On a recent episode of reality show The Bachelorette, star Hannah Brown shocked audiences when she announced, “I f—ked in a windmill. And guess what? We did it a second time.”
On the long-running dating reality show, The Bachelorette, 30 men compete for one woman’s affections over a couple of months. The last man standing not only gets engaged to the bachelorette, but also typically garners some social media fame along the way.
This season, the bachelorette is pageant queen and interior designer Hannah Brown from Alabama.
The episode with the infamous windmill line revolved around drama that had been culminating for weeks. The drama was all thanks to Luke Parker, one of the contestants who has consistently stolen the show with displays of toxic masculinity, petty drama, and self-centred behaviour.
Luke is a born-again Christian who claims he encountered the Holy Spirit while showering and has reclaimed his own virginity. In a story that he shares over multiple episodes, he claims this epiphany led him to return to his faith. He now plans to save his sexuality for marriage.
And as he made very clear on the latest episode, he expects Hannah to do the same.
Traditionally on week nine of the show, the bachelorette can invite the remaining contestants, individually, into a “Fantasy Suite.” The Fantasy Suite is a private room in which the couple can spend an intimate night together without cameras or microphones.
At this point in the show, Hannah only had four men remaining: Peter Weber, Tyler Cameron, Jed Wyatt, and Luke Parker.
During his one-on-one date in Greece, before the Fantasy Suite was offered, Luke inquired about Hannah’s intentions regarding sex. “Let’s talk about sex,” Luke began playfully—but the conversation quickly devolved into slut-shaming.
“If you told me you’re having sex or you had sex with one or multiple of these guys, I’d be wanting to go home, 100 per cent,” Luke told her. He continued by saying partaking in the Fantasy Suite is not something his future wife would do.
In response, Hannah, visibly upset by his words, explained how inappropriate he was being, and that he had no right to expect that information from her.
To the relief of most fans, Hannah didn’t take his insincere apologies that followed. Instead, she explained that he has no right to use religion to police her actions and sexuality.
“I have had sex,” Hannah said to Luke, “and Jesus still loves me.”
Throughout this season, Hannah frustrated other contestants by keeping Luke around despite the drama he caused. Feuding with most of the other men, Luke quickly made his name as the show’s villain.
Speaking to the camera in the latest episode, Hannah admitted she was finally seeing what others saw in Luke all along. She saw his behaviour for what it had been throughout the show: toxic, not romantic.
Despite feeling like it was love at first sight with Luke, Hannah sent him home after the conflict, confident that “[her] husband would never say these things to [her].”
This season, Luke consistently disrespected and disregarded Hannah’s autonomy, sexuality, and opinions. He attempted to manipulate and mislead her, regularly saying that she “misconstrued” what he said or that he “never said [something]” at all.
Luke used his faith in an attempt to control Hannah’s body and actions. Luke and Hannah’s shared sense of religion—something that bonded them early in the season—doesn’t negate the fact that Hannah, like Luke, has the right to practise her faith in any way she chooses. People like Luke should have no say in what she does or does not do with her body.
If Luke wanted his wife to be a virgin, going on a reality show where a woman dates 30 men simultaneously may have been his first mistake.
Luke is an example of social realities today, where some men believe they have the right to control women’s bodies. Whether it’s policies restricting access to reproductive choice or a man telling a woman she’s only desirable to him if she limits the number of sexual partners she has, it’s all wrong.
The Bachelorette brought us awareness of this kind of abusive behaviour and, just maybe, we can all learn from it.
A woman has the right to have sex in a windmill—twice—if she wants to. No man should tell her otherwise.
reality tv, slut-shaming, The Bachelor
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