On Tuesday night, the world of The Bachelorette was rocked by the last few moments of the season promo. Now that Kaitlyn has been chosen as the Bachelorette, ABC teased what we could expect from the rest of her season — and with that came the revelation that Kaitlyn has sex with a guy on The Bachelorette. Who it was has yet to be revealed, but that wasn't the important part. The way the promo framed the admission that an adult woman like Kaitlyn had consensual sex with one of the men who are vying to win her heart and walk down the aisle with her made it seem like it was an embarrassing and shameful secret for Kaitlyn, and a horrifying piece of trivia for all of her other suitors. "I feel like you were here, f—king a bunch of dudes on TV," says one in the promo, a line that shows great depth and sensitivity obviously.
But the potential love interests aren't the only ones who were shocked and horrified by Kaitlyn's confession that she is a grown woman who felt enough chemistry between herself and a suitor to have sex with them. Even fans were utterly bewildered by the fact that Kaitlyn (a) had sex outside of the fantasy suite, where such things are sort of accepted; (b) admitted to having sex at all or; (c) had sex before she even got down to the Final 3. In fact, it's not just fans who felt one of these three ways. Media outlets writing about the promo framed the narrative in that way as well.
Now, admittedly, promos always lie and we definitely don't get a good sense of the circumstances under which Kaitlyn decided to have sex with one of the contestants just yet. However, the issue is why should we need to have the circumstances, or a name, or even know anything beyond what she chose to share with us: that she had sex with one of her suitors? Why is this an action that needs to be explained, defended, or apologized for? Why should Kaitlyn have to tack on to the end of her confession that she's "ashamed," that there's "something wrong with her," and why does the promo focus more on the devastated reactions from the guys than on, I don't know, moving on to the next unremarkable thing? A grown woman has had sex. Is that really news?
Sure, in Bachelor Nation, it's unusual for Bachelorettes to admit to having sex — especially in the season promo coming immediately after the first episode of the season. Sure, it's more common for the revelation of sex to come during the same episode in which it's implied to be happening, or mentioned in an inevitable tell-all book, or just anywhere but in the season promo after the first episode of the season. However, the way Kaitlyn's confession is framed, as if this is not only something to be considered scandalous, but is also something to be ashamed of and that will change the way her suitors view her forever, has left a bad taste in the mouths of many fans — myself included.
Let's face facts: it's a little weird that the Bachelor and Bachelorette contestants can get through as many months of filming as they do without hooking up. No, really, it's weird. Some human beings can barely get through a few months of life without hooking up. All Kaitlyn did was be honest with America, and with her suitors, and she doesn't deserve to be castigated as a slut for doing it. She doesn't deserve for her suitors to suddenly look at her as if she's ruined or soiled or a completely different person because she liked one of them enough to have sex with them. And, although it was in no way implied by the promo, I want to say from now that she is in no way obligated to have sex with all of them just because she liked one of them enough to have sex with them.
Promos can be notoriously deceiving, and that's genuinely what I'm hoping for with this one aired by ABC. Maybe some of the shots of the guys looking angry and upset were in relation to other moments in the series. Maybe some of the lines were taken out of context to make the moment seem more dramatic. Maybe everyone was shocked for like an hour, and then they all came to Kaitlyn and apologized for reacting the way that they did and praised her for her right to both have as much, or as little, sex as she wanted and be honest with them about that fact. But, for now, with only the promo to judge by, I hope the rest of the season treats Kaitlyn a lot better than these suitors do, and than some of the fans seemed poised to do.
Watch the promo again below.
Image: Rick Rowell/ABC