Hannah Brownn took up the mantle as The Bachelorette for the show’s 15th season, and she quickly convinced me she was a disingenuous, basic, smiley southern belle by how fervently she proclaimed her “realness.” Having been out of the Bachelor Nation loop for 4 whole seasons, I was unfamiliar with Hannah’s time on The Bachelor but initially found her a return to form for the franchise after the interesting, charming, not-white Rachel Lindsay (the last Bachelorette I watched in 2017).
Hannah starts out the season, her “realness” a-blazin’, and she’s definitely here to find a husband (or money, attention and fun, but let’s follow the show’s narrative here). She was sure she would marry her last two boyfriends, but Hannah found herself rejected as a wife twice by the age of twenty-four. Her biological clock ticking and rapidly becoming an old maid, she was ready to fast-track this marriage thing with these 30 eligible bachelors! This is the starting point for Hannah as a character: a young lady who needs a man. I wasn’t impressed.
The season progressed mostly as “The Luke P. Show” (We’ll get to it), and I found myself liking Hannah more and more. Sure, she fills the roll of sweet, sunshiny white girl; but with a bit of a bite. Hannah surprised me by being both forthright and unapologetic with her emotions. She never beat around the bush and never pulled her punches. She surprised me with her “realness.” I loved her outbursts of, “I’m so mad right now,” and, “That seriously pissed me off,” making her emotions clear without ever being irrational (Could you imagine?!). She was always careful with how she addressed situations and was clear about her expectations.
What was making her mad? Great question. It was Luke P. Despite being milked for drama and infuriatingly being the center of attention, Luke P. was an important part of Hannah’s arc. She strode through the season declaring her autonomy and telling the men who reasonably HATED Luke P. that she would figure it out for herself. I loved that Hannah didn’t fold under the pressure of so much male influence. She surely had a hard time separating their opinions with what she, herself, knew and saw of Luke P. If they had— I don’t know, left her alone about it— I truly believe she would have sooner seen Luke for the chauvinistic manchild we all know he is. Like a dumpster fire at the dynamite factory, The Luke P. show came to a spectacular end when he asked Hannah if she’d been sleeping with other men. “If you’re used, I don’t want you anymore.” -Luke P. That’s not a real quote, but trust me, he says way worse.
Though the entire season was ripe with uncomfortable religious overtones, I question the truth of Luke’s faith. Maybe I would believe Luke P. cared about virginity and religion if he hadn’t tried to control Hannah’s decisions the entire season. It seemed Luke wasn’t comfortable with Hannah’s freedom of choice, and he used religion as a way to excuse it. Clearly, Hannah wasn’t going to take that because Hannah embodies a population that believes you can be both religious and sexually liberated.
I love Hannah as a champion of female sexual freedom, because she isn’t what we imagine. Kaitlyn Bristowe, who was mercilessly slut-shamed after sleeping with Nick “Him?” Viall before the Fantasy Suite on season 11, was a fiery personality. She was the image of a sexually liberated, independent woman, and it was clear she wasn’t going to be shamed into remorse. As it turns out, Hannah: a religious, southern, sweet, traditionally feminine woman, ALSO won’t be shamed into remorse. She is ALSO an independent woman that ALSO gets to decide what she does with her body (How many of them are there?!). Hannah not only figured Luke P. out on her own through a cacophony of criticism, she also stood up for herself and her choices right to his face and on national television.
The fact that Hannah ended up alone at the end of this season is almost poetic, as the “winner” downplayed the secret girlfriend he had the whole season, and Hannah said “I’m sicka this sh*t,” and broke it off. Her character arc complete, she ended by saying: “I realized that I don’t need a husband. I want a husband, sure. But I don’t need one.” Entertainment value: 10/10.