It’s been almost two months since the finale of The Bachelorette season 15, but people are still talking about Hannah Brown.
If we’re honest with ourselves, if not for the publicity that Hannah B.’s drama brought to the show, not many people would’ve kept watching. The Bachelor and The Bachelorette become more outdated each year, and in a generation of women fueled by empowerment and independence, it’s surprising the show is successful at all. However, Hannah B. is introducing a new era of the show- she’s connecting to younger, newer audiences, and pushing the limits of the show’s 2000s-era drama.
Brown did something no other Bachelorette- or Bachelor contestant- had done before. She was bluntly honest on camera, open about her struggles and internal conflicts. She spoke up to Luke P. when he crossed the line from “masculine” to “misogynistic” and was supported by the other guys like Tyler and Jed. The key here is their support: they weren’t fighting for her, although they definitely used their brawn to their advantage to push Luke away when it was needed. They just stood beside her and let her say what she needed to say. She questioned the intersection of the show’s emphasis on physical relationships and her religion, publicly showing the world how conflicting social and religious expectations can be. It was a question that resonated with young girls across the U.S., especially in the South, and it drew even more viewers.
In Alabama, Hannah B. became a hero. Viewers from her home state triumphed in her successful moments and shed tears when she was at her lowest. They sympathized with her when she struggled with her faith and her emotions, and they cheered her on when she stood up to Luke. At my school, my yearbook group chat became a stream of live updates and reactions every Monday night, and every Tuesday morning, our class had an in-depth discussion about it. Hannah was from here in Tuscaloosa, after all; the seniors especially in my class felt like this could very well be them in a few years if they happened to end up on reality TV.
All said, we all support Hannah, but we had a very angry discussion the day after she chose Jed.
Written by: Jennifer Stroud / @jennifer_stroud
Edited by: Isabel Hope / @isabamahope / @isabama