Since Love Island came back on our screens a few years ago it has continued to grow and grow.
The show follows the basic concept that singletons enter a villa, date, spend time together and hope to, in the end, find love.
However, for anyone who has ever watched the show it is not quite as easy as this.
The islanders are pinned against each other from the outset, expected to entertain the public through multiple love affairs, speculation over a desire for money rather than love and explosive rows.
I know it can be addictive. You just want to see the challenge that everyone was talking about, or you plan on watching two minutes to see what all the fuss is about and before you know it, whether you planned to or not, you are buying in on the show and all its over the top antics.
What’s the harm in this?
Well, when we take a closer look at the show and our reactions to it we realise just how negative it can be and how massively it is distorting our expectations of reality when it comes to looks, money and of course, relationships.
A Show Where Appearance Is Everything
From the very first episode appearance is made to be everything.
I mean, the girls literally line up as boys parade themselves in front of them as they both hope to be picked based purely of their looks.
Of course, it’s a dating show and you have to be attracted to the person you are dating, but what message is this sending?
It is creating the idea that you are disposable, that you are ranked depending on your beauty and that is all you have to offer.
Throughout the show boys and girls flood into the villa seemingly not worried about “stepping on anyones toes” in order to get what they want.
Loyalties are dropped and eyes wander; as my friend put it once “they act like kids in a sweet shop wanting everything in sight”.
Unrealistic beauty expectations
Many of these guys and girls are the same age as me, twenty-two, with some even being a couple of years younger and yet they all seem to look like Barbie and Ken dolls. This is not necessarily a criticism, after all Barbie is beautiful but she is a doll, fake and unattainable.
I am a firm believer that everyone is entitled to do what they want with their bodies, after all it is yours. However, when we see girls who have lash lifts, false tan and nails, their teeth done, hair extensions and laser hair removal we start to look at ourselves and question why we don’t have these things.
On top of that add boob jobs, lip fillers, botox and filler and suddenly their so called ‘natural beauty’ seems so far away.
How is anyone supposed to afford these procedures, especially in their late teens or early twenties? And should we really be aspiring to change ourselves so much just to fit in with an ascetic that’s currently “in”?
Why are we pretending that this is how they look when they wake up or even more so why are we pretending this is ‘all natural?’
Where Is The Diversity?
The show portrays this idea that there is one desirable size and it should fit all.
For girls they are left thinking they need bigger breasts or a smaller waist, a flatter tummy or perkier bum.
For guys they are surrounded by images of lean muscular men with neat hair and sun kissed skin.
We are not clones of each other and should not be made feel we have to be. Love Island favours a certain “look” and disregards a mix of body shapes, racial backgrounds and also prioritises able-bodied people.
You don’t have to conform to the standard norms of relationships and again should be able to fulfil them in any way you see fit.
However, what Love Island does is create a culture of disposability. They talk of connection and chemistry, yet drop each other and pick each other up when they please like bits of clothing.
Shows like Love Island, Geordie Shore and Towie are making society believe that it is acceptable to treat people like this. Focussing on us girls however, you must admit that dating now seems like a battlefield and guys think it is the norm to cheat, lie, gaslight and ghost you.
Of course, this happens to guys too and not all guys are the same, but our continued support of shows like Love Island only aid in fostering a disrespectful and toxic society for relationships.
So next time you sit down to watch Love Island will you think differently? Do you think that Love Island can be problematic?