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‘The Bachelorette’ Strip Dodgeball Date Felt a Lot Like Sexual Harassment, & it Deserves to Be Called Out

Another week, another entertaining yet slightly (more like fully, tbh) cringe-inducing episode of The Bachelorette. Every season, the most uncomfortable scenes tend to be the group dates, and so far this season is no exception. However, this week’s group date crossed the line from tongue-in-cheek humor to straight up uncomfortable.

For those of you who missed it, Bachelorette Clare Crawley brought a group of 10 unsuspecting men on a group date to play dodgeball, then informed the men she wanted to “up the ante” and play strip dodgeball. Yes, you heard that right. The men were obviously a little taken aback, but nevertheless proceeded to play strip dodgeball. It went exactly how you’d expect: competitive men, ball related puns from Chris Harrison, and Clare enjoying the show.

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The men were given uniforms and broken into a red team and a blue team, and the game led to some memorable quotes from Clare, including, “Their loss, but my win,” “There are some good, sweaty boys out there,” and, “Look at Kenny’s ass, just take a good look at it.” While I’m sure the producers wanted us to see Clare as a confident, strong woman, it came across more as Clare being persuaded into a narrative of objectification. 

Once the red team beat the blue team, the men were left with virtually nothing on, while the red team was asked to take off their shirts just to “even things out”. A few of the men on the blue team chose to remove *everything* and all gave Clare hugs before they did the walk of shame back to the resort, while Clare popped champagne and celebrated with the red team.

These men put aside their entire lives to get to know her (or so they say), and now have to face not only the scrutiny that comes from being on national reality television, but they have to do it while naked. 

[bf_image id="5g48jvnfcfwx9xk3bp65xwtw"] While I understand the narrative producers were going for – fipping the script on gender roles –  it honestly felt like sexual harassment. It would be uncomfortable as a woman to watch a Bachelor leer as a group of women stripped down to nearly nothing, and it was just as uncomfortable to watch Clare do the same. Women “acting like men” is not empowering, and overtly sexualizing men is just as inappropriate as the reverse. Sexual harassment and objectifiction coming from anyone is not okay and shouldn’t be tolerated, and it especially shouldn't be glorified in popular culture. 

Don’t get me wrong; I love The Bachelorette just as much as the next girl, but the producers seriously need to come up with some better group date ideas. I'm available for brainstorming sessions! Maybe a paint and sip? A clambake? Ice skating? Just a suggestion – and by suggestion, I mean I'm begging you! Please, do better. 

Carli is a 2022 grad of the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City and served as the style section editor for Her Campus. After being a national style writer for Her Campus, she launched Her Campus FIT. A born and raised Jersey Girl, she is a huge Bruce Springsteen fan. In her spare time she loves running, jamming to Taylor Swift, and tracking down the best burgers. Find her on Instagram @carliannescloset.
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