The reviews are in: Vanessa Grimaldi is no fun.
The winner of season 21 of The Bachelor has been deemed a wet towel, and most have agreed that she and Nick Viall are destined for a breakup. Grimaldi's primary offense is that she's too serious. And in a show where absurdity reigns, this is a criminal offense. However, Grimaldi's concerns aren't that absurd — nor they shouldn't be treated as such. The Montreal native shared worries that any person in a relationship might have. Why, then, are we so mad at her?
Before Nick Viall proposed, Grimaldi seemed perturbed that he was also dating another woman. Given that this is the entire premise of the ABC reality show, her concerns rang a little aggressive. The internet wanted her to relax. They wanted to know: Haven't you seen the show, Vanessa? That's the whole idea.
But Grimaldi's concerns, in any other situation, would be warranted. The beginnings of any relationship are tinged the with the leftovers of previous ones. Grimaldi's beau — Nick Viall — is fresh off a fairly serious relationship with Raven Gates. Sans lights, cameras, and action, Grimaldi will have to contend with the ending of Gates' relationship.
"Do you think that love is enough to make a relationship last?" Vanessa asked Viall's father in the finale. It's not exactly a comfy question, but it's an important one to ask. Because, no. Love isn't enough to make a relationship last. There are logistics involved. Logistics like: Where will these two crazy kids live? How will Grimaldi, who loves her family, deal with moving to the U.S.?
All of these concerns are valid. However, on the show, it seems Grimaldi's only task is to be a subservient woman, ready to bend to the Bachelor's every wish. Her concerns made her seem "needy" or "high maintenance" to viewers at home.
It should be common knowledge now that "high maintenance" and "needy" are more than a little gendered. The word reinforces the "cool-girl complex." The cool girl — in this situation, that's the nonchalant Raven Gates — doesn't care about location. She doesn't care about emotional baggage. The cool girl doesn't care about much of anything, really. She's more object than agent, and that's why the "cool girl" trope isn't okay.
Vanessa Grimaldi, by speaking up on the relationship issues that matter to her, claimed some agency for herself in a television show that barely allows for any at all. Her offense is merely that she overstepped the show's guidelines. The Bachelor — and we viewers are complicit in this — wanted her to be acquiescent. Her only job was to say "yes" without any caveats. When she didn't, the internet revolted.
Vanessa Grimaldi not needy — she's realistic. She's intelligent. And the "cool girl" isn't always as chill as we think, anyway. Gone Girl taught us that.