Love Island: Exposing Dating Double Standards and On-Screen Sexism

Cora-Laine Moynihan

ITV2’s infamous dating show, Love Island, has returned for another year with a new line-up of attractive singles and explosive bombshells. Yet, the show still cannot shed its misogynistic skin. Cora-Laine Moynihan explores the double standards prevalent this season, raising important questions about attitudes towards female sexuality and inherent sexism.

Eight singles entered the Mallorca Villa at the start of June, ready for eight weeks of love. Instead, with only two weeks remaining, the Island is overrun with sexism, ‘peacocking’, and horrendous double standards, unsurprisingly, insulting women everywhere. 

At this point in the Love Island timeline, we are post-Casa Amor. For those unfamiliar with the show, Casa Amor is the ultimate test for the existing couples. The girls were sent to another villa to spend a few days with a new group of attractive, single men while the boys remained and dallied with new, attractive, single women. Betrayals were rife. Loyalties were tested. And multiple contestants were declared ‘mugs’. 

In previous seasons, drama was expected. You would pick your favourite couple and hope their bond survived.

This year, however, it’s all about hoping the couples would break. 

Watching Love Island is becoming painful as the women are walked all over and are apparently okay with that

From Davide Sanclimenti’s gaslighting of Ekin-Su Culculoglu to the possessiveness Luca Bish exudes toward Gemma Owen, the male contestants have covered every red flag possible. Kissing other girls. Insulting their partners behind their backs. Lying. Manipulating. Just to name a few.

As the show continues, supporting the couplings has become more and more difficult. Watching Love Island is becoming painful as the women are walked all over and are apparently okay with that. While the girls have made mistakes during their time on the show, it is the boys that are competing to see who can make their lady feel the most like tissue beneath their shoes. 

Take, for example, Ekin-Su.

The Turkish bombshell who entered the villa exactly as a bombshell should… with a bang. Beelining for the ‘Italian Stallion’, Davide, Ekin-Su was ‘all-in’ until her head turned for Scotsman, Jay Younger. The two shared a passionate kiss unbeknownst to Davide, starting what the public initially thought was her villain arc on the show. Yet, only a week or so later, she returned to the Italian and ever since has embarked on a redemption arc.

If you want to know what a hostile environment is, just watch this show

Now, with context out of the way, the treatment of Ekin-Su since her sinful mistake is appalling. Endless bullying. Rude and distrustful comments. Uninvited cruel jokes. If you want to know what a hostile environment is, just watch this show.

Post-Casa Amor, Ekin-Su’s situation is all the more devastating. Every gent, apart from Luca Bish, yielded to temptation, yet she is still treated as a villain. A succubus present to ruin Davide’s Love Island experience. Even he sees her as such, making comments like “I’d say you fucked up twice” and “you’re as fake as a Louis Vuitton from China.” Yet, he is no saint either. Kissing multiple girls while coupled with Ekin-Su. Belittling her when he spoke about her to the guys. Heartbreakingly, she is not alone in this torment. 

Danica Taylor, another villa bombshell, faced alienation and intimidation from the boys after separating fisherman Luca from his dressage performer love, Gemma, in the aftermath of a recoupling. Considered a ‘homewrecker’, she spent weeks ridiculed and undervalued. Even the other girls behaved hostile toward her at times. 

But, this behaviour doesn’t end with these two bombshells. Every girl has faced the wrath of the immature boys in some form. Paige Thorne was manipulated again and again to stay with a guy who was too insecure in himself. Indiyah Polack is experiencing the same. Tasha Ghouri is continuously persecuted for speaking to other men throughout the show. Her emotions are toyed with daily by bullying and backstabbing. 

It’s double standards in practice. A display of the pure misogyny that deters many of the UK from watching and only worsens the already-depleted reputation of the show.

It brings to light the still-brewing sexism and taboo around female sexuality, raising questions such as: how is it okay for the men to fool around but not for the women? Why is it monstrous for the girls to ‘chat’ to other guys but perfectly fine for the boys to stick their tongues down other girls’ throats?

More importantly, why should women have to accept this behaviour in the pursuit of romance?

All these questions and more have been raised. Yet, there are no answers other than ‘it is what it is’.

Cora-Laine Moynihan

Featured image courtesy of Tyler Nix via Unsplash. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.

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