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The ‘Bachelor’ franchise isn’t known for body inclusivity. One suitor on Jenn Tran’s ‘Bachelorette’ season is attracting fans’ attention.

The ‘Bachelor’ franchise isn’t known for body inclusivity. One suitor on Jenn Tran’s ‘Bachelorette’ season is attracting fans’ attention.

As Bachelor Nation eagerly awaits Bachelorette Jenn Tran’s upcoming season, which premieres July 8, ABC unveiled the cast of 25 hopefuls competing for her roses.

The network released the suitors’ photos and bios on June 3. Among the men, whose listed occupations range from pet portrait entrepreneur to sommelier, there’s one contestant generating buzz among the fandom.

Some fans have singled out 28-year-old Brett Harris, a health and safety manager from Manheim, Pa., for defying the franchise’s rigid casting trend.

On ABC’s Instagram post previewing the season’s men, commenters shared their excitement for Harris to make his franchise debut, with some already calling for him to be the next Bachelor.

“About time we got a bigger guy on these shows let’s go Brett,” one wrote.

“Brett is going to be our season favorite,” another commented.

“Now I wanna see some body inclusiveness on the Bachelor seasons for the women,” one person wrote.

While the Bachelor franchise is a pillar in reality television, it has often been criticized for its lack of body inclusivity among its leads and contestants.

Roses for Every Body, an online campaign demanding body inclusion in the Bachelor universe, has long been critical of the franchise’s failure to include people with diverse body types in its shows. In 2022, the group launched its “Fat Bachelor Inclusion Campaign,” along with a petition that has over 11,000 signatures, calling for the series’ creator and production companies to “stand against anti-fat bias in their show.”

The group, which prefers to speak collectively under the Roses for Every Body name, told Yahoo Entertainment that it is “cautiously excited” about Harris being cast this season.

“The Bachelor franchise has had a combined 49 seasons with roughly 1,300 contestants, and Brett will be the third person who would be even remotely considered not thin. Both, before him, were sent home on night one,” Roses for Every Body said.

Bo Stanley, a surfer and model, competed on Bachelor Chris Soules’s season in 2015, while Bryan Witzmann, a former professional football player, appeared on Bachelorette Michelle Young’s season in 2021. Roses for Every Body previously told Yahoo that they “were both sent home on night one, with less than a minute of screen time each.”

“Brett’s casting matters because positive romantic media representation of fat people can lead towards breaking down anti-fat bias and helping dismantle systemic oppression,” the group said. “It matters because audiences want to see themselves represented.”

Jordan Cagle, 26, a body acceptance and style influencer in Ashland, Ky., told Yahoo that Harris’s casting is “major” for both reality television and body inclusivity in general.

“Casting a fat-presenting individual on what is arguably the most well-known romantic reality show gives hope to a group of people who were taught from an early age that no one wants to be with ‘someone like them,’” she said. “I can only hope ABC is finally listening.”

Yahoo Entertainment reached out to ABC and Warner Bros., which produces the series, for comment but did not immediately hear back.

Cagle, who watches the Bachelor franchise shows along with other reality TV series, said the genre has played a role not only in how fat people are perceived by others, but also in how they perceive themselves.

“I know that fat people are deserving of praise, success, stardom, love and everything else that comes with being a fully-fledged person. But when you aren’t seeing that on a regular basis, you begin to forget,” she explained. “You try to rationalize these negative thoughts and begin to agree with the uninformed public. I can never tell if I’m a hypocrite for watching the show or if I’m just another fat woman tired of being told I can’t participate.”

While 1 out of 25 straight-size men is, to Cagle, “a bit underwhelming,” she still welcomes this moment as a victory.

“I want to see people who look like me fall in love, and I want people to know that plus-size people have options!” she said.

“There has been a push for body size inclusivity for years at this point, and true to form, The Bachelor [and The Bachelorette] are behind on the times,” Roses for Every Body said, adding that the franchise has a tendency to “tokenize” certain contestants once every few years.

The group’s members aren’t holding their breath that Brett isn’t “forced to talk about food” and makes it past the premiere on night one.

“While we’re excited and hopeful this is the beginning of a shift in casting, we’re tired of praising the franchise for one non-thin contestant every few years,” the group explained. “If the Bachelor franchise wants to make lasting changes within the show instead of doing the bare minimum, they should take our demands seriously.”

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