Unpopular opinion: Love Island is problematic trash
I can’t be the only one who doesn’t get it
Hungover? Trashy TV. Procrastinating? Trashy TV. Literally nothing else better to do? Trashy TV. Mind-numbing nothingy programmes are one of the most comforting things on screen. However, the anticipation of the six weeks every year where the festering cultural sore that is Love Island comes onto our screens has started to fill my stomach with dread.
If you somehow don't know what Love Island is (please, tell me your secret), the show revolves around a group of men and women living in a villa in isolation from normal society who have to 'couple up'. The actual motivations for wanting to be on the show seem blurred – it ranges from simple fame hunting, genuinely wanting love or wanting the cash prize of £50,000 given at the end to the couple viewers deem most 'in love'. It's all pure fakery.
The mania surrounding the show is startling. Somehow, ITV has created something of almost biblical significance. Last year, more people applied to Love Island than to Oxbridge – that's insane. When the show airs, the whole population seems to slow down, plonking themselves in front of a screen every night watching people who are, at best, glorified satsumas -and don't even know what Brexit is.
The politics of the show are disconcerting at best, and terrifying at worst, not only encouraging a male vocabulary that depicts women as slabs of meat, but making it trendy.
Another human being can't be a prize, that isn't how life works.
Snapchat's 'Discover' page, Instagram's 'Explore' as well as all of Facebook seems to show a constant stream of 'news' about the show. Instead of focusing on anything actually important, our generation's conversations, headlines and free thought has succumbed to the toxic wasteland that is Love Island.
Nobody really seems to question just how problematic the show is (which only supports the argument that Love Island is fuelling the dumbing down of society), but the real issue is that it has somehow made the idea of winning a cash prize for being more 'in love' than someone else a normal cultural phenomenon, instead of what it really is – downright weird.
Plus, the message that this kind of show sends about beauty standards is endlessly troubling. The Guardian recently attributed the dislike of the show to the fact that it reminds people about their 'dad bod'.
Well, I'm perfectly happy looking like a wobbly marshmallow on the beach, thanks – the issue is that this is a show amassing millions of views, promoting one idealised body type. I, for one, have never seen people looking as sculpted and groomed as Love Island contestants outside of a screen – it's both unnatural and unhealthy. Let's leave unattainable beauty standards to the Kardashians.
The final twist of the knife? The show enforces that the only way of being happy is to be in a relationship. The show's industrialisation of love culminates with the overall message that it isn't okay to be single. No – what you really need to do to succeed in life is enter a reality show and find true love with a stranger who you have nothing in common with.
Is 'Love Island' a cultural abyss? Am I being melodramatic? Probably both – but all I know is that I want the part of my brain now dedicated to remembering that someone called Marcel was in something called 'Blazing Squad', back.