Abbie Chatfield: Smashing The Patriarchy And Reclaiming The Narrative
Last year, she was The Bachelor villain Australia loved to hate. Now, even Abbie Chatfield’s biggest detractors are being brought around to the fact that a lot of us severely misjudged the reality TV star.
It’s a rare reality star who manages to retain relevance long after the show ends. We’re used to seeing a few months of inevitable #spon posts before the D-grade celeb status wears off and they sink back into oblivion. But Abbie Chatfield has managed to turn a negative portrayal into something much more.
From Bachelor villain to Instagram It-girl
Abbie Chatfield has emerged from her tumultuous reality TV journey as a feminist icon. And with a new(ish) podcast where she’s finally in control of her own narrative, everything’s coming up roses for our ex-Bachy fave.
When Season 7 of The Bachelor was airing from July to September 2019, comments accusing the confident, vivacious then-23-year old of being a ‘slut’, ‘fake’ and ‘manipulative’ were everywhere on social media. What seemed to distress people most was that Abbie unapologetically owned her sexuality and healthy sexual appetite.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the trolls and insults were water off a duck’s back for Abbie. Behind her intelligent, mic drop-worthy responses to nasty comments on Instagram though, the hate was taking its toll on her mental health.
As social media has allowed Abbie to reframe the unfavourable narrative perpetuated about her on the show, the insults have gradually abated and the praise is flooding in.
Now with a 144k-strong following backing her, Abbie is loud, proud, and not afraid to confront the patriarchal values that have seen her publicly shamed. Pointing out the hypocrisy of being treated as a sexual object yet denied permission to act as a sexual being, she sports her ‘FEMINIST’ tattoo with pride. Women from all over have applauded Abbie’s calling out of the hypercritical treatment she’s been subjected to by the media and in public discourse.
Flipping the narrative and making a change
Not one to give in to bullies, Abbie has continued to post candid photos of her exercises-four-days-a-week-but-also-loves-carbonara rig (her words), radiating health and self-love. Persistence pays, and it seems her message has finally sunk in, with a majority of her Instagram public now clear Abbie devotees.
Abbie delivers messages of body and sex-positivity with endearing honesty and candidness, all the while highlighting the insidious way the patriarchy plays out in our everyday lives. In her interview with Punkee last year, Abbie talked in length about how the editing on The Bachelor painted being a confident woman as a negative thing.
“Insecurity is seen as a positive thing in women and being confident is a negative thing. Insecurity shouldn’t make someone attractive. I’m not being like, I’m the fuckin’ hottest thing in the world. But I’m happy with how I look and it’s taken me years to get to this place,” she said.
Seeking to normalise topics like female self-pleasure and mental health, it’s no wonder she’s got us asking for more. of. this. pls.
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THIRST TRAP WITH A MESSAGE 🔈 Despite all of my posts about body positivity, and my firm belief in loving yourself despite your size, not because of it.. I recently split some jeans in multiple places. The culprit was a bit of weight gain, and also a few high kicks while on the dfloor. I promised myself I wouldn’t buy new jeans until I lost weight. Why? Why have I put arbitrary conditions on whether I am allowed to buy myself some jeans that fit me right now? Why can’t I just buy a size up instead of putting conditions on myself because my waist is no longer a size 6? I’m happy with my body right now, but societal pressures fester in my mind, remnants of a childhood typical of any other woman, one that forces us to think gaining weight is always negative. I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been, the happiest I’ve ever been, so in conclusion I tried jeans on and I didn’t feel shame when I had to squeeze my ass into them. Didn’t buy them… but the sentiment remains the same. Let’s get rid of the notion of rewarding yourself when you get to a certain weight or size, buy clothes you like NOW for current you🥰
Attending a #changethedate rally back in January, Abbie’s interest in social justice issues appears intersectional, extending beyond just feminism. In signature style, she managed to communicate her message of solidarity with First Nations peoples with humour and irreverence. “250 years of genocide, oppression & trauma is probs more important than you being pissed on this one specific day ya drongo,” her sign read.
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I just think if a whole group of people are telling us that something is traumatic, we should do what we can to fix it. I love this country, but this date is no longer significant to me as I learn more about the views of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people. I’ll be at the Brisbane March at 10am. Catch ya there. Please sign the @ulurustatement #changethedate #alwayswasalwayswillbe @clothingthegap Edit: I can see these comments getting out of hand already. Please go to @blakbusiness @ulurustatement @clothingthegap or any other Indigenous run resource to understand why there is a call for the date to be changed. As a white woman I don’t want to talk over anyone and all it takes is a simple google.
Her progressive views have attracted praise not only from her growing fanbase but also from the likes of Australian feminist of note Clementine Ford.
The best-selling author of ‘Fight Like a Girl’ frequently leaves messages of support on Abbie’s Instagram posts. The two have also featured on each other’s podcasts to chat all things feminism and life, tackling issues such as abortion, reality TV editing, and owning your sexuality.
“When I chose to speak about my abortion, I really just wanted people to feel like it was OK if they had an abortion as well, because I didn’t feel like it was OK for ages, because no one talks about it,” Abbie told Punkee.
“If these are controversial topics people are gonna hate someone for they may as well keep hating me. And then maybe one person will feel a bit better about being fat-shamed or having an abortion or being slut-shamed.”
When it comes to Abbie, where there was previously intense dislike, there’s now respect and an increasing interest in giving the vocal young woman a platform. It’s come as no surprise that she’ll be returning to our screens for Bachelor in Paradise, and we can only hope her reception will be quite different this time around.
“People have had this incredible bounceback, and I think they have realised that I’m not who they thought I was on the show [The Bachelor], and maybe that’s more interesting. Everyone loves a redemption story,” she said.
In March, Abbie launched her podcast ‘It’s A Lot’ – her favourite catchphrase when referring to the characteristic openness and honesty that has made her such a polarising figure. The podcast is devoted to discussing “dating, friendships, sex and all other facets of life,” with early episodes already addressing masturbation, nudes and daddy issues to name a few.
Of course, the few remaining haters will hate. Meanwhile, Abbie will be busy lovin’ herself sick, along with a whole generation of young Australian women.