Love Islanders cost of living crisis

Dear Islanders: No one wants to see your extravagant lives during a cost of living crisis

Families struggling to feed themselves but Luca and Gemma are filming a full trolley M&S big shop

When you’re watching Love Island, as most of us have spent the summer doing, the people on your screens become akin (the temptation to write akin-su here was very strong) to soap characters. They blur the line between feeling like real people you know and caricatures playing out a narrative on telly. In lots of ways they are both. We can watch Ekin-Su and Davide as chaotic reality TV legends, forgetting that before that they moved amongst us. We don’t think of Gemma Owen’s privilege as we roll our eyes at Luca’s possessive ways – they are just hourly figures for us to tweet our opinions on as they navigate blossoming relationships. It’s only when these people leave the villa and post on their social media feeds what they’re up to during the worst cost of living crisis the country has faced since 1982 that you realise how out of touch with the majority of us Love Islanders really are.

Let’s address Gemma and Luca

Over the weekend, a video Luca Bish posted to his TikTok got traction online and, to put it frankly, fucked me right off. In the video, Luca says that he and Gemma have “major milestone” – a phrase which here means went to the supermarket and did a big shop. But not just any big shop, this is an M&S big shop. For a shop that is best known for being the place you pop in for a basket shop, a fancy lunch or where your mum gets the extra good bits for Christmas dinner from as a treat, it’s jarring to watch a couple swanning round and filling their trolley to the brim like they’ve just been challenged by Dale Winton for some rich man’s Supermarket Sweep.


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We all knew Gemma Owen was minted – she’s a dressage rider with stables attached to her house and the daughter of Michael pigging Owen. And despite Love Island’s efforts to portray Luca Bish as a humble lad from Brighton who sells fish, complete with a bizarre opening montage on episode one of this season where he’s literally behind a fish counter despite the fact he actually works for his family’s big fish selling business – anyone who has scrolled Luca or any of his family member’s socials knows he’s almost equally affluent. Rich people are allowed to go to M&S to be rich. But must we have to look at it? Is it not completely tone deaf to film yourself swanning round M&S in heels knowing full well the majority of your audience are between the ages of 15-25 and deeply, DEEPLY, skint?

With Luca and Gemma’s content specifically, it feels like a big focus is put onto what kind of life they’re leading. Swiping past Range Rovers, mansions and show ponies is the norm when it comes to these two. Can’t you just buy your Percy Pigs without filming yourself wheeling down the aisles?

But it’s not just them two

I love couples like Ekin-Su and Davide and Tasha and Andrew, but this isn’t just a Gemma and Luca issue. Despite the fact that Gemma and Luca somehow manage to do it all in the most obnoxious way humanly possible, nearly all the Islanders are up to something extravagant. Do we want to see it? As we face pints potentially hiking up to over eight quid? It’s your call. What you see on social media is your call – and thankfully, since most of the other Islanders have not taken to vlogging as they swan round Waitrose it’s a bit easier to avoid.

This is a wider issue with the show as a whole…

Love Island and ITV have frequently claimed the reason they do not cast diverse bodies on the show is because it is meant to be “aspirational”. This feels often like it overlaps into the people they cast on the show – nobody comes out of this show and behaves like they didn’t lead a life of luxury in the first place. But the issue is, this lifestyle is not aspirational, it is for the majority of people in the country not attainable. End of. It’s not about hard work, it’s about privilege, money and looks. Watching Love Islanders live lavishly in a cost of living crisis does not motivate or influence – it depresses, frustrates and annoys.

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Featured image credit: @gemowen_1

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