Episode 2 of The Bachelor featured what the present is touting because the “steamy” first kiss of the season. There’s only one downside: it was much less of a kiss, and extra of a one-sided assault. And not from the Bachelor himself.
Twentynine-year-old Romy, from Queensland, was invited on a “surprise single date” by Nick. He took her to his uncle’s restaurant, the place they discovered the way to make pizza and a predictable meals battle ensued. It was comparatively cute and innocent, if slightly boring – till they made their approach to the sofa. The sofa is, on this planet of The Bachelor, the place private conversations, rose-giving and kissing occurs.
The kiss is usually a big turning level within the relationship between the Bach and whoever is on the date. It means issues are getting severe. Unlike the American Bachelor, kisses listed here are handled as particular – nearly sacred. In brief, they’re a Big Fucking Deal. The first kiss of the season is very vital, bestowing early favorite standing upon whoever receives it.
It was fascinating, then, that on Nick’s first date, with 25-year-old Shannon from Victoria, there was no kiss past a chaste cheek peck when he gave her a rose. Shannon had been adamant that she doesn’t kiss on the primary date, and it appeared like Nick was respectful of that. Going into her personal date with Nick, Romy had no such qualms, proclaiming “if there’s an opportunity there to kiss Nick today, I’ll do it.”
Now, I’m all for narratives wherein girls make the primary transfer and personal their sexuality, however what occurred subsequent was not a optimistic illustration of that. Romy went in for a kiss, however not on Nick’s lips – she went straight for his neck. It appeared extended and aggressive, and Nick appeared extraordinarily uncomfortable. His eyes widened, his expression telegraphing “what the hell is happening?” He laughed nervously. As their lips grazed, he appeared to push Romy again.
In a to-camera piece, Nick defined how he was feeling in that second: “Romy came in for a kiss with. She came in hot. Real hot.” He stated this not with enthusiasm, however a form of horrified disbelief. “The only thing is,” he added, “for me, I like to hold back a bit and establish a real connection, to try and make it a bit more meaningful if possible.”
It was clear Romy had overstepped. Especially when Nick really stated to her, “it’s getting a bit steamy in here. Better take this down a notch.” Despite his express try to ascertain a boundary, Romy persevered in trampling throughout it. Nick tried once more to politely rebuff her, saying “it’s about love and I’d hate to hurt anyone’s feelings. It’s not my thing.”
The scene made for uncomfortable viewing. And the present solely obtained worse from there.
When she arrived again on the Bachelor mansion in time for the cocktail celebration, Romy brandished her rose and gleefully advised the opposite women she’d had a “really romantic kiss” with Nick. “It was a real kiss…it wasn’t tacky. It wasn’t forced,” she stated.
Unless the edited footage we watched was vastly totally different to what really occurred (which isn’t solely unlikely – however let’s give attention to the narrative we’ve been offered with for now), pressured is precisely what it was. Nick didn’t appear to consent to the bodily interplay with Romy in any respect. Not solely that, he actively tried to extricate himself from the state of affairs – each together with his physique language and his precise phrases.
Whether it’s a person or a lady making the sexual advances, the consent of each events needs to be clear and current each time.
Within the framework of the present, nonetheless, the one line Romy was offered as crossing was towards her fellow contestants. The “kiss” was used to set-up girl-on-girl drama, not open up a dialogue about what the Bachelor was (or, extra importantly, wasn’t) snug doing. This was additional strengthened when Romy approached Nick in the course of the cocktail celebration, as soon as once more launching herself at his neck and even making an attempt to kiss him on the lips. The different women watched on in horror – shocked that Romy would dare do that in entrance of them, breaking the unstated guidelines of the bizarre group courting state of affairs they’ve all volunteered for.
But the horror I felt watching it at dwelling was of a distinct variety. It was terrible to witness Nick, as soon as once more, wanting shocked and uncomfortable. Again, he laughed nervously, this time repeatedly saying, “you’re a funny thing, aren’t you?”. The unstated fact behind his phrases and his expression was obvious: you’re making me uncomfortable, please cease.
Nick’s try and diffuse the state of affairs was one thing I immediately recognised. The intuition to giggle, to be well mannered, to not make another person really feel dangerous, even when you’re the one really feeling uneasy or threatened, is one thing most ladies know of their bones. It’s a approach to reduce by the stress, to mitigate threats, to keep away from hazard. It was fairly startling to see a person in such a state of affairs on nationwide TV – and largely ignored by the broader narrative in favour of a catty imply women angle.
Nick has been positioned – by himself, by the present – as an enthralling, loveable larrikin; a blokey bloke with a delicate facet; a person’s man who girls can even fall for. I think about that as Romy mauled him, surrounded by cameras and producers (to not point out the opposite contestants), the stress was on for him to stick to this picture. Even nonetheless, even when delivered with amusing and a joke, his phrases clearly set boundaries that Romy intentionally and repeatedly crossed.
The Bachelor franchise is not any stranger to hassle the place problems with consent are involved. Just final yr, the American Bachelor in Paradise was rocked by allegations of sexual assault. In Australia, there hasn’t been any main issues of this type up to now (though The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise have each been responsible of casting and uncritically showcasing poisonous male contestants). Thanks to the turkey-slapping incident on Big Brother in 2006, native actuality TV producers have apparently been extra cautious on the subject of alcohol and consent.
Until now, at the very least. Of course, what occurred between Nick and Romy was nowhere close to the extent of the incidents talked about above. But it was additionally not within the realm of consensual. It was particularly removed from the enthusiastic consent wholesome interplay needs to be constructed upon. In the period of #MeToo, it’s merely not adequate. If you’re not a fan of the present, or even perhaps in case you are, you may be considering, “it’s a reality dating show – what more do you expect?”
I’ll inform you what I anticipate from The Bachelor. I anticipate to be entertained. I anticipate to look at folks fall in love – or get caught up within the thought of falling in love, at the very least. I anticipate drama, and I (begrudgingly) anticipate the contestants to be pitted towards one another.
What I don’t anticipate – and what I are not looking for – is to see blurred consent play out for the entire nation to see. Whether it’s a person or a lady making the sexual advances, and whether or not it’s a person or a lady on the receiving finish of them, the consent of each events needs to be clear and current each time.
It’s 2018. We all deserve higher. Including the Honey Badger.