This week, Hannah took a wrecking ball to the fantasy suite, a source of many problems on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. "Although it was a place where women could choose to have sex with men, everyone needed to be vague and gauzy about what happened there, eschewing rapidly mainstreaming ideas about female sexual autonomy and choice so it could fit neatly into a narrative about finding a lifelong helpmeet," says Willa Paskin. "If The Bachelor coyly sanctioned sex in this particular setting, it is not, in any sense, sex-positive." Paskin adds: "In Hannah, The Bachelorette has found a righteous, unabashed, sex-positive woman, one who is in step with the contemporary moment and yet still cloaked in Jesus. The Christian ethos that swirled underneath so much of The Bachelorette’s squeamishness about sex—that it was supposed to be something you did with, if not the person you were already married to, at least the person you were going to marry—gets effortlessly updated by a God-fearing woman whose faith insulates her, and the show, from charges of hedonism and immorality. Hannah vacillates between full sex-positivity—'Intimacy is so important to me, I want to be entangled with someone, my body is your body and your body is my body'—and a more provisional, it’s wrong-but-it’s-still-all-right defense—'I have had sex and Jesus still loves me.' But it doesn’t really matter. The show is happy to latch onto her enthusiasm and a whole new gloss on the fantasy suite—no longer some dirty secret, but a site of female empowerment. She has articulated and affirmed a wholesome—yet sexy!—vision of the fantasy suite that the show couldn’t speak for itself, but that it will, I expect, borrow, on and off again, in perpetuity."
TOPICS: Hannah Brown, ABC, The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Reality TV, Sex