There is a word floating around in regards to Sophie Monk being the next Bachelorette.
I heard it first from Kyle Sandilands on this morning’s Kyle & Jackie O Show.
“It’s confirmed that Sophie Monk is that desperate she’s decided to be the Bachelorette,” he told listeners.
No, the word ‘desperate’ wasn’t surprising coming from Sandilands. His is a mouth paid to be outrageous and divisive and crass and say things it really shouldn’t – all to garner ratings. But it made me cringe all the same.
It hit me in the stomach with an ‘ooomph’ because appearing ‘desperate’ is what women use as an excuse for holding back. For not putting themselves out there and showing the world what they really want.
All of us have grown up with the parody of the desperate woman in movies and in television shows. The woman who just doesn’t have it together and is chasing and chasing and doesn’t know when to stop. It’s humiliating and embarrassing, and everyone can see the desperation except for her.
It doesn’t take long to learn it’s better to suppress feelings and push down desires because we wouldn’t want to appear desperate. It’s all of our fears – of being laughed at, and pitied, and a failure – wrapped into one word.
Listen: Sophie Monk tells The Binge what she’s expecting as Bachelorette. (Post continues below.)
I won’t tell my ex-partner that he really, really hurt me because that will make me seem desperate.
I won’t try for this promotion, because I’ve tried for three promotions in the past and been unsuccessful. It’s starting to look desperate.
I won’t cry when my best friend tells me she can’t come to my wedding because that will look desperate.
Still, it was typical Sandilands so I clenched my jaw and didn’t think much of it — until I saw a headline on The Sydney Morning Herald.
It was the website’s lead story and it read like this:
Ten’s desperate for ratings, Sophie is desperate for a man. This could work.
And then it was shortened:
A desperate network meets a desperate model. This could work.
The first paragraph began:
"Desperate and Dateless: Maybe that should be the new title for Ten's The Bachelorette when it goes to air later this year."
That word again.
Never mind that Monk herself was the one who approached Channel 10. Likely, the network had another 'Bachelorette' in mind before the 37-year-old actress and pop star and reality TV veteran knocked on their door.
She was the one who went after it and I wonder if she asked herself the same question: Will it look desperate?
It seems to be the yardstick of female behaviour.
It's defined using the words "hopeless" and "despair". And it brings to mind images of a woman - it's always a woman - sitting on a couch eating ice cream and waiting for a man with her hair in the same messy bun I seem to have unwittingly perfected.
But Sophie Monk is not desperate.
She is ready to find a partner.
She knows what she wants.
And she's not afraid to put it out there.
It's time we stop confusing ambition and honesty and realness with desperation. That word and all its judgement has been holding women back for way too long.