the bachelorette jojo
photo: ABC

The success of the "Bachelor" and "Bachelorette" franchise rests, in part, on its ability to recreate familiar tropes for its eager audience, season after season.

Bachelor Nation, as host Chris Harrison often refers to the cast and fans of all "Bachelor" franchise shows, offers an artificial universe where good guys and girls always get a reasonably happy ending — but the requirements for being a “good guy” are very different from what’s required to qualify as a “good girl." 

In fact, most seasons of "The Bachelor" let the audience know who to root for, at least when it comes to the women, right away — by quickly categorizing them as mothers, virgins or whores as soon as they step out of that life-changing limo.

"The Bachelorette" takes a slightly less reductive attitude towards single women than "The Bachelor," but that’s not saying much, especially since Kaitlyn Bristowe's 2015 season was famously terrible in that regard. 

Gendered slut-shaming has been a part of the show literally since the franchise began — the first-ever Bachelorette, Trista Sutter, told Parade last year of her time on the show: 

“When they asked me to go on 'The Bachelorette' I was crucified! One reporter said I was setting the women’s movement back. Everyone thought ‘she’s a total slut, one girl with 25 guys,’ yet when the guys have 25 girls it’s like ‘oh, they’re awesome." 

But there's no doubt that, in recent years, how we talk about it has changed. Contestants have grown unprecedentedly frank about sex over the past few seasons, and since social media has made it increasingly easy for fans to interact with and provide feedback to contestants, the gendered slut-shaming has become a topic of painful public debate.

With Season 12 of "The Bachelorette" premiering Monday (May 23), let’s take a look back at some of the moments over the past few seasons where the franchise’s slut-shaming was at its worst.

Clare and Juan Pablo hit the beach (Season 18, 2014)

Juan Pablo and Clare Crawley bachelor hookup
photo: ABC

In Season 18 of "The Bachelor," a contestant named Clare Crawley left her hotel room at 4 AM during Week 5, and invited Bachelor Juan Pablo Galavis for a late-night swim in the ocean.

Though neither of them explicitly stated on camera that they had sex that night, it was heavily implied via the magic of TV editing. Then, during a later one-on-one date, Galavis told Crawley he regretted spending that time with her: “I have a daughter, I don’t want her to see what happens, if she sees it," he said.

Never the most tactful Bachelor (or perhaps, just edited to appear chronically tactless), Galavis seemed to be placing the brunt of the responsibility for this sexual encounter on Crawley. But, as Crawley later pointed out, it takes two to tango. 

“I knew when we were in the ocean, that it was a mutual feeling," she said. "If he didn’t think it was right, he shouldn’t have done it. I would have respected that.” 

Crawley was the runner-up on Galavis' season, but was not invited back to be the Bachelorette like Bristowe, Sutter, DeAnna Pappas, and multiple others. She did, however, later appear in two seasons of the spinoff "Bachelor in Paradise," in which she was heavily edited to appear to talk to a raccoon.

Take note, Bachelor Nation women considering being sexually open on TV: You might be punished with editing like that. Because being sexually forward and female automatically makes you crazy, right?

Nick confronts Andi (Season 10, 2014)

bachelor andi dorfman nick viall after the final rose
photo: ABC

Bachelorette Andi Dorfman became a source of controversy in 2014 when Nick Viall, the final man she dumped, asked her on live TV during the “After the Final Rose” episode why she “made love” with him in the Fantasy Suite if she didn’t truly love him.

Regardless of what’s Viall's intentions were in surprising Dorfman with that question, his comments marked the first time in the franchise’s then-12 years that anyone had spoken directly about having sex on the show. Unfortunately, his remarks had serious repercussions for Dorfman; in the days following the big “made love’” reveal, she was called “a slut” by Fox’s Bob Beckel, "The View"’s Emily Miller, and countless eggs on the Internet.

In her upcoming book "It’s Not Okay," Dorfman even claims that her ex-fiancé Josh Murray, whom she was engaged to when "After the Final Rose" aired, shamed her for sleeping with Viall. 

"That one sexual escapade would become a power play used by my fiancé to justify his mistrust in me," she writes. "It would be an excuse to call me a whore. And it would eventually lead to the demise of my engagement."

The response to Dorfman's sex life was notably different than the response of that same season’s male contestants. In the “Men Tell All” episode prior to the finale of Dorfman's season, for example, it was revealed that one of the men had slept with more than 20 women in his life — and then lied to Dorfman about it while he was on the show, telling her a smaller number. That reveal was met with laughter, but the news that Dorfman had slept with Viall was met with public ridicule. 

Speaking to The Cut nearly two years later, Viall said that random men even congratulated him following the show for, in their words, calling Andi out.

“Guys would be more misogynistic about it," he explained. "They would say, I’m glad you called her out ... Hindsight being 20/20, do I regret it? I regretted that as a result of me saying that, Andi got a lot of flak.”

Viall also claimed his intentions weren’t to shame Dorfman, adding that “women should have the right ... to do what guys have been doing for years. So simply just acknowledging that we had sex, that was a great thing.”

Kaitlyn gets put through the Nick ringer (Season 11, 2015)

Kaitlyn Bristowe Nick Viall bachelorette
photo: ABC

Yep, it’s that Nick again! 

Viall made another "Bachelorette" appearance halfway through filming in Bristowe's season — she ran into him on a New York group date — and his eventful second stint on the show prompted endless debates about what, if anything, Bristowe owed the men who had devoted several months of their life to wooing her.

Those conversations came (pun intended) to a head later on in the season, when Bristowe and Viall bucked Bachelor Nation tradition by sleeping together on their first official date (their first official date on the show, at least; the two knew each other from before filming as well). Then, during the "Men Tell All" episode that aired months after filming, Bristowe revealed to Harrison that she received actual death threats for hooking up with Viall.

“Spreading the hate people have been is not okay," Bristowe said. "The hardest part is it affects my family. I can handle it. It doesn't feel good, but I can handle it ...  I like to think that it doesn't matter what people think about me ... but when it's thousands and thousands [of comments] just pouring in of people hating … I get death threats. That hurts.”

Why this needs to change for JoJo.

bachelorette jojo fletcher
photo: ABC

According to "Bachelor" and "Bachelorette" creator Mike Fleiss, the average Bachelor sleeps with three women during the two to three months they spend filming (though one Bachelor reportedly slept with as many as 16). Recent seasons featured Bachelor Chris Soules inviting a girl to “take a nap” with him early on in filming, and Bachelor Ben Higgins declared love to — and then spent consecutive nights with — multiple girls.

I don’t think those Bachelors should be shamed for taking advantage of the unique opportunities provided by the show to (presumably) explore their physical compatibility with different partners. Even in as strange a context as a reality matchmaking series, sex can be awesome and healthy. What riles me up is that, when men have sex on the show, it’s just “the Bachelor being the Bachelor,” but when the Bachelorette or a female contestant has sex, she’s deemed a slut and a whore.

True, few if any Bachelors have ever been as frank about sex-during-filming as Bristowe, or "outed" for doing it in the same way that Dorfman was, but I strongly suspect that if a future Bachelor is ever explicitly revealed to have had sex on the show, they won’t be condemned in the same way the women of Bachelor Nation have been.

Bottom line is, "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette" need to fix their attitude towards sex overall — for a franchise that fetishizes intimacy as a general concept, it’s desperate to appear chaste. But more specifically, they need to fix the double standard with men and women's sex lives. For Fletcher, and for the millions of women watching at home.