Some viewers are absolutely flipping out at Clare Crawley over the strip dodgeball game.
They are not alone. Ben Higgins says that it's an outrageous double standard.
To say that Clare and her season are polarizing to fans and viewers is an understatement.
Wild reports about Clare falling head over heels for one of the contestants very early on turned out to be true.
But a bunch of disappointed suitors has turned out to be only part of the story of why some viewers are resentful of Clare.
See, on the second episode of the season, Clare had an eye-catching group date with ten of her suitors.
The result? A game of Strip Dodgeball. Five of the players ended up either so naked or close enough to it that ABC got a lot of work out of their blurring feature.
Some viewers are furious ... and apparently, that anger extends to some members of the Bachelor Fam, as well.
Now, Ben Higgins hasn't been especially lucky in love, but he's something of a fan favorite.
He has a good relationship with the Bachelor Nation as a whole and with Chris Harrison.
In a recent episode of the The Ben And Ashley I Almost Famous Podcast, he weighed in on the game of Strip Dodgeball.
"I think we can all be clear that there’s a double standard right now. 100%," Ben asserts.
He says that there is "a very obvious double standard that was presented and that, I don’t know if the show’s trying to send a message."
Ben continues: "saying ‘Hey, there is an obvious double standard or not,’ but I watched this."
"And," Ben continues, "let’s for a second reverse course and say, okay, if this was a Bachelor season, no way this happens."
"No way they get away with it," he says. "No way it’s appropriate."
"No way that this just becomes a weekly topic.... I think this show is super smart," Ben says, pivoting.
"They knew this wouldn’t shut down the show," he suggests as the pivot continues.
"But," Ben continues, "it’s pushing the envelope here a little bit. Right?"
That's true. Peter's disaster of a season included a pillowfight, but the ladies were in nightgowns -- albeit not especially prudish ones.
Ben says that "there's no shot" that he could have been part of that if he were a suitor.
Why? Because he says that it's "all fun and games until my buddies and I are naked on national television."
Ben says that he stays in shape, but would have felt inadequate competing with all of the other hunky guys, not to mention being seeing and judged by the viewers at home.
"Maybe I’m crazy, maybe you guys can remind me," Ben says.
"But," he opines, "this felt like it was pushing the envelope more than any other date I can remember on The Bachelor."
He does then acknowledge: "They push the envelope every season."
"There’s always that controversial thing that happens," Ben says.
He knows that there is always something "that goes, ‘Oh, next year it’s not gonna be as much,’ or whatever."
"This felt like a lot…. I would say, though, this would not have been a date I participated in," He adds, noting that he's sure that it was optional.
"Not because I necessarily have a problem with the whole get naked and run around thing," Ben emphasizes.
He adds: "I don’t know personally if that’s wrong or right."
"I would have just been so uncomfortable," Ben confesses.
Being uncomfortable naked is just fine!
It is every bit as valid as feeling uncomfortable wearing clothing.
It sounds like he's asking if there's somehow a moral component to nudity? That's very silly. There is not. It's fine. It's just a bunch of people having bodies.
Ben's "double standard" line is all about how viewers (and production) would have turned upside down if a leading man had ten gorgeous ladies play strip dodgeball.
Well ... he's probably right. The thing is that this isn't some arbitrary or unfair standard.
Society views women by their appearance, so it is harmful to reinforce that by putting women on display in ways that men are not.
The same is not true of men, whom society values across a spectrum of criteria.
If you think that the dodgeball game was in poor taste, that's fine! If you think that it has set a new standard for how you want your own dating life to go, more power to you.
But there's nothing immoral about nudity, and this is a situation where "what if that were a woman" doesn't apply, because society does not treat men and women the same.