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St. Sabina’s Pfleger takes on ‘The Bachelor’ for degrading women

Rev. Michael Pfleger | Scott Stewart~Sun-Times

Rev. Michael Pfleger | Scott Stewart~Sun-Times

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Updated: February 21, 2012 8:38AM



He’s led headline-grabbing campaigns against tobacco and alcohol billboards and the sale of drug paraphernalia in inner city neighborhoods and against suburban gun shops he says make it far too easy for guns to enter those communities.

The Rev. Michael Pfleger has challenged gangsta and other disrespectful rappers whose lyrics degrade women, picketed “The Jerry Springer Show” for doing the same, and blasted radio shock jock Howard Stern as being sleazy and disrespecting black folks.

Now, the outspoken pastor of St. Sabina Catholic Church is taking on reality TV — specifically, “The Bachelor.”

“I can’t believe that organizations like the National Organization for Women and others are not condemning shows like this. It just made me sick,” says Pfleger, who said he discovered the show while channel surfing Monday night.

The ABC series — featuring a dating competition where a male contestant must choose from among a gaggle of women who are eliminated over the course of the season until one remains — premiered in March 2002.

“I hadn’t really watched it,” says Pfleger.

“I’d gotten home that evening and was kind of channel surfing when I came across it, and thought, well, let me watch it. I probably caught the last half hour, and I was just sitting there feeling angry,” he said.

“This whole concept, I mean, how sick is this that 25 women are throwing their bodies and their hearts at this one man, who is having all these little romantic runs with the different women here and there, and the women are doing whatever they gotta do to try and get him. How degrading is this for women?” the South Side priest said.

“I mean these women were crying their eyes out when they weren’t accepted, and one even fell out on the floor, and I’m just amazed that this show is allowed to go on,” he said. “What is this teaching our young girls about what it takes to gain the acceptance of a man, and doing whatever you gotta do to sell yourself?”

Publicists for the show, which also spawned a version for male suitors, “The Bachelorette,” now in its seventh season, declined to respond to the priest’s searing criticism. “Sorry, we have no comment,” said New York publicist Cathy Rehl.

Pfleger initially made his comments about the show during a Bible study class at his church earlier in the week.

Pfleger said “The Bachelor” and similar shows are just as egregious as the rappers who degrade women with their lyrics.

“To me, this is just as negative,” he said. “And if we’re going to condemn negative rappers, particularly African-American rappers, calling women names and degrading them, which is wrong, then let’s equally do it with shows like ‘The Bachelor.’ The whole principle of this show is wrong.

“The women cry, fight and plot against each other, acting as if they are a piece of meat being dangled from a hook for the bachelor’s selection,” Pfleger said. “In one episode, the bachelorettes climbed the San Francisco [Bay] Bridge and even went skiing in bikinis. They fell and purposely bent over just so the bachelor could see their most private parts. The whole thing should just make us all sick.”



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