The ‘Love Island Effect’


Feminist Blogs / Wednesday, June 13th, 2018

So I’ll admit it, I don’t watch Love Island. Sorry. I know that if I did watch it then I’d probably get completely hooked and give up any social life that I currently have (which for an introvert, isn’t that much anyway) for the next 8 weeks. As I don’t watch the show, I actually had to Google what it was about, and for those like me who haven’t gone into a Love Island frenzy, this is what I found out. At 9pm on ITV2 for 8 weeks of the summer, you get to watch a group of people (non-celebrities) on an ‘island’ in Spain who have the aim of staying as a couple with another person in the group. Throughout a series of eliminations and re-coupling, contestants are ‘dumped’ from the show and at the end of the 8 weeks, the remaining and favourite couple win £50,000. Pretty intense.

I don’t particularly agree with the format of the show, I feel like it can help promote a culture of chopping and changing relationships quickly and not actually valuing what a relationship is. But that’s not what I’m most worried about. Have a look at the picture below, is there anything that doesn’t look right about it?

Image result for love island cast 2018

The answer is… everybody looks the same.

The woman all have long hair, flat stomachs, long legs, boobs that aren’t ‘too small’, heavyish make up and would probably all be considered to be very attractive. The men are also the same, they all have nice abs, toned muscles and would also probably be deemed as quite attractive. So my point is – there is no body diversity. Or do you have to look like you could appear on Love Island to find love in real life? Of course not. But some tweets that I’ve come across are actually really concerning:

I feel like I just want to shout to these people who have tweeted and tell them that the people on Love Island are not representative of the wider population. All of this just adds to the media frenzy that is attributing to girls as young as 5 who are going on diets. They see women plastered all over the media whose bodies look nothing like theirs and they aspire to have something that is usually down to genetics or very, very hard work. It all adds to the reinforcement of a body type that could damage the self-esteem of many young people. People have reported feeling like a failure when they have watched Love Island. If you add this to the research that suggests the more time people spend on social media, the lower their self-esteem, then what good can it do having a show with unrealistic body images plastered on the TV and social media for 8 weeks straight?

On Love Island in particular, it seems that people are judged straight away based on how they look, for example, contestants initially chose partners purely based on appearance. This could send a message out that your compatibility with someone is down to how they think you look, and doesn’t have anything to do with personality. Basically, as long as you look like you’re from Love Island then everything should be fine. (Joke).

It’s not just a problem for girls, the men on Love Island all have a similar body type too – ‘ripped’ (very muscly). Men can have self-esteem issue too and seeing the guys on Love Island could make them think that they have to look like ‘that’ to be able to ‘bag’ an attractive girl. This could help to increase the current problems with steroid abuse or Body Dysmorphic Disorder.

What people have to keep in mind when watching Love Island is that what they’re seeing isn’t real life. You don’t walk down the street and see everyone wearing swimwear which is probably a size 10 or under. We can’t continue to base our ideal body image on a group of people on TV who show no diversity regarding their image.

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