Last night’s ep of Bachelor In Paradise saw not two, but four people head home. Two at the rose ceremony – Cass and Keely – but also Timm Hanly and Brittany Hockley, who chose voluntarily to leave the show as a couple.

Since then, things have soured. Brittany has since explained her side of the story – once they exited the show, Timm essentially ghosted her. He even went so far as to apparently block her on social media. WTF.

Her post-Bachie chat is wild and you can read all about it here. But what stood out to me was when she talked about all the criticism she copped for not controlling Timm’s pot-stirring and general chaotic behaviour in Paradise.

“It’s absolutely not my job,” she told 10Play. “It left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. In what world are we living in that I need to ‘control’ a 28-year-old man?”

As with every season, this season of Bachelor In Paradise has touched on plenty of existing gender imbalances and social constructs like the damaging “bro code”, the way women speak about each other, and more. But I have to admit, I kind of missed this critique of Brittany.

Maybe it’s because we haven’t seen a lot of her this season – something she attributed to the fact she avoids drama.

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Me when the drama starts… You guys have been asking where I’ve been the last few episodes! Well, I don’t do drama and detest bullying, so chances are I was here or floating out to sea on a kayak sipping a coconut daiquiri. For real though, exercise has always been my stress release and has gotten me through many a tough time, and this was no different! Shout out to this 10 for the D&M’s and for being my training partner every morning. We had too many laughs. The friendships you don’t get to see @alexconnormckay As we come in to the last week of paradise I ask that you all be kind to the people on the show. Before you say anything to anyone remember words are more powerful than you think, so use them for good ???? much love x #bachelorinparadise

A post shared by Brittany Hockley ???? (@brittany_hockley) on

Maybe it’s because there has been SO much drama that it’s been easy to miss the comments about Brittany amidst the ocean of shit about other people on the show. Whatever the case, it went over my head – but it’s absolutely an issue.

You know that horrific excuse violent perpetrators often give when they’re abusive? “Look what you made me do.” The idea that a woman is responsible for a man’s actions has existed since the dawn of time – look at Adam and Eve in the Bible if you need evidence of how long we’ve blamed women for the actions of men.

Obviously, this is a far less worrying example of this. Timm wasn’t abusive, he was just behaving like an idiot – stirring shit up with his co-stars for entertainment. His worst moment would have been pushing Matt‘s buttons to the point where a fight *almost* broke out. Still, fans weren’t happy with his antics. But for some reason, blame fell on both Timm – and on Brittany.

Let’s unpack this. Brittany was completely removed from the drama Timm started/was involved in. It all centred around his mate Ciarran and “bro code”. It had absolutely nothing to do with her, besides the fact that she was at the time dating one guy who was involved.

Not only that, she’d also been dating the guy for a few weeks. This wasn’t her closest friend, her life-long partner. It was a new guy in her life who she was getting to know.

Sure, some might say they felt Brittany would want to call out Timm’s shitty behaviour, regardless of her relationship with him. Let’s unpack THAT. We know Brittany isn’t confrontational. We’re also watching an edited show where WE see what we’re allowed to see. As Brittany said in her interview with 10Play, “…there were definitely words Timm and I had in private where I said you can’t behave like that. I told him how disappointed I was in the things he was doing and saying.”

Basically, just because someone isn’t confronting another person in front of the cameras doesn’t mean they don’t give a shit.

But that, to me, is besides the point. Regardless of whether Brittany felt compelled to voice her concerns about Timm’s behaviour, the onus is on him to stop behaving like a fuckwit – not on her. The man is 28 years old. He has had more than enough life experience to understand the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.

“Why isn’t she controlling her man” is just another pathetic excuse for shitty behaviour. Why isn’t HE controlling HIMSELF? It echoes rape culture, comments like “she shouldn’t have worn that”, “she shouldn’t have come home with me if she didn’t want sex” – all those times where men lay blame on the woman for their own actions. Like many social attitudes, these comments about Brittany are the tip of a very, very big iceberg.

Something I love about reality TV is how it helps us address problematic attitudes, and this is definitely one of them. Let’s be done with placing any blame on women for how their male partners behave.

Image: Instagram / @bachelorinparadise