Just when you thought Season 16 of The Bachelorette couldn’t get any stranger, Clare Crawley upped the ante. Again. While the rumors surrounding the 2020 season have been all over the place, now that the season is actually airing, it’s clear the drama is just getting started. On the Oct. 20 episode of The Bachelorette, Clare had a strip dodgeball date, and the tweets about the event are… a lot.
Now, physical dates are pretty standard for the Bachelor franchise, and contestants are used to doing things like playing football, running through obstacle courses, and horseback riding. So when Clare said the guys would be playing dodgeball, it seemed like NBD. Then, of course, she (or a producer behind the scenes, more likely) decided they were going to turn the date into a strip dodgeball game, in which the losing team had to remove an article of clothing. The game would end when one team "had nothing on."
While the guys were rightfully a little shell-shocked, it was social media that really had strong opinions. Some viewers thought the game was fun and sexy whereas others, well, not-so-much. On one hand, the fact that there were a whole bunch of shirtless guys running around competing with each other is unarguably hot, a point viewers were quick to make.
While yes, it’s straight up exploitation, it’s not exactly something the franchise has shied away from. In the past, female contestants have had lingerie pillow fights and bungee jumped naked, so guys playing dodgeball in next to nothing is probably fair game for the show.
On the other hand, objectifying people — no matter the gender — isn’t exactly cool. This is 2020, after all. While sure, women have been exploited in the past, some fans felt it was a double standard for making the male contestants do something the show would never make female contestants participate in (at least, I hope not).
Still, Clare’s season has been all about "reclaiming power." As the oldest Bachelorette to-date (a point that’s been made quite a few times) and a fan favorite who’s had her heart broken multiple times on TV, her season isn’t about following the rules. It’s about her writing her own story. Whether or not it was a mistake to make the guys strip, that’s up for debate. But no one can deny: There’s never been a series lead quite like Clare.
Season 16 of The Bachelorette continues on Tuesday, Oct. 27, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
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