You don’t have to be in your twenties to know what Love Island is, you just need to be someone that has access to a television, a newspaper, the news or the radio. The programme that totally steals our attention for the summer is becoming more and more popular as the years go on, but what is the effect of this? In my opinion, it can be a negative one, so I’ve shared my views on what I believe the effect this programme has on not only the people in the villa, but on society as a whole, especially on women.
The Love Island villa is filled with ‘beautiful’ people, all looking for love, or are they? What was once a true reality tv show, has become a place for the fame-hungry to start their career. Whilst this is nothing to disagree with per se, there are other sides to Love Island that are most definitely disagreeable. Love island lines up girls, they’re told to step forward if they like what they see, straight away they are chosen completely based on looks and seen as merely an option…what message does this teach?
The girls and boys walk in and we judge them, dodgy bikini choice? Those eyebrows? How much lip filler? We’re always judging others and ready to criticise, to compete, to try and be better or look better, and that’s exactly what this programme promotes. It breeds insecurity and feelings of inferiority, why didn’t he pick me? What’s wrong with me? I wish I looked more like her and then I’d be wanted. Living in an age where we can change almost anything about ourselves so long as we have the money to fund it, paired with the ever-increasing pressures to look a certain way, the temptation is ever-growing. It’s a shallow but common reality, and the effects are widespread.
I’m sure all my women readers out there can think of a time where we have compared ourselves to someone else, felt threatened or inferior. Unfortunately I feel like Love Island is a breeding ground for this type of behaviour. They’re selected out of thousands upon thousands of applicants, be it for their figure, their face, or their social media presence; they’re essentially promoted as the best of Britain’s young people, the best looking, the most worthy of being idolised by their viewers. What comes of this is that we think that anyone who looks different, is under par, un-beautiful and undesirable, and that often includes normal girls like me and my readers.
The lack of plus sized women representation in the villa is an issue too, we should see an accurate representation of men and women in the villa, for otherwise it only reiterates the feeling of inferiority and ostracisation that Love Island fuels. Women are expected to be a size 6 but have DD breasts, to have a 24inch waist but a huge bum. This does not occur naturally very often, if ever. However we see so many women on love island sporting this look, achieved through surgery. Whilst I truly believe there is nothing wrong with changing something you dislike and to take steps to improve your self confidence in any way that you can, it promotes an unrealistic body expectation for women. It used to be more than acceptable for women to carry extra weight, it was desired, it was seen as healthy. Now women face the feeling of requirement to run everyday, to only eat a certain amount of carbs, or to go under the knife just to keep up with the standard that this programme and social media promotes. Futhermore, there is a lack of representation for bigger men too, but what my friend pointed out to be only today, was that Jack appears to be the biggest out of the men, no six pack, un-toned; but he had no trouble finding himself an absolutely gorgeous girl. If a girl of a similar weight proportion were to enter the villa, would she be just as successful? Would she even be accepted onto the villa? The potential answer is a sad one.
The social media’s and particularly the Instagram’s of the contestants are not only used to help determine ones place in the villa, but they are promoted when they enter. So we look, we see the face, the body, the life. What is not promoted or remembered are the hours of editing, the lighting, the hundreds of photos taken. The needles and the surgery is forgotten and the ideal women is established, although she doesn’t truly exist.
We’ve recently seen the breakdown of Samira, a truly beautiful woman inside and out, who on first glance would appear to be a confident and self-assured woman. She’s opened up about how not being chosen makes her feel, feeling inferior to Megan, it’s a truly sad thing to see. This leads me on to my next point, the girl in the villa branded the most attractive woman there (Megan), has in-fact had a complete face and body reconstruction. I can’t have been the only girl to breathe a sigh of relief to know that her face doesn’t naturally look like that, to know that it was money and not genes.
But why do we care if a girl who has had lots of work done is deemed the most attractive? Why do we always feel the need to explain someones beauty or to try and make ourselves feel better? Because we spend our lives wishing we looked like others, scrolling through Instagram to see tanned, thin women filling our screens, we’re constantly comparing ourselves and feeling inferior, it’s easy to be self-deprecating, so to put others down feels like the most comfortable thing to do. But this achieves nothing, it won’t make us love ourselves anymore, and it certainly wont make the people on the other side of it feel loved.
A further issue is that the men in the villa are unknowingly reinforcing that those lips, that bum lift and that boob job are what make you desirable, what determines your worth and what is truly important. I wish that the men would talk about how funny Georgia is, or how mature Laura is, but no, none of that matters, so long as you look a certain way, you could have no morals, no loyalty and the personality of a tea spoon and you would still be picked to stay in the villa, and this just fuels the superficial fire. One of the most commendable decisions I have seen in there is the boys sending Zara home, because for once it was about the contribution she made to the villa, the effort she made with others and her (lack of) personality, irrespective of being beautiful. I think that if more people in there focussed on personalities, we would see very different girls being chosen above others.
We spend our weeks watching people have the same conversations over and over again, what’s you’re type? Who do want to recouple with? But where’s the conversations about Alex’s or Rosies job? The only mildly ‘mature’ conversation I recall was the girls discussing Brexit, in which one of the girls Hayley, asked whether this meant England would have no trees, followed by her asking whether Essex was a country. What I took from this was how a woman felt the need to dumb herself down for attention, that it would be more beneficial to her to come across as uneducated than intelligent. Why can’t people be seen as attractive because of their intelligence, their morals? After all these are the qualities that will genuinely hold a relationship and establish someone as a person.
After seeing these beautiful, thin, and surgically enhanced women so ‘happy’ and desired, it’s easy to think that once we are a certain weight or have a procedure done we will be happy, but it’s not the case. I see so many girls on social media who are constantly having work done, as soon as they’ve combatted one insecurity, they’re onto the next. They’re never satisfied and they never truly learn to love themselves because of the self-hatred that they tried to solve with surgery, as opposed to truly working on loving themselves for who truly and naturally are. Whilst I agree that we should be allowed to change or to alter something we dislike; it should be done after loving yourself in the current moment, we must love ourselves and be happy with ourselves right now, irrespective of future plans or goals.
Whilst there is nothing wrong with surgery or other non-surgical procedures, just remember that whilst you might not look like the women we see on our screens, neither did they before. That isn’t to bash them for their decisions, merely to remind you that you aren’t less beautiful than them because of the size of your lips or your waist to hip ratio. I wish that surgery was discussed more freely, I feel that if it was more widely accepted then the girls in the villa would more openly talk about it, and we would experience less feelings of frustration and inferiority for not looking the way the ‘most attractive women in the UK’ do.
We’re so focussed on our appearance that we loose track of what’s important, like what our morals are, what our goals are and what makes us who we are. These things cannot be bought and also do not fade. The girls deemed the most attractive might be positively impacted by being rendered such, but would they turn to this in times of sadness, does it make them feel truly wanted? Appearance is not everything and once you find someone who appreciates that, looks do not come into the equation at all, there’s nothing more beautiful than someone who knows who they are and are proud of it, someone who is funny and kind. Next time you find yourself wishing you were someone else, or wishing you looked a different way, think about whether you’d trade who you are as a person, whether you’d change your morals or your personality. Looks can only take people so far, being deemed as attractive on the outside might bring us temporary happiness, but feeling self-assured from deep within is ever-lasting, it’s a bond between you and yourself, it’s pure and it’s real and it’s un-defeatable.
What I hope this blog post has achieved it to remind you that yes, this programme is a bit of lighthearted entertainment, but it carries so many backwards and problematic issues. Love Island is a shallow and unrepresentative display of our generation, so remind yourself of that, take the show for what it is, be rational, be a Danni. I hope to have reminded others that no one is objectively more beautiful than anyone else, nor more worthy. What society perceives as perfect, can be damaging to all who veer away from it, it is a complete social construction, don’t adhere to societies beauty standers because you feel like you have to, you do not have to look a certain way for anyone, dress and look the way you want to because you want to. Remember that everything isn’t always as it seems, what might appear to be a confident and self-assured woman, often hides her years of self-loathing, seeking happiness on the inside by changing who they are on the outside. Be kind, these women we see on TV might once have been you themselves, feeling pressured to look a certain way, only they felt their only option was to change their appearance instead of learning to love themselves.
Finally, in times of frustration or upset, you are not alone, feeling the pressures to look a certain way is natural when those who have enhanced themselves are deemed the most beautiful. Please remember that you are beautiful, as are the women on Love Island, everyone is beautiful, but it’s not the size of lips or the way someone looks in a bikini that makes us truly beautiful, the ultimate and most important beauty comes from within. So in conclusion, let’s stop competing against one another, stop comparing and stop judging, empower one another and practice self-love, the way we are right now, when we are truly at peace with ourselves we need not desire to bring others down.
Until next time