TV

The Sexist Double Standard on "The Bachelorette"

On The Bachelorette, it's a woman who bears the burden of other people's opinions about her choices and who's saddled with the repercussions. Why?

ABC

The main Bachelorettes effected.

Before Nick Viall became a Bachelor Nation staple, he was the guy who confronted his ex, Bachelorette Andi Dorfman, on national television.

"Knowing how in love with you I was, if you weren't in love with me, I'm just not sure why you made love with me," he said accusingly. Dorfman retorted that was "below the belt" and should "be kept private."

What Nick Viall divulged might have been met with pity if a woman had expressed it—because men take advantage of women all the time. But on The Bachelor, no woman has taken issue with the leading man being intimate with another woman. In contrast, time and time again, the men on The Bachelorette become possessive and force the female contestant to defend her actions, specifically her sexual decisions. It's clear that the Bachelor can have sex with his female suitors whenever he pleases and receive no backlash from the contestants or from Bachelor Nation.

Bachelorette Finale - Nick Confronts Andi About Sex Suite www.youtube.com

Meanwhile, Dorfman received a lot of flack for hurting Nick's feelings. Similarly, the following bachelorette, Kaitlyn Bristowe, also received backlash for having sex with Nick Viall before the "fantasy suites." It's an unspoken rule that the fantasy suites are where the final four contestants are free to do whatever they want during their first time away from the cameras. The production team typically stocks the suite with sweets, alcohol, and condoms for each pair's indulgence.

For Nick to have sex with Bristowe before the "fantasy suite" format seemed hypocritical. Here we had a man who implied that Dorfman was cruel to have sex with him because she did not end up committing to him. A year later, Nick even defended Kaitlyn's choice to have sex with him on the show, tweeting, "Sex is not shameful. Whether we want to admit it or not, sex is an important part of many serious and meaningful relationships." While Nick has since apologized, it's still important to acknowledge that he shamed Dorfman for her sexual expression in front of millions. Yet, it was Bristowe and Dorfman who received the brunt of the backlash, with people across the nation slut-shaming them, while Nick got away scot-free.

Last night, yet another Bachelorette had to address a man's issue with her sexual actions. While on her first one-on-one date in Latvia, Hannah and Garrett bungee jumped naked (as is Latvian tradition). The date was riveting, vulnerable, and fun. It was an experience for the couple and the viewers.

When Garrett came back from his date, he giddily recounted it to the other men, but resident villain Luke P. did not receive the news of the naked bungee jumping kindly. He told the camera that he didn't believe Hannah would do that, and if she did, it'd be a slap in the face to him.

On their group date, Hannah referred to her date with Garrett and confirmed what Garrett said. Reality finally hit Luke P., and he was pissed. During the evening portion of the date, he took Hannah aside to "clarify" what happened on her one-on-one with Garrett and express how he felt about it. He began by referring to her body as "a temple," then cited her nude bungee jumping as "a slap in the face"; he concluded by divulging that he's no longer "confident" that he wants her to meet his family now. When Hannah reacted poorly to this, he put his foot farther in his mouth by trying to win her back, claiming that he'll always stick by her whenever she makes "boneheaded mistakes."

'You Don't Own My Body': Hannah B Slams Luke P. Over Sexist Comments www.youtube.com

Still mulling over the alarming conversation with Luke, Hannah decided to sit down with him on the day of the cocktail party. She addressed her concerns, which included the language he used, calling her nude bungee jumping a "boneheaded mistake" and using his family against her. But, all that aside, Hannah informed Luke P. that at this point, he shouldn't even be concerned with what goes on in her other relationships because, "You're not my husband. You don't own my body. You don't own me. It's my body." Luke P. claimed that she completely misunderstood him. He told her that she might not be remembering everything correctly and that she was twisting his language. Luke P. backtracking in such a manipulative and outright dishonest fashion furthers the argument that he's not only a pathological liar, but downright emotionally abusive.

Their interaction seems to be only the beginning of what's to come. The Bachelorette has teased Hannah's iconic line, "I have had sex and Jesus still loves me!" for weeks now and recently revealed Luke P. is on the receiving end of the sentiment. It's obvious that the narrative around sex and religion will come to a head this season, which will hopefully put The Bachelor franchise's slut-shaming to bed. As much as the franchise supposedly tries to uplift their "independent" women, the Bachelorette constantly has to reassure the men, reassert her strength, and defend her actions: a phenomenon that will most likely persist, since it appears that many men still can't understand that a woman's body belongs only to her.

Recently, host Chris Harrison suggested that The Bachelor franchise has showcased the changing realities of dating. Alas, that's true. As much as The Bachelor franchise wants to keep up with the times, The Bachelorette still plays into damaging stereotypes about relationships, gender roles, and how some men on The Bachelorette react poorly to not controlling the female lead. Luke P. isn't the first contestant, nor will he be the last, to impose his expectations of what a woman should or should not do with her body. As such, The Bachelorette reinforces the double standard that a woman can't express the same bodily autonomy and decision-making as a man.

You know those movies that have been parodied, memed, and referenced so much that you feel like you've seen them–but you never have and, honestly, why would you bother?

You know that at the end of Taxi Driver Travis Bickle may or may not hallucinate a violent episode, and you've seen people dress up in Robert De Niro's utility jacket, black shades, and weird Roman soldier haircut at every Halloween party you've ever attended. You know that Scarface's Tony Montana screams, "Say hello to my little friend" while wearing a suit with giant lapels and holding a machine gun. How do you know this? No, you've never seen the movie; the fact is that the sheer masterpiece of a few key scenes capturing the climax of a film can overshadow the entire production. Sure, you want to sit down to watch them "one day," but you just never get around to it.

Keep Reading Show less
TV

"The Bachelorette" Episode 2 Recap: A Crossover Event for Millennials

The gag-worthy event struck a cord and a nerve for viewers, reminding us how the show is attempting to rebrand as inclusive and modern.

ABC

Alyssa Edwards and J. Alexander ogling a contestant in a speedo.

The takeaway from Episode 1 was "be honest." For Episode 2, it's "be bold." Take a shot whenever Hannah says, "Be Bold."

The Group Date: Exciting Takeaways

In the best kept "secret" since Kylie Jenner's pregnancy, Alyssa Edwards and Alaska, the Drag Race sensations, were featured on this past episode. Let's not forget Miss J. Alexander, the runway fanatic and America's Next Top Model phenomenon! All three were guest judges on a panel for the first group date of the season: a pageant. The men on the date endured a thong contest and a talent portion to win the title of Mr. Right!

The challenge was to be yourself and, again, be bold. It was their chance to fight hyper-masculinity and show vulnerability in what Hannah called "showing up!"

As an audience, we got to ogle alongside the fabulous guests and Hannah. The men strutted their stuff, some with singles tucked in their thongs—thank goodness for John Paul (fuck yes) Jones.

Ass-slapping aside, the free-for-all moment felt like a gross callback to the gender-flipping narrative of last season. If Colton had been a woman, would all the jokes have been acceptable? And if Hannah were in the position of these men, strutting down the runway in a bikini, would it seem more like a Magic Mike showdown or a Playboy Bunny drool-fest?

Although the segment was fantastic fun, the guests this week felt reminiscent of Billy Eichner's appearance, following a pattern of gay guests serving as forms of entertainment, sideshows, and commentators.

While watching, it's hard not to remember how heteronormative the show continues to be with 20+ seasons. For a show to consider itself a reflection and evolution of American dating since the early 2000s reaffirmed the question: When will other sexualities receive representation beyond fluff?

Many missteps aside, the talent portion fulfilled the fun quota. Watching John Paul Jones on a unicycle and Mike Johnson walk in heels just to "walk in her shoes" ( swoon) reminded the viewers that this season is about finding a guy that goes all in.

Meanwhile, the narrative arc between Jed and Luke P. was only festering. The heart-throb singer-songwriter from Nashville, Jed, sung his way to what viewers would see as the top until Luke P. "performed." A collective groan was heard nationwide as Luke P. not only did not perform a talent, but annoyingly professed he was in fact already falling in love with Hannah after spending a total of two hours with her!

In the evening, Hannah continued her infatuated mess with Luke P. because, "He's saying everything my heart wants to hear!" The red flag may not be waving in her face yet, but the other men were surely aware of his games. Mike Johnson, the stud, put it best, "You a dog. I don't want her emotions to be rattled." But after a soothing and genuine conversation between Jed and Hannah, Jed won the night and this round.

One-On-One: Snooze

popdust The Bachelorette episode 2 recap

Tyler G., who Hannah described as "Tim Tebow but hotter," got the first one-on-one. They flew in a helicopter and slung some mud (you know, typical date stuff). Tyler G. may seem well-meaning, but nothing was memorable about this date beyond Hannah's strung-out syllables trying to fill the silence. Out of compassion and understanding, Hannah gave him the rose. Next!

Second Group Date: Fine

The season is going to be an active one. The second group date was a roller derby competition between the green team and the orange team. Lots of men fell, but the nose ring guy fell hard and got up to win the whole thing.

Like every season, the injured man gets extra attention. So, Dustin (nose ring guy) had his moment and a smooch with our Bachelorette. It was quite steamy.

Cut-to-Cam (you know, the man whose catchphrase is "ABC: Always Be Cam," but it might as well be what viewers have memed " Anyone But Cam"). The googly-eyed software engineer showed up uninvited, bringing cheap flowers to a shocked and visibly confused Hannah.

The men did not take kindly to this. Not just one, but three men interrupted Cam's talking head to set him straight.

Some of the best lines:

  • Tyler C. to Cam, "I'm gonna go back to my girl."
  • Cam to Garrett, "I respect you coming at me."
  • Kevin to Cam, "I hope it pans out."

The men, Kevin especially, seemed the utmost frustrated by the distraction of Cam's presence. With Hannah giving the rose to Dustin, the evening ended with a mediocre goodnight.

The Rose Ceremony: Justice for Nugs

The evening began with an anti-climatic speech by a tear-shedding Bachelorette. No one knew what was happening. "I'm just so blessed," she said. Okay?

After an odd start, Kevin finally had his one-on-one time—just to be interrupted by Cam. Ugh, Cam. He invited Hannah AND Kevin to a magical little heart shaped blanket where he goes on to expose his surprise (nuggets) and then the bigger surprise (honey mustard)!

Kevin, obviously frustrated, walked away with the leftover nuggets. The men were pressed enough for Kevin to let off steam just as Cam re-enters the scene. How did Kevin handle his frustration? HE THREW THE NUGGETS AT CAM! Not to say Cam didn't deserve it, but why waste perfectly good food on a fool!

Meanwhile, the real contenders were battling it out. Luke P. took Hannah away to show her he's good with his hands ( eek). She loved it so much that she took off his shirt. Insert Jed. Not only were the viewers basically watching soft core porn, but so was poor, sweet Jed.

Hannah, noticeably embarrassed, had no idea what to do. One startled twitter user even confused Hannah's f-bombs for an emergency flood warning.

Hannah then slinked out of the mansion to manage the dilemma. Jed, like the class act he is, may have been in an uncomfortable situation, but took the moment to relate to Hannah. Jed knew jealousy gains nothing.

At the rose ceremony, nothing exciting happened, unless you find excitement in pain-staking close-ups on the faces of men we're supposed to care about as they sweat out the inevitable moment when Cam receives the last rose. Obviously, The Bachelorette needed to keep their lesser villain to rattle the other men.

Afterwards, the real villain snuck upstairs to interrupt Hannah's confessional. Luke P. whisked Hannah into his arms to manipulatively assure her that she can trust him. Their undeniable sexual connection left Hannah's chest booming, but what about her heart?

NEXT EPISODE ON THE BACHELORETTE...