So I watch the Bachelorette. Don’t stone me. I know. My husband says it’s my contribution to the downfall of Western civilization.
Anyway, last night, something unprecedented and pretty amazing happened. If you don’t watch the show (and I know none of you decent people do), let me give you some background. Desiree Hartsock, this season’s Bachelorette, was introduced to 25 “fantastic” men (who want to meet their true love on TV, so surely they’re all down-to-earth and mentally stable). She will eventually weed them out and end up with “the guy.”
During this weeding out process, there’s an opportunity to take the final three guys to the “Fantasy Suite” for an overnight (incidentally this is one guy at a time — sorry for wrecking anyone’s actual fantasy). There’s a note included that says something about, “If you choose to forgo your individual rooms, you can spend the night together. . . blah, blah, blah.” But that comes much later, after everyone gets to know each other…
Anyway, last night, “Des” met all the guys for the first time, and one of them, Jonathan, presented her with a key to the Fantasy Suite. Funny? Maybe it could’ve been if he didn’t try to walk her away as if he actually wanted to go there. And really, if you’re going to lose all of your dignity and try to impress a woman with some cheesy intro, there are so many other ways to do it that aren’t creepy: key to my heart, key to the veranda so I can get you away from these other dudes, or “If you chose to forgo the rest of these guys…”
But Jonathan decided to take the creepy road. Then he continued down the creepy road by setting up an actual Fantasy Suite with pillows and candles in one of the rooms. And then he went about trying to lure (persuade/guilt/push) Des into it several times.
So here’s where the cool part happened. She was having none of it. She was polite. But she finally told him in no uncertain terms that he was making her feel uncomfortable, that she wasn’t going into some room alone with him, and that she wasn’t waiting until the end of the night — he was going to have to leave.
From an outside perspective, it’s easy to say, “Of course she should’ve told this guy off. He was a jerk.” And yes, she had the distinct advantage of being surrounded by cameras and 24 other men who could (hopefully) back her up (no doubt they were happy to get rid of any competition). But how many of us have been in this exact situation? At a party, with a persistent guy. He’s drinking, you’re drinking. You don’t want to be a “bitch” (and he’s greeeaat at making you feel like you’re hurting his feelings).
When Jonathan appeared on the scene, I told my husband, “This guy is date rapist material.” Wouldn’t surprise me in the least. Men who respect women and their boundaries don’t treat us like that. They treat us the way the rest of the men on the show did — after she kicked Jonathan out, they gave her a standing ovation.
It may sound crazy, but I think those few minutes of television will do more to empower young women than all of our talking, ranting, and educating combined (not that we should stop any of it). I have no doubt that girls who’ve seen that show will have it stored in the back of their brains, ready to be whipped out at parties all over the world.
At one point, Des said, “I’m not that kind of girl.” We all know what she meant, but I think we need to take it another way. “That kind of girl” lets people tell her what she wants. “That kind of girl” doesn’t listen to her inner voice. “That kind of girl” gets pushed around.
None of us should be “that kind of girl.”