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The Forthcoming Slut-Shaming of The Bachelorette

05/20/2015 03:40 pm ET | Updated May 20, 2016
Eric Jamison/Invision/AP

Last night, during part two of the season premiere, Bachelor Nation quickly learned that the producers had in fact stacked the deck against Britt to ensure Kaitlyn would take her rightful place as The Bachelorette. But even being staunch supporters of the Kaitlyn campaign did not make watching Britt's unceremonious dismissal enjoyable. The Highlander gimmick -- as with most recent Bachelor gimmicks -- seemed incredibly cheap, manipulative and just not worth it. "Hey, we're going put you on a shaky pedestal, just to watch you fall off!" At least the singer-songwriter Brady followed his heart, pulled himself out of the game, and went in search of Britt, hopefully saving her from a life on ChristianSingles.com. (Maybe yoga-dork Tony should've considered walking the walk more, like Brady, instead of just talking all his apparently disingenuous new-age talk.*)

Unfortunately, shaky pedestals are mostly what The Bachelor/ette franchise trades in. And so we discovered in the season highlights featured at the end of the show -- undeniably the most dramatic minute of last night's entire one-hour episode -- that just because Kaitlyn was crowned Bachelorette does not mean she's going to get off scot free. Oh no, prepare to be taken down a peg or 12!

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Apparently, Kaitlyn has sex on this season of The Bachelorette. To which you might say, "Yeah, we all know the Bachelor/ettes usually have sex with the three people who end up in their three fantasy suites, so what? This is sanctioned, encouraged, practically obligatory in the world of The Bachlor/ette. Nobody judges because it's understandable that you want to sample the sex before you sign on for a life of it."

But Kaitlyn has sex before the fantasy suites -- Dun dun DUN!!!!!! Cue the foreboding music, the outrage and, of course, the slut shaming.

We'll admit, it may not be the nicest or the classiest thing in the world to have sex with one person while you're dating several others. But then that standard should be applied across the board, even in the fantasy suites -- after all, which god deemed that multiple sexual partners is sanctioned only within the sacred confines of a petal-strewn hotel room in the tropics? It's all so arbitrary!

Which begs the question: Is the level of interrogation, judgment and resulting tearful self-indictment that Kaitlin apparently experiences, as suggested in the teaser, really warranted? On his own season, Juan Pablo, who had (some kind of) sex with Clare in the ocean, was spared similar treatment -- no, all the ire was directed at Clare, not him. Apparently, women are the guardians of sex; they alone have the burden of good judgment, self restraint and appropriately-timed purity. Men are off the hook, because they can't help themselves (duh) -- women, on the other hand, should really know better.

We can hope the producers just exaggerated the drama and threw up some red herrings to get us to tune in this season (as they're notorious for... and which we're suckers for). But even if that's the case, the producers still edited the package to run Kaitlyn over the rails. They may as well have had wardrobe put her in a shirt with a scarlet letter on the front (made out of rose petals, natch)!

When people are put in impossibly romantic situations, with mood lighting, bathing suites, hot tubs, hotel rooms and countless glasses of champagne -- all with at least the spoken intention of finding and falling in love -- can we really blame them for taking a hot and heavy makeout session to the next obvious level? And if we can, then we've got to be consistent with our blame: If women are expected to abstain, then men must be too; if sex on The Bachelor/ette is not okay in regular hotel rooms, then it shouldn't be okay in the fantasy suites.

It seems like Kaitlyn has the ability to keep things in perspective: At one point she says, "I don't think I'm a bad person, and I'm not ashamed of myself. [I just] made a huge mistake." Let's hope the men on the show and, more importantly, America can too.

* As cringe-inducing as Tony is, he did come up with one of the best new terms for masturbation that we've heard in a long time: "There's one water fountain now, and we're all standing in line," said Tony, after they sent his first choice, Britt, home. "I'm feeling like going home and digging my own well." Digging my own well. We're gonna use that!

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