Bachelorella Recap Week 3: Is this the season of gender equitable slut-shaming?

Chris macks on all the bitches. The bitches notice and get pissed.
Chris macks on all the bitches. The bitches notice and get pissed.

For no apparent reason, Jimmy Kimmel crashed The Bachelor this week. His presence was as inexplicable as it was painful—Kimmel mocked the series in ways that seemed more mean-spirited than clever, putting Chris and the bachelorettes on the spot and inserting himself into moments where he didn’t belong. I’m on Team Fallon in the late night wars anyway, but after watching last night’s episode, Jimmy Kimmel can go fuck himself.

I’m sorry, let me collect myself. Here’s why I’m so annoyed: Chris and Kaitlyn had a pretty great one-on-one date, going to Costco to buy supplies for a BBQ and then cooking a meal together for themselves and their third wheel. I loved it, a down to earth set-up that gave them time to get to know each other while doing something normal couples do all the time. Grocery shopping with a partner while you’re still in that honeymoon stage is a fun adventure, and it gave Kaitlyn a chance to calm down and show off her personality (this was the chick who made a ton of off-color sexual jokes in the premiere and seemed doomed). I’m a fan of Kaitlyn and her foul mouth, and so is Chris.

And then Kimmel decided to make her and Chris super uncomfortable by bringing up the fantasy suite. Talking about the fantasy suite is a quiet no-no on this bat shit show, because discussing how your boyfriend might fuck you and two other women in the span of three days makes everyone feel like shit—even the dude. Jimmy asks Kaitlyn if she’d be angry at her man for boning two other chicks, and she asserts that she wouldn’t be, because you cannot seem too jealous in the crazy logic of this franchise. She says it’s part of the process, and to her credit, she doesn’t seem like the easily threatened type anyway. “You can’t take out a car without test-driving it,” Kaitlyn says, her cool girl game face on. Fuck yeah pre-marital sex, yo.

Kimmel then does that frat bro thing where he turns to Chris and talks as if Kaitlyn is not present. “It’s not gonna get any better than this,” he says as they both chuckle. He points at her, a classic look how cool this chick is, you should totally bang her gesture I’ve been the recipient of at frat parties when boys start talking about my sex writing. Also, nice job referring to her as “it” and “this,” buddy.

Kimmel then advises Chris to have sex with as many women as possible before the season ends. More awkward laughter, more panic in Chris’s eyes, and then Kaitlyn does something beautiful. “I can hear you,” she reminds Kimmel, her smile intact. She laughs her deep chest laugh and then tacks on, “I’m just kidding.” Gurl, I love you. Throw shade and laugh it off all day please.

Addressing the weirdness of the fantasy suite is one thing, and I could have gotten behind Kimmel cleverly poking fun at how fucked up it is. Sites like Bustle congratulated him on it. Except he then got, um, really douchey and sexist. “You already told us you’re okay with it,” he dismisses Kaitlyn. “[Chris] already got the pass here.”

“The hall pass!” Kaitlyn jokes. “And then after, I get the hall pass too, right?”

“No, it’s not how we work,” Kimmel dismisses. Chris confirms, “This is one time, one sided.” Silly woman, thinking she can also fuck around like a man. Kaitlyn guffaws like a good sport, or maybe she genuinely doesn’t give a shit, I can’t tell.

Maybe I’m overreacting. Maybe it was all in good fun, and gender has nothing to do with it, etc. But does anyone else remember Andi, the most recent Bachelorette, getting so much shit for spending the night with both Nick and Josh? Still smarting from having been scorned and dumped before he got the chance to propose, Nick told Andi on live television, “If you weren’t in love with me, I’m just not sure why you made love with me.” The fantasy suite has a long history of being gendered in how it is framed and justified, and Chris gets lauded as a stud and told to fuck as many women as possible while Andi gets shamed on national television for not having treated sex like the meaningful experience it can be. My heart went out to Nick at the time, it really did. But it’s part of a larger trend I don’t like, god damn it.

And if Kaitlyn doesn’t win Chris’s final rose, which I kind of hope is the case, I’d watch the shit out of her as a sexually assertive, take no shit Bachelorette.

Interestingly, this week Chris also got called out directly by one of the ladies for making out with, like, everyone really quickly. Mackenzie, dim-witted little virgin-lover from last week’s purity myth episode, asked Chris what was up with that. “You remember how we kissed?” she asked, “Why are you kissing everyone else too?” Oh Mackenzie. Silly, young Mackenzie. She also thinks she’s the first girl he kissed, which is hilarious and sad.

Chris was, quite honestly, mortified and stumped. He explained he’s trying to be who he is and put himself out there. I wasn’t surprised he was at a loss for words: the boy got slut-shamed! On his own show! How often do you see that on national television? There are two sides to this: it is disrespectful to kiss eight different people in front of the other women you’re dating, etc, and the boy is moving fast. As Britt put it, “It’s fairly early and he’s kind of burning through ‘em.”

But Chris seems like he’s being genuine, if a bit stupid. “When there’s a moment with a person and feels right and makes sense, I’m going to do that,” he explains in a confessional. He wants to find his wife and be real, yo. Couples make out with each other’s faces.

And as previous Bachelor contestant and my personal classiness role model Sharleen points out in her recap, most of the time the women are kissing Chris, and quite aggressively at that. He’s a willing recipient, but it’s interesting to see how the dynamics play out when he is alone with each woman. Chris reminds me of that guy who gets cute in college after being a nerd in high school and is unexpectedly flooded by female attention: he wants to find that special lady, but he’s going to take his time thinning the herd. These women signed up knowing that was how the show functioned, and while I can understand Mackenzie’s confusion, she’s kind of a bitch for demanding an explanation of his behavior.

In conclusion, slut shaming is bad. Sexual double standards are bad. Also bad: fucked up power dynamics where one man dates thirty women and vice versa. This is Bachelorella, signing off.

And a gentle reminder that you can join my live-tweeting of each new episode on Monday nights, in case you want to witness gems like this:

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Ella Dawson is a rowdy millennial who cares too much about The Bachelor. Her passions include sexual health and education, feminist erotica and social media.

2 thoughts on “Bachelorella Recap Week 3: Is this the season of gender equitable slut-shaming?

  1. The fantasy suite?! I did *not* know that was a thing (it’s not on the UK version) and it sounds hellish.

    Also, I really liked this para, even though I disagree a bit: ‘Chris reminds me of that guy who gets cute in college after being a nerd in high school and is unexpectedly flooded by female attention: he wants to find that special lady, but he’s going to take his time thinning the herd. These women signed up knowing that was how the show functioned, and while I can understand Mackenzie’s confusion, she’s kind of a bitch for demanding an explanation of his behaviour.’

    I think sometimes we sign up for stuff thinking we can handle it, forgetting that we have no way of knowing whether we’ll form an emotional connection, and then being surprised when it hurts us. Is she kind of a bitch for demanding an explanation? Yes, but I think the ‘kind of’ is key – we all say stuff we know is not logical or reasonable when we’re hurting, and having to cope with being hurt under the glare of the TV cameras? Ugh.

    I’m really enjoying these recaps!

    1. Yeah that’s very real, I totally agree with you. More and more of the women have those “oh jeez this is real and this hurts” moments as the season progresses—I just have little sympathy for Mackenzie when it’s literally been maybe a week since they met and she and Chris haven’t actually spent time together. If she weren’t so young and clearly not very bright I’d suspect this of being a power move to get more camera time. Her comments about virginity last week didn’t endear her to me either. She’s just so young (21!) and so naïve and it’s difficult to watch… poor kid needs to go home.

      This show also brings out a bitchy side of me, not gonna lie. The editing makes the women seem interchangeable to discourage you from empathizing with them (unless that’s the producer’s goal in a specific moment). I’ve also seen so many seasons at this point that I’ve learned the women who make the most noise in the first four or five episodes never make it to being one of the final four women. At this point there are literally women still in the running who I do not remember ever having seen before when they get their names called at the rose ceremony.

      And I’m glad you’re enjoying these! They’re such a deviation from what I usually post here that I’ve been nervous.

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