Bachelorette Katie Thurston Hit Back At Sexist Criticism Of Her Lingerie Photo

“I am me. No one owns me.”

Katie Thurston in a behind-the-scenes photo from 'The Bachelorette' via ABC's press site
ABC/Craig Sjodin

Bachelorette star Katie Thurston isn’t sweating her haters. The trolling began after Thurston posted a steamy Instagram photo of herself lounging on a bed while clad in black lingerie on Thursday, July 29. Although many followers complimented the self-described “sex-positive” reality star in the post’s more than 1,700 comments, Thurston called out several of the hateful posts that were intermixed with them.

After one person predicted that Thurston “did not find a husband” on The Bachelorette based on the photo, she corrected them, replying, “There typically isn’t a wedding at the end.” Another commenter asked why she’s not portraying “a respectable bachelorette a week away from a public proposal,” to which Thurston replied, “I am me. No one owns me.”

In a third clap-back, the Bachelorette told one user who asked her to “save that for the bedroom” for the sake of “young girls” who look up to her to just pretend she’s in a bikini on a sandy beach. “It’s the same thing,” Thurston added. “Women can love and embrace their bodies however they’d like. Not be ashamed of them.”

The criticism didn’t end there, however, and in her Instagram stories, Thurston later revealed a screenshot of a sexist DM she’d received after posting the lingerie photo. The blurred user’s message implored Thurston to see the situation from “the other point of view,” i.e. that she could be “the reason someone else’s husband is [masturbating]” because “men have a hard time controlling themselves.” They further noted that Thurston’s photo could be “hurting other relationships and stealing that satisfaction and glorification from the wife.”

Thurston’s public reply? “This sounds like a problem within the relationship itself. I’m not going to change my ways to cater to a man with a problem. This reminds me of how girls in schools have to wear longer dresses so that the boys aren’t distracted. No. Just no. If a picture of another woman is hurting a relationship, the root cause is deeper than my picture.”

She had plenty of support, too. Thurston shared model Courtney Tillia’s Instagram story telling the trolls to “stop f*cking telling women what to do with their bodies or how they should express themselves.” She continued, “A woman’s self-love, beauty, sensuality, energy, and unique expression is a gift to the world — NOT something to suppress, control, or limit.”

In a more lighthearted moment, Thurston shared a meme from comedian Dave Neal with her face superimposed onto a Handmaid’s Tale-style uniform. “I saw that @thekatiethurston is causing a ruckus with her Instagram shenanigans, so to help keep the men from impure thoughts I figured she might just wanna post this from now on,” he joked. “Protect our men.”

At least Thurston seems to be able to find some humor in the situation.