Welcome back to Will You Accept This Rant? for week 3 of this journey to find love (and a culture of healthy relationships in media!)
If you haven’t been following along yet, we’re working to examine and call out our culture of relationships that we see under a microscope in the petri dish that is Bachelor Nation. Check out our weekly Facebook Live video (clink this link!) to hear all our thoughts and let us know what you’re thinking about this week! Don’t forget, you can always follow along with us on Twitter too! (@Safe_PassageDV)
What happened this week?
- ChampagneGate resolves: Kelsey doesn’t even like champagne. So glad we spent two episodes on this.
(Couldn’t resist, sorry.)
- Peter’s one-on-one date with Victoria P: line-dancing and vulnerable conversations.
- Demi-Date: group date, pillow-fighting in lingerie. Ugh.
- Group-date continued: Sydney v. Alayah
- Pool party: not much pool, even less party. Just the Alayah drama continues
- Rose ceremony: Alexa, Sarah C, Jasmine, and Alayah go home. Maybe other people too, but honestly we can’t keep track yet.
- Tune in next week: Peter seems unsure about sending Alayah home. Maybe she’s back?!
There is a lot to unpack in this episode, but the biggest takeaways we had this week were:
- Verbal abuse and bullying is serious.
- Boys should be allowed to show their emotions.
- Bi-women are unfairly sexualized in our society and it is harmful.
- Girls need to stick together and fight the things that are really hurting us (the patriarchy) and not each other.
Kelsey started off this episode (yes, Champagne Gate gets one more mention) saying that unkind words aren’t bullying and we’re going to pull a lesson from Middle School Social Emotional Learning to say…sort of. You can be rude, you can be mean, and you can be a bully. Bully requires a use of unequal power over a period of time. That absolutely COULD BE what is going on. More likely, Kelsey was really just being pretty mean. But just because it was only words does not mean that it isn’t bullying. Too often verbal abuse is written off as “not that serious” because no one was physically injured but it is the verbal and mental abuse that can cause some of the deepest wounds for survivors of domestic and sexual violence. We need to make sure we take words seriously.
We know two things about Peter FOR SURE this early in the season: he is a touchy-feely fellow and he’s in his feelings. And we’re so glad for the chance to see an emotionally in-tune guy on our TV screens every Monday night. People of all genders feel their feelings, but it really seems like women are the only ones given permission to show it. Guys and mascs, you don’t have to be John McClane 24/7. Peter is demonstrating some deep compassion and empathy and real openness about his own emotions and we are here for it!
We’ve got to start with some statistics: 75% of bi women experience sexual violence in their lifetimes (LINK with stats). Part of that is due to the way bi women are hypersexualized in our society and treated as existing solely for the viewing pleasure of straight men. The group date with Demi played right into that. A pillow fight in lingerie sounds like something a freshman fratboy might have dreamed up and ABC execs threw that right to the only Bachelor Nation alum to have had a queer relationship on one of their shows. Not a great look and plays right into the stereotypes about bi-folx that end up hurting us and excusing the abuse we experience. In a show that has highlighted the experience of SO FEW LGBTQIA+ folks, this was not a great way to show that they understand helpful representation.
And finally, if there was one thing that summed up this episode it was girls taking each other down instead of teaming up to take down the patriarchy. Whether it was Kelsey v. Hannah Ann or Sydney v. Alayah or Victoria P v. Alayah or Mykenna v. her own anxiety, this was not a good night for girl power. TPTB have gotten better at showing the supportive sisterhood of the house over the last few seasons. We’ve seen strong friendships developing and girls supporting each other in this weird, messy journey to find
Instagram sponsorships love. We’ve hardly seen that at all so far this season. I’m sure that isn’t because those friendships aren’t forming, but because the editors don’t think that footage is as valuable as the drama. It is such a disservice to all the young women and girls (and everyone) watching out there to see girls being treated as competition and winners/losers, rather than supporters and lifelong partners. We need each other and we always will. A romantic relationship isn’t enough to get you through life. You need your friendships, your family (chosen, bio, or otherwise) and your community. I think the show is really missing out on a part of what was making it better when we miss out on that female empowerment and support.
She’s referring to feminism and equality.
Our dead rose of this week goes to the producers. Y’all are messy and we wouldn’t have a TV show without you but please…you’re creating a season of drama for all the wrong reasons.
Our real rose (let’s end on a high note) goes to Victoria P for her vulnerability, openness, and strength. As an agency working each and every day with survivors of trauma, you all are some of the strongest, bravest, and most amazing people in this world. You should never have experienced the pain you did, but you are using that pain to build a brighter future and a safer world. We’re honored to do the work we do alongside you. Victoria P, you are a survivor.