- DEMI LYNCH -
Like many of you I've been spending my Wednesday and Thursday nights watching the latest season of The Bachelorette.
Although the season has been groundbreaking for Indigenous people and the Queer community, tokenism is still clearly evident in the franchise.
Since being eliminated from the show, Ritu Chhina has spoken out against the show's tokenistic inclusion of Queer Asian women.
"I wouldn't say I had any major concerns around racism but as to be expected, I did feel tokenised purely because I was one of the only few queer POC (people of colour) actually involved with the show," she told Refinery 29 Australia.
Her sister Ria has also called out The Bachelorette for "how they represented her sister," she posted a video on TikTok speaking about her sister's experience on the show.
"They [The Bachelorette] think just having POCs in the background they deserve an award for that," she says, "the reason my sister wanted to go on the show was to represent the Indian community and show our culture and show other Indian Queers that it is okay to be Queer; and she got to show none of it."
Ria says she's disappointed the reality series wouldn't give Ritu the chance to show her culture to viewers across Australia.
“Why would you have a POC on the show, especially an Indian woman or of any culture, and not let them show the culture?" she says, "that’s what irks me.”
This isn't the first time the franchise has been accused of dismissing POC contestants - Areeba Emmanuel was villianised, Niranga Amarasinghe and Vakoo Kauapirura barely got any screen time, Carlos Fang didn't make it past the first rose ceremony, producers cast Sogand Mohtat and Danush Deravi as 'Persian rivalries,' and Brooke Blurton's sexuality was used as clickbait.
Yeah... the Bachelor and Bachelorette don't have a good history when it comes to tokenism and racism.
A Network 10 spokesperson says the show is committed to having a diverse cast.
“Eligible contestants on all Network 10 shows are considered regardless of race or background," they said, "Network 10 takes its commitment to diversity seriously and we cast as broadly as possible across our entire slate.”
Let's hope in future seasons we not only get a diverse cast but we also see POC contestants given more air time.
Or even better - can we please FINALLY have a POC contestant win The Bachelor or The Bachelorette - one can dream!
Featured Image: The Bachelor / Network Ten