by Nikki Idelson ’22 A&E Staff
Clare Crawley graced the screens of Bachelor Nation on Tuesday, Oct. 13. The Bachelorette will be airing every Tuesday night at 8 p.m. for the next 12 weeks. With COVID-19 delaying the show, safety considerations posed new challenges for the filming crew. Surprisingly, another new feature to the show is the Bachelorette herself.
At 39 years old, Clare Crawley is the oldest Bachelorette in all of The Bachelorette history. She was featured on Juan Pablo’s season of The Bachelor, two seasons of Bachelor in Paradise, as well as The Bachelor Winter Games. She has faced heartbreak, but has also treated each of these experiences as opportunities to learn and grow, saying, “With age comes more life experience and self confidence.”
However, she also experienced ageism in this season. CNN notes, “Up until Crawley’s season, the average age of the ‘Bachelorette’” was 27. The show has featured a woman in her 30s as the lead just twice.” This shows how The Bachelorette is beginning to break out of its age-old tradition of having solely individuals in their 20s on the show.
This ageism is demonstrated in the trailer at least twice. One contestant storms off, shouting, “I expected way more from the oldest Bachelorette.” In another scene, Crawley is in tears, yelling, “Sick, sick! I don’t care what I’ve done, to sit there and say ‘You‘re the oldest Bachelorette that’s 39 that’s standing here single,’ it’s because I didn’t settle for men like that.” These two instances show that ageism led the contestants to expect her to act a certain way simply because she is the oldest Bachelorette.
Further, Crawley has faced the unfair assumption that she should simply accept however she is treated and take whatever she is given because she is “single at 39.” However, Crawley has fought against this idea In the above quote, she is essentially saying that she is not single because she is “difficult” but, instead, because she will not settle for just anyone. With this season of The Bachelorette, Crawley has fought against the harmful stereotype that if an individual has not found their “soulmate” by the time they hit their mid-30s, then they should, and are expected to, throw in the towel completely and stop searching.
However, with Crawley being the Bachelorette, she has shown that one can find love and be desirable even at an older age. She has even turned her age into a positive attribute, saying in an interview with Good Morning America, “I feel like a lot of people put [my age] out there as a negative thing. But for me, it is just more years under my belt, more learning and knowing what I want, what I don’t want, and what I won’t settle for.” Crawley has emphasized that women should not settle for or accept poor treatment simply because they want to find love before they hit their mid-30s, but they should instead understand that they deserve to be treated well, and, therefore, should not settle or give up on finding love.
Melissa Silverstein, the founder and publisher of Women and Hollywood, said that this season of The Bachelorette helps to show that “romance and sexuality aren’t just for the young.” This season will be monumental in helping to change this stereotype and show that women can find love at any age.