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Katie Is 'The Bachelor's First Sex-Positive Contestant With A Hero Edit, And That's Huge

- The Bachelor -
Katie Is 'The Bachelor's First Sex-Positive Contestant With A Hero Edit, And That's Huge

When Katie Thurston stepped out of the limo with her blurred-out vibrator to greet Matt James on The Bachelor, longtime fans can be forgiven for assuming that she would quickly become a joke, cannon fodder, or even a villain — after all, unlike its tequila-drenched cousin, Bachelor in Paradise, the pure of heart Bachelor has rarely rooted for women who own their sexuality. Yet, in the span of four episodes, Katie has managed to rise above the tired Bachelor narrative that women who acknowledge a desire to get past first base in a wood-fired hot tub are there for the wrong reasons. In a refreshing twist, Katie isn't some "sex-crazed" contestant for agreeing to go on national television proudly wielding a vibrator. If anything, Katie might just be The Bachelor's first sex-positive hero, and it's a sign that the series is catching up to the times.

We've congratulated The Bachelor in recent years for hiring Bachelorettes who actually reference sexuality on a series about love (shocking, I know) — Kaitlyn Bristowe walked into unfamiliar and unfriendly territory so Hannah Brown could get funky. But it's rare for a contestant to talk about sex and walk away unscathed — and celebrated — by the production's edit. Demi Burnett invited controversy in the house when she straddled Colton Underwood, all but naked, in a pool, prompting a feud with Courtney Curtis, who ultimately shoved a pacifier in Demi's mouth. Courtney Robertson was shamed for skinny dipping, and having sex, with Ben Flajnik — a move that no doubt contributed to her villain edit on the season. When these women were getting down and dirty, the edit cast them as doing dirty, rather than accepting what everyone should know is true: girls get horny, too.

So Katie's vibrator limo entrance seemed prime for takedown — but, instead, the vibrator has become a symbol of her power for good instead of evil. When Queen Victoria suggested that owning a vibrator was a clear sign Katie wasn't ready for an engagement, Katie quickly shut her down, claiming that she "loved" it and had no shame in knowing her parents or the entire viewing public would ultimately know it. Bachelor producers could have easily edited her response to make her look unhinged for simply knowing what masturbation is. They've done it before, and, frankly, Bachelor Nation has fallen for it every time. This feels new.

Also new? The women in the house who are actively slut-shaming Katie and new contestant Brittany Galvin — who was accused of being an escort her first night in the house — are being portrayed as the series' real villains. (Which they are. As to why you can cackle about a woman being a "ho" on television, but not see a purple vibrator in all its glory is a feminist rant for another day.) In seasons' past, Victoria and Anna's behavior would cast them as concerned citizens of the Bachelor mansion, not bullies trying to bring a woman down because she masturbates or might have been an escort in a past life. And considering scenes from next week focus almost entirely on this season's bullying narrative, it's clear that The Bachelor has chosen to continue editing on the right side of history.

Of course, The Bachelor isn't totally evolved yet (and might never be), given how sex work is still being stigmatized by a storyline that views the trade as unseemly, and ruinous. But it's clear it's getting better — a modern Bachelor is one that realizes conversation around sex is not only good, but it's good for TV. (See: The erotica group date, in which Katie's admitted discomfort proved that there are layers to any person's relationship with sex, and that all of those boundaries are valid... and the vibrator, of course.) Everyone in the Bachelor mansion is there for their own reasons, sexual or otherwise, and no one is unworthy of True Love because of them. And it seems that Bachelor's producers are finally there for the right reasons too.

Images: ABC

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