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Love Island and Disposable Relationships

Olivia Paton delves into the start of this year’s Love Island 

Since Love Island first aired in 2015, it has become one of the most watched reality TV shows in the UK. Whether we like to admit it or not, we still find ourselves curled up on the sofa at exactly 9pm each evening anticipating the next episode’s drama. However, do we really ask ourselves why we are drawn to such trashy TV? You may be sitting here thinking that ‘trashy’ is a harsh description. But is it not true? Look back at last year’s season: the so-called ‘do-bits society’, where ‘doing bits’ was joked about; where couples (not in committed relationships) were getting involved sexually with one another. And better yet, we watched Islanders have the actual front of having sex on national TV. Love lsland may as well be called ‘Shag Island’.

This year, I cannot say that the show is making much of an improvement on the calibre of individuals entering the villa. When we consider the very first few episodes, we look back at Scottish lad Anton beaming at the fact that he had been kicked out of his family home when his mum found him in bed with two girls. And how about Michael, who looks so sweet, yet laughs at the fact that he has had threesomes, because in his words, “how can you not?”.

The show even still continues to divulge personal information about the Islanders. In episode 2, the Islanders had to guess which intimate facts applied to which individual. Three examples come to mind. Which person has slept with eleven people and cannot remember two of their names? Amy. How about the person who cheated on their boyfriend whilst they were in Australia? Lucie. And who keeps a list of the people that they have slept with on their phone? Sherif. Even Anna said she keeps a list too! I can probably speak for most viewers when I say that this was embarrassing. Literally airing the Islanders dirty laundry (so-to-speak) for all to see and criticise, is just degrading. And proudly admitting such behaviour is more of a cause for concern than laughter.

‘These types of programmes normalise disrespectful behaviour’

The crucial problem is that these types of programmes normalise disrespectful behaviour. We all understand that Love Island is a game – but it is a show that plays on people’s emotions; where the phrase ‘keeping my options open’ is constantly reiterated to make it seem normal that individuals are optional- aka disposable. Take Sandwich Seller Joe and Cornish surfer girl Lucie; I was rooting for their relationship at the beginning of the series. They seemed to be the perfect match. Yet a love triangle soon developed as Lucie found herself caught between Joe and hunky boxer Tommy Fury. The nation was quick to criticise Joe’s ‘controlling’ behaviour of Lucie and his immediate reaction was certainly immature. However, how would you feel if someone told you how much they liked you, yet still wanted to speak to someone else?

And so, the contradicting behaviour begins. One minute Lucie says that she does not see a future on the outside with Joe – yet still picks him to couple up with and says that she can see this future? I’m confused. So, OK the love triangle is finally resolved – yet Tommy and Lucie are now “friends”. If Lucie cared about Joe’s feelings, she would not be joking around with Tommy so unabashedly right in front of his face. It is not a platonic relationship if you had romantic feelings for someone to start with. End of.

And what about Curtis? Everyone seems to think that he is a sweetheart, yet on the first coupling, he showed interest in not only Amy but Yewande. I think everyone seems to forget that he was playing a game by making Yewande feel as if he had a romantic connection with her. What about the “friend zoning” situation in the hot tub with Molly-Mae? According to Molly-Mae, Curtis friend zoned her in the hot tub. Yet if we replay that episode back, Molly was the one who purposefully put Curtis in the friend zone. The same goes for Tommy Fury – I was immediately put off by him, because he relays the same script to every single girl that he fancies. The scary thing is, what he says seems believable.

‘How can you expect any man to respect you if you do not respect yourself?’

Now the two new girls have entered the villa and I just do not KNOW what to say. Elma really thinks that Anton is this gentleman, when we all know he isn’t. She would have seen what he was like upon entering the villa – anything but a gentleman. And, Maura – well she is just disrespectful and unladylike. How can you expect any man to respect you if you do not respect yourself? (Sorry that line was taken from the film 17 Again; had to be done!).

 I do not want to end on a pessimistic note. I really think that some of the girls have conducted themselves in a respectful way. This particularly goes for ‘diva’ Amber; although she is very fiery and was downright mean to her first match, Callum, she commands respect. I thought she was really sweet when she did not want to kiss Michael because she was caught off guard. Yewande is also being true to herself, as she is not opening up to Danny because she does not want to get hurt. Both Amber and Yewande have not misled people at all, unlike most of the other Islanders.

‘It should be termed a ‘disposable’ culture as that is what it is’

This generation, more than ever, is consumed by casual hook-ups, nudes, sexting and god knows what else. TV reality shows like Love Island and dating apps such as Tinder are the cause of this problem. There are too many options nowadays – we wake up in the morning and do not even have to get out of bed to get what we want. Basically: if you don’t like Billy from Tinder, dump him and go for Mikey on Hinge. But if it doesn’t work out with Mikey, why not give Sam from Bumble a try. It should be termed a ‘disposable’ culture as that is what it is. Because really what chance do we actually have of finding true genuine love in this society?

Olivia Paton

Featured image courtesy of David Russo via Flickr. Image license found here

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