened on basically any other show.

It’s hard not to eye-roll a bit when one remembers the setting in which all of this is taking place—a franchise so fatphobic that it’s featured only one plus-sized contestant in 20 years. (And lest we forget, that one contestant, Bo Stanley, went home on Night One during Chris Soules’ season in 2015—an exit deemed so unremarkable that we never saw it on screen.)

Kaitlyn Bristowe, who met Clayton when he competed on Michelle Young’s Bachelorette season, moderated Monday’s discussion. Contestants were asked to stand if there were things about themselves they disliked; everyone rose from their seats and soon enough, they dug into the specifics.

One of the most harrowing disclosures came from Hunter Haag, who recalled a toxic relationship in which she dyed her hair and purchased color contacts to please a controlling boyfriend who also compared her body to those of other women. She recalled going to the gym “to get this body that was impossible for me to achieve.” Another contestant, Serene Russell, opened up about being “anorexic” in her youth, which prompted her to overeat in an attempt to gain weight.

Soon enough, Clayton shared his own experience. “When I was younger,” he said, “I hated who I was just by waking up every day and seeing somebody I wished I didn’t see.”

In seventh grade, Clayton said, he…

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