IIf there’s one thing the Bachelor was dying to get across on Monday night, it’s that Matt James’ most frustrated future wife, Anna Redman, really has feelings for women who “entertain men for money.”
Commercials that ran before (and during) this week’s episode made it clear that a woman in the house – one of several new candidates who came to the resort in the weeks following production – was accused of being an escort. The original cast, these clips made it clear, are in search of blood.
When the Bachelor producers first introduced Matt James as their next leading actor, some fans wondered how he would fare. After all, James has never appeared on television, let alone on a bachelor’s show – which makes him the perfect indicator of producer manipulation. Bachelors and bachelors who experienced the show’s psychological experiment from the side of the participants apparently have a better sense of freedom of choice upon re-entry.
Perhaps that’s why Matt continues to give roses to Victoria Larson, the season’s main villain who, at least because of the editing she’s getting, seems really cruel. But the problem goes beyond Victoria. Sarah Trott left the show last week, citing both her father’s troubled health and the bullying she received from participants like Victoria, Anna and MJ as reasons for her tearful departure.
And this week, when five new women joined, some of those women seemed to be enjoying the chance to pile on top of them as well. Katie, who took a moment to comfort Sarah after the hate circle she received last week, appeared to be the only person in the house worried about the toxicity cure. And while the word “toxic” has become so prevalent in this franchise that it loses all meaning, it feels like the most toxic undergraduate season in recent history.
Two of the newly arrived women, Brittany and Michelle, appear to have caused the most buzz. Matt chose Michelle for a one-on-one interview, which seemed really wonderful. Of all the women who have just landed in Pennsylvania to film, Michelle seems to be the most likely to make it far in the season. However, Brittany quickly got caught in a harmful rumor.
The core of this week’s “scandal” came from Anna – one of the original contestants who appear to have referred to themselves as the “Varsity Team” and “OGs” (as Anna helpfully explained, this stands for “original group”). ) Like some of her competitors, Anna didn’t appreciate Brittany’s decision to introduce herself to Matt by making out with him. Victoria called Brittany both a “slut” and a “whore”.
Anna said that she and Brittany are both from Chicago. “I like to know her,” she said. “… and it’s sketchy. She’s not here about Matt! “
“I don’t see her ending with Matt,” Anna said later. “All I’ve been told about her is that she fucking sucks. But I don’t know her either. She’s the one who made out with him right away. “
During a relay race, which ended with a guest appearance by Bachelor par excellence Ben Higgins, Anna increased the stakes: She hid the acorn that Brittany was supposed to find in a squirrel suit. (Pandemic dates are difficult to plan!)
But then Anna took the gossip a step further. “People went out of their way to tell me, ‘Oh my god, take care of this girl,'” she said. “There’s a rumor, because she knows all the rich men in Chicago, that Brittany might be an escort. She may have a transactional relationship with wealthy men. “
At that moment, the editors were making out with Matt James in Brittany.
What happens from here is largely predictable: Anna confronts Brittany and tells her that she has “received news from people in Chicago” that Brittany is an escort. Brittany says she has never worked as an escort and asks Anna in disbelief, “You told the people in the house that?”
“I think this is a terrible thing to say about someone and I apologize,” Anna replied without being particularly sad. She later laughed with Victoria at Brittany’s alleged job.
“But whether or not Brittany has ever worked as an escort – which, in turn, she says she never did – is beside the point. No one should be tested while working as an escort or doing sex work”
But whether or not Brittany has ever worked as an escort – which, in turn, she says she never did – is beside the point. No one should be tested while working as an escort or doing sex work. Given the challenge of the show weeks ago, which led Matt’s contestants to write erotica, this puritanical backlash against an alleged escort is disappointing, if not particularly shocking, only weeks later.
After denying she was an escort, Brittany called on the women to be so brutal with her. “I just feel like everyone is against me,” she said. “I know you don’t care at all, but it’s really hard.”
“OK,” replied Victoria. “Then out of the house.”
The “Queen” also tried to argue with Katie – who was the only one who encouraged her competitors to be kinder to the other women. Ultimately, Katie Matt brought her concern about women’s behavior without mentioning anyone specifically. What happens next will remain a cliffhanger until next week.
It’s a shame the rumor of a possible escort in the show’s cast would cause such a feeding frenzy – but then again, it’s not exactly surprising. The Bachelor has struggled with slut shaming for years – both on the show, in moments like Juan Pablo Galavi’s Clut Crawley in the air, and in the fan base that has also had bullying candidates in the past. There were good moments; Clare, for example, actually became famous for her flawless comeback to Juan Pablo: “I would never want my kids to have dads like you.” But then there were just as many lows. In one memorably horrific moment in 2015, Kaitlyn Bristowe had to spend part of her “Men Tell All” episode listening to Chris Harrison read out some of the most hideous things that were said about her online after having sex with Nick Viall.
In recent years, the franchise seems to be trying to be more open about sex. Hannah Brown memorably refused to be ashamed of sluts during her season, and as Katie pointed out weeks ago, this season’s adult entertainment challenge allowed women to possess their sexuality without shame. But it seems that this franchise and its affiliates are still drawing some very old-fashioned lines about what a woman who is here for “the right reasons” does for a living. The only thing we know is that Matt seems determined to bring up everything that’s going on in the house. Let’s hope he’ll set a more empathetic, open-minded tone for the weeks ahead. Fingers crossed…