7:02pm PT by Jackie Strause
'Bachelorette' Star Pushes Back Against Sex-Shaming: "You Don't Own My Body"
On ABC's The Bachelorette, star Hannah Brown's frontrunner is also doubling as this season's villain. Typically, the villain faces off with the fellow contestants but this season Luke Parker — who is referred to as "Luke P." — is also poised for a tense sparring with the Bachelorette about her sexual behavior on the show.
Parker has been an early contender for Brown's final rose ever since the season began in mid-May. And after declaring his love for her in the second episode, he quickly piqued Brown's interest and placed a target on his back. Brown has admitted she has the strongest attraction to Parker of all of the contestants, which is why she continues to keep him around despite weekly disagreements and warnings from the rest of her contestants about his behavior.
One of the most dramatic moments of the season has been teased in previews, and the conversation appears to be centered around Brown and Parker disagreeing over Brown's sexual behavior with the other contestants. Monday's episode offered a preview to that showdown when Parker, who spoke about his Christian beliefs and having a religious awakening at the start of the season, reacted emotionally after hearing that Brown went naked bungee jumping with one of the other men.
"I know that your body is a temple and I'm just thinking of you holding him bare-skinned and I'm just thinking in my mind, it really pissed me off and it really frustrated me," Parker told the former Miss Alabama, calling her behavior a "slap in the face."
When Brown revisited the conversation at the end of the episode, she said she had time to digest his words and offered a stinging rebuke: "You're not my husband. You don't own my body, you don't own me. It's my body."
Stars of the female-led Bachelorette are no stranger to sexism and sex-shaming. Past leads Andi Dorfman and Kaitlyn Bristowe memorably pushed back against online attacks from viewers over the decisions they made when it came to having sex with more than one finalist. This is the first time, however, that one of the Bachelorettes is having to defend her choices to one of her own men, offering a rare opportunity for the franchise to dive in and explore faith and religion.
In the season preview for upcoming episodes, Brown and Parker appear to be having a conversation about her outlook on the Fantasy Suites week in the competition, when she has the option to spend the night with each of her final four men and without the cameras. "I have had sex and Jesus still loves me," Brown says in the clip, teasing a moment that has yet to air. An earlier scene shows the pair during a dinner date where Parker tells her, "Let's talk about sex and how the marriage bed should be kept pure. If you have had sex with one or multiple of these guys, I would be wanting to go home."
His words provoke the most emotional response yet to be seen from Brown, as she is shown telling him, "I don't owe you anything." She later gives an exiting limo the middle finger. "The Lord made sex to be amazing and guess what? A man doesn't control anything that I do," she is heard saying.
When speaking to Entertainment Tonight, Brown, who has been open about her Christian beliefs, defended her choices. "My faith, that is a big huge part of me, and a lot of times people get Christianity and religion messed up. Because your faith should be something personal in a relationship and it's not to judge others," she said. "Nobody is going to judge me. I won't stand for it and I'm going to speak my mind about it. To ever have anybody make me feel that way, it's a little messed up and I'm not going to stand for that."
Brown has been billed as an empowering choice for the franchise since she made her debut and franchise host Chris Harrison said women will "really rally around" Brown by the end of the season.
When speaking to The Hollywood Reporter earlier in the season, she called the experience one of the "most empowering" things she has ever done. "I felt so empowered to deal with all the drama that I had to deal with — because yes, there’s drama — and do it in my way and be able to stand on my own two feet," Brown said. "This was my time. And it was important for me to express what I want, what I’m looking for and what I’m not going to settle for ever again."
The Bachelorette airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.