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. On one hand, the fact that there were a whole bunch of shirtless guys running around was exciting for some fans, but for others who pointed out the cringe of it all... not so much.
So like, this was pretty exploitative. But it's not exactly something the franchise has shied away from. In the past, women contestants have been made to have lingerie pillow fights and go bungee jumping naked, so guys playing dodgeball in next to nothing is more or less par for the course for the show.
However, objectifying people — no matter their gender — isn't exactly cool. This is 2020, after all. Notably, some fans felt it was a double standard for asking the male contestants do something the show likely would never set up for the women contestants.
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 contestant 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 this particular rule was a good call to make, fans certainly have their opinions. But no one can deny: There's never been a season lead quite like Clare.
Season 16 of The Bachelorette continues on Tuesday, Oct. 27, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.