We Spoke To Abbie Chatfield About Body-Shaming & Boycotting ‘The Bachelor’
Between her popular Instagram page and her podcast, It’s A Lot, Abbie Chatfield has well and truly put her memorable stint on The Bachelor behind her.
But that doesn’t mean she’s done calling out the show. Following the latest episodes of The Bachelor, Abbie expressed her frustration with people labelling frontrunner Bella Varelis as the season’s villain — a title she was given last year. “I get so mad at the word villain, I think it’s a ridiculous word to use for a human being,” she told us.
Abbie said that being labelled like this affected her own self-worth. “It makes you into a character but it also makes you gaslight yourself. Am I a bad person? If everyone in Australia is saying I’m a villain then what does that mean for me in my everyday life? Does everybody in my life think I’m not a good person, that I’m a piece of shit? It really messes with you. At least, I don’t think there’s been as much focus on one person this season which has been good. With me, it was every episode.”
— Weslee (@WSpark98NZ) September 10, 2020
Early into the season, Abbie said she wouldn’t be watching the show anymore as she felt triggered. “I found that certain edits were too reminiscent of my edit and the things that were being said. I only watched one episode and then half of the second one and was like ‘Nah, I can’t do this.’ It was just watching people go through the same thing I went through — whether positive or negative — but it made me very uncomfortable,” Abbie told us.
“It’s just too triggering. Because even though I obviously got through that [2019’s The Bachelor season] and talk about it openly, I don’t know if people realise that it’s still trauma. I still get trolled every day. I get trolled every single day with a message saying something awful. This is not like a thing that happened last year and then I move on and I’m fine. I got a death threat like two or three months ago. It’s never-ending so I just need to avoid The Bachelor franchise.”
After the 2019 season wrapped, Abbie has used her Instagram as a platform to call out the toxic nature of the criticism levelled at her throughout the series. “I have a really hard time keeping my mouth shut when I think things are not just and I thought that my portrayal on the show and then the subsequent trolling was really unfair,” she said. “The amount of shaming going on and aggression towards a sexual woman is just so backwards. I felt like I needed to call it out, not even just in relation to me but just the fact people think this way.”
Abbie has teamed up with Libra to launch the Live Liberated campaign, which seeks to promote conversations on a range of taboo topics, as well as shine a light on the unrealistic expectations women endure every day. Research commissioned by Libra found that 91% of women feel society places pressure on them and a further 26% felt stifled and suffocated as a result.
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We chatted with empowering, real & inspiring individuals about the pressures they feel & how they’re striving to #LiveLiberated. Hell yes to honest, emotional & hilarious conversations, where NO topic is off limits! ❤️✨ @kathebbss @allira.potter @abbiechatfield @samanthandrew Stay tuned for more from these movers & shakers. #LiveLiberated #realconversations #lovelibra
These pressures go into overdrive online on platforms like Instagram and Abbie said that it’s impossible to please everybody. “If you’re not too fat, then you’re too skinny, or you’re too prudish, or you’re too sexualised. It gets to a point that you just have to live authentically because whatever you do, there’s always going to be an issue. There’s always going to be people commenting in a certain way.”
On Abbie’s Instagram, she often calls out the nasty comments she receives, whether they are posted on her own feed or on articles about her. She said she makes a point to call out trolls, rather than turn a blind eye. “On The Bachelor my friend had a hold of my Instagram and she’d delete [mean comments] but not anymore.” she said.
“If I ignore comments, they keep coming back. But in posting about them and calling people out, it not only educates people on things like slut-shaming and body-shaming but I get the power back. I get to choose what’s shared.”
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It’s been over a year of being in the media to a certain degree and comments like these only get a tiiiiny bit easier. Yes, they’re laughable. Yes, our value doesn’t come from our weight and yes, being “fat” shouldn’t even be a bad word BUT it still sucks. It gets exhausting and I just want it to stop. I want it to stop for me, but also for people who read these comments and think it’s the norm. Speaking about women as objects, analysing their weight and saying you would “take them for a ride” is especially repugnant. Saying all I need to do is stay the “correct” weight is… fucked? It implies that to have worth I need to stay thin, and that my value exists only when I fit into a standard of beauty that is not realistic. Right now I have put on weight (hellllooooooo uber eats for every meal for 2 weeks) and tbh am struggling to look in the mirror naked, throwing on a towel before I have chance to see myself, I feel like we’ve all been there? I’m actively trying to not suck my stomach in constantly because my lower back pain is out of control from trying to contort my body 24/7 to be more “appealing”. Seeing comments like this about my body constantly just make me feel defeated. It isn’t fair that this is the societal norm, and I am really struggling with my body at the moment so it’s just kicking me while I’m down. BUT what do I do when I feel insecure? Post the insecurities here so you can all see! Huge GRRR energy.
Through her Instagram following, Abbie has connected with other women who have had similiar experiences. “I think when it comes to the sheer volume of DMs I get about body-shaming, it seems like something most women have endured in their lives,” she said.
“Women have always been seen as ornamental throughout history and that still prevails today. But I think we’re doing a great job of breaking that down and Live Liberated is helping with that, it’s putting things in the spotlight and making us think about how much we judge others and ourselves.”
Men play an important part in women being liberated from these pressures day to day. “I don’t think that they need to do anything in particular other than call out the other men in their lives who are doing things like body-shaming or slut-shaming. If someone describes a woman as a ‘slut’, they need to call that out, which I think is the most important thing — and I think it’s very rare. It’s rare that men do that when it’s quite simple.”
Despite the online trolling that Abbie still experiences to this day, she said she doesn’t regret her time on reality TV. “I’m glad that I didn’t get a good edit [on The Bachelor] because I wouldn’t have spoken about the things I’ve spoken about. I wouldn’t have got to speak about slut-shaming or body-shaming or anything like that. I wouldn’t have the opportunity to rebut those things.”