Hello hello hello and welcome to all our readers, watchers, and people who were so on edge about the election that you decided to distract yourself with the Bachelorette.

Bernie Sanders Serious Issues GIF by Election 2016
Just FYI, nothing we will talk about today is as serious as the issues on the ballot this year.

If you’re new here:

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 (catch up by watching old videos on our Youtube channel!) 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)

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Our Bachelorette Blogging Bureau was tied up last week, so we’ve got a lot to catch up on here and not much time before the next episode drops! For those of you who missed last week, basically Yosef showed his WHOLE BACKSIDE and was exactly as awful as Tyler C had predicted.

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Wait…not this Tyler C. Sorry.

Yosef was a jerk. Don’t touch people without clear consent. Clare is only interested in Dale. There you go.

MOVING ON TO THIS WEEK! After weeks and weeks of waiting and the tense Will They/Won’t They? back and forth of Clare and Dale, we’re happy to announce that they are ENGAGED! Wait…it’s only week 4? Whatever. We wish the best to those crazy kids and hope this works out for them. Honestly, it has as much a chance of working as any other relationship that comes out of Bachelor Nation.

Abc Dale GIF by The Bachelorette
Goodbye Dale. We’ll miss you and your perfect teeth.

As far as we can tell from what The Powers That Be (TPTB, the producers behind the scenes) would show us, Clare fell hard for Dale and had plans to fake interest in other suitors, like so many other leads have done. And honestly, why would she? It’s not like she’s jet-setting to Argentina or Thailand. She’s camped out at La Quinta in the summer heat. I’d peace out of there with a beautiful hunk as quick as I could too!

Some relationships move fast, some relationships move slow. A slower moving relationship gives you a better chance of seeing how that person functions in a variety of settings and situations, helping you decide if they are the right match for you. It also gives you a chance to make sure you’re not misguided by love-bombing or an intense early honeymoon phase. But even a long, slow relationship is no guarantee of a healthy relationship. That depends on you and your partner choosing to be open, vulnerable, and safe with each other every single day. We hope Clare and Dale are ready to make those healthy choices with each other and we wish them the best.

The rest of the drama really came down to how the other guys took the confirmation of what they MUST HAVE suspected for a while now: Clare’s just not that into you.

We had Blake M (and a few of the other guys) wildly speculating about what Clare and Dale were up to when he was gone overnight. They were sure that Clare and Dale weren’t spending the night together (#FantasySuite #BirdsAndBees #PoundTown) because Clare wasn’t “that kind of girl.” No one speculated on what having sex with Clare might have meant for Dale’s moral capacity, but we sure got some wild ideas about how Clare’s free and uncoerced choice to engage in a consensual physical relationship with Dale reflected on her moral character.

We are SO. TIRED. OF. THIS. Not only do these tropes about sex and sexuality complicate our understanding of consent, these double-standards lead to sexual violence and gender-based violence. When women are seen as less moral or less valuable because they have had sex, it gives people permission to harm them. It also puts unhealthy expectations on men to be sexually aggressive. These gender-stereotypes are rampant in the Bachelor franchise and they are some of the most toxic underlying themes that perpetuate violence in our culture.

Sex Ed GIF
We feel like this is the sex ed most of the contestants must have gotten.

Our other big frustration this week was also led by Blake M. As the guys settled into the news that Clare was leaving with Dale and that they’d soon have a new Bachelorette (honestly…no one seemed SUPER cut up about it), Blake brought up that he had purchased a book on Alzheimer’s so he could better understand Clare’s experience with her mom and support Clare. Sweet. That’s really nice.

HOWEVER.

That does not mean that Blake is entitled to Clare’s time because he did something thoughtful. Thoughtfulness becomes selfishness when you only do something for what you’ll get out of it.

Frustrated William Jackson Harper GIF by The Good Place
This would be a great time for an ethics lesson from our favorite moral philosophy professor, Chidi Anagonye.

This idea is insidious and so unconscious in the concept of “friend-zoning”. The idea, as put out largely online, is that girls only want to date jerks and so nice guys who are friendly and kind get relegated to the “friendzone” and never get to date or hook-up with the girl of their dreams. It’s also a common trope in rom-coms where the leading lady realizes her soul-mate was the shy, nerdy best guy friend who was right there by her side through all the bad relationships. It doesn’t sound bad on the surface, but as soon as we dig a little deeper, we find ourselves in a trash pile that only Oscar could love.

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The problem with the “friendzone” concept is that too many guys use this idea, often unconsciously, to assume that they are owed a relationship. It leads to [almost always] men treating [almost always] women like vending machines. “If I insert coins of kindness, empathy, and decency, I will buy a prize of sex/relationship.” The problem with the friendzone is that it teaches men that friendships with women are not valuable, that friendship is just a stepping stone to an intimate relationship. It sends a message to women that if a man is nice or kind or decent to them, that they must owe him something. If he bought you an expensive dinner, you have to put out. If he drove you home, you should invite him inside. If he said sorry, you have to forgive him. If he quarantined for 2 weeks and flew to California and bought a book about your mom’s illness, you owe it to him to give him a chance.

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Is it a bummer that these guys put out so much effort and Clare didn’t fall in love with them? Sure! Do they have a right to be disappointed? Absolutely. Does Clare owe them anything? Absolutely not.

Let me speak to my dudes for just a second here. Straight talk. Dude to dude. Um…lady to dude. Gentlethem to dude. Being friends with someone is the end goal. It is not a stepping stone or a place holder or a bargaining chip. Women are awesome. GNC and enby folks are awesome. Other men are awesome. Be friends with them. If you find someone you are attracted to, if you find someone you want to build a life with, if you find a partner, that is amazing. But the friendships you have in your life are just as amazing and just as important. It isn’t just about that race to the altar. Value your friends for being your friends. Be a good person and a good friend just to be a good person and a good friend. No one owes you anything.

And my ladies and femmes out there? You don’t owe anyone anything. A guy being nice, buying you dinner, treating you well? That is the low bar for human decency, not carte blanche for an IOU relationship. Entitlement is at the root of SO MUCH of intimate partner violence and power-based interpersonal violence in our culture. We must root out those unconscious, taught mentalities that lead us to feel entitled to other people’s emotions, bodies, and labor. It’s the first step toward a nonviolent future.

THAT GOT HEAVY.

Let’s wrap up with some good news. Clare may be gone, but the season isn’t over. We got our first intro to Tayshia and she is stepping in to become the new Queen of Bachelor Nation!

Shocked Episode 11 GIF by The Bachelor
JK, this was the furthest thing from a spoiler.

Tune in next week as we start right on over with this season, get to know our new Bachelorette, and see what new drama awaits!

Abc Tayshia GIF by The Bachelorette

As always, let us know your thoughts, comment, or head over to any of our socials to let us know what you are thinking of this season! See you soon, Ranters!

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