Here for the Right Reasons: The Bachelor at Twenty

deadline for submissions: 
July 15, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Contemporaries at Post45
contact email: 

Call for Submissions

Here for the Right Reasons: The Bachelor at Twenty

On the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the premiere of The Bachelor (March 22, 2002), we seek submissions of abstracts for articles for a Contemporaries cluster devoted to the franchise. Since its premiere, the show has spawned a legion of spinoffs (The Bachelorette, Bachelor Pad, Bachelor in Paradise, Winter Games) as well as imitators and fictionalizations (Love Island, FBOY Island, UnREAL). The franchise also comprises a prodigious fanbase known as Bachelor Nation that encompasses a cottage industry of influencers, podcasters, and recappers.

This cluster will pay particular attention to The Bachelor’s place in the contemporary cultural landscape. Recently, the show has made vexed attempts to reflect the current political moment without revising its foundational structures that rely on the retrograde fantasy of white, heterosexual, able-bodied romance. Though the franchise approaches its twentieth anniversary, in its long run-time, it was not until 2017 when the first Black woman lead of the show was cast; 2019 when its first queer couple became engaged; 2021 when the first bi-racial Black male lead was cast; and summer 2021 when its first Black couple became engaged. Can we read these acts of inclusion as moments of progress? And even so, are they too little, too late for the franchise? Will these marginal narratives see a day where they warrant their own season? How does the show act as a present microcosm of our contemporary cultural climate?

While we continue to critique the ways the franchise relies on these structures, so many of us still watch, hopelessly devoted season after season. Accordingly, we invite pieces that help us to understand, in part, how and why the franchise has endured. What cultural, social, political, and aesthetic modes has it registered? What kinds of pleasures does it allow and foreclose? What role do fandom and rituals of watching play in its continuity and in its shifting character? What does The Bachelor’s now twenty-year run say about televisual culture’s past and its future?

There has been much written about the show in media and cultural studies. We seek essays that move beyond typical analyses of reality television tropes to analyze what The Bachelor means for contemporary culture now. We welcome critical essays, along with creative-critical considerations of the show such as personal essays, manifestoes, and polemics.

Potential topics could include analyzing The Bachelor franchise (inclusive of The Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise, Winter Games, etc.) in reference to:

-Economies of production and consumption

-COVID-19, quarantine, and production

-Race and gender

-Bodies and fatphobia

-(Dis)ability and mental (un)wellness, including analyses of malingering

-Sexuality, queerness, heteronormativity

-Social media as paratext


-Comparative analyses of The Bachelor and its spinoffs

-Comparative analyses of The Bachelor and other reality TV shows

-Genealogy/generations of the show, charting its changes

-Chris Harrison

-Work, labor, exploitation

-Franchise geography and architecture

-Mixed-race and bi-racial discourses

-”Cancel culture” and social media

-“Guilty pleasure” TV and other pedagogies of watching

-Vocabulary and neologisms

-Christianity and purity culture




-Form and aesthetics

About Contemporaries Clusters

Contemporaries is a forum published by Post45, a journal of contemporary literature. Contemporaries clusters are not peer reviewed, though they are thoroughly, thoughtfully edited by cluster editors and Contemporaries editors. Clusters offer writers a chance to write informally and directly about contemporary culture. Learn more and read essays from Contemporaries clusters to get a sense of what we’re looking for.

Who Can Submit

We’re looking for submissions from all writers and cultural critics who have something to say about The Bachelor. You don’t need to have an academic affiliation to submit.

How to Submit & Timeline

Please send 250 word abstracts/pitches outlining your potential article (targeted length for articles will be between 1500-3000 words), along with a 100 word bio that includes links to any previous writing that you’ve published to cluster co-editors Annie Bares ( and Rhya Moffitt ( by July 15, 2022.