The Bachelor: fight, flight, freeze and fawn in action

What do Osher Gunsberg and David Attenborough have in common? Aside from their love of a good comb-over, of course. The answer? Well, they both study the primal nature of their subjects. For Gunsberg, it just so happens that these ‘subjects’ are 22 fully-grown women, locked in a mansion, competing for the affections of one eligible bachelor. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, a lot apparently. Between the cat-fights and throw-downs, hissy fits and sass attacks, the contestants are lucky to escape with their limbs intact, let alone their lives. It’s a goddamn jungle in there. No wonder these women resort back to their baser instincts.

You might think this kind of behaviour is only reserved for wild animals and deranged Bachie babes but, in actual fact, humans are genetically wired to respond to stress in one of four ways: fight, flight, freeze and fawn. This predisposition, also known as hyperarousal or the acute stress response, is a psychological reaction to perceived harm, attack or threat to survival. Initially coined the fight or flight response by Walter Cannon in 1932, the model was later adapted to include freeze and faun as typical stress-related behaviours. It can be triggered by physical emergencies, like blood loss from trauma, or psychological ones, such as antagonistic encounters between members of the same species. The result is total body mobilisation driven by powerful neurochemicals that flood the brain and body. And who better to demonstrate this effect than our delightful bachelorettes?

FIGHT: Fight response is triggered when a person confronts a perceived threat head on.

Leah the loose cannon

After being slut-shamed for her “party business” and wild antics, things all started to unravel for Leah, architecture student and resident villain. The 24 year old’s notoriously forward and confrontational style had previously ruffled a few feathers in the mansion. So, you can bet your Bachie bitch-list that this blonde bombshell wasn’t going down without a fight, throwing Simone under the bus for her colourful “history” before departing the mansion with spectacular shade. Never shy of an opinion, Leah even told Matty J that he was “making a mountain out of a molehill” *gasp* before wishing him “luck in cutting through all the fake bullshit.”

FLIGHT: Flight response is triggered when a person responds to a perceived threat by fleeing, or launching into hyperactivity.

Jen the juggernaut

If you thought Leah’s exit was dramatic, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Without villain number one to take the heat off, Jen was getting perilously close to the chopping block. I guess you can’t hide the fact that you’re an insufferable toad forever, *sigh*. So, what’s a girl to do? Stage an elaborate ploy, create unnecessary drama as a cover and then flee in the night before the final rose ceremony. Her famous last words: “I’m the girl that walked away from Matty J.” Your loss, hon. Do yourself a favour and take Side-Show Bob here with you.

FREEZE: Freeze response is triggered when a person, realising resistance is futile, gives up, numbs out into dissociation and/or collapses as if accepting the inevitability of being hurt.

Sharlene the shocker

Ah, Sharlene. The poor thing didn’t know what hit her when Matty pulled her aside to tell her that she was getting the boot. Her response:

Home-girl just sat there speechless as Matty broke it down for her. You + me, no work. Comprehendo? When she did try to get her thoughts together, she managed to get out, “Yeah… I’m… thanks. Thanks. Thanks.” It’s okay, Sharlene. I’d go goo-goo sitting opposite this as well.

FAWN: A fawn response is triggered when a person responds to threat by trying to be pleasing or helpful in order to appease and forestall an attacker or threat.

Salty Simone

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, in comes Simone with her pity party. The Office Admin worker had successfully brought down the mood of every cocktail party complaining about a lack of quality time spent with the dreamy dude. She watched as woman after woman was selected for their second dates as she not-so-patiently waited for her first. And yet, for all the whinging and whining, Simone never broached the topic with Matty. She knew any unpleasant encounter would send her packing. So, she hid the frown, upped the cleavage and waited for the inevitable to happen.

Be it fight, flight, freeze of faun these Bachelorettes have it covered. What they may lack in brain cells, they certainly make up in survival instincts. And really, what more would you expect from our Bachie babes? Dangle a piece of meat into a lion’s den and things will get ugly real quick. Especially if that delectable dish happens to be Matty J. We’ll do anything to get a taste.




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