Meet the Newcastle third year who is writing her dissertation on Love Island – obviously
100 per cent my type on paper
While we're all suffering in the library with looming diss deadlines ahead of us, this third year has got it all right and is writing her dissertation on Love Island. I can't hide my jealousy if I tried.
In the past The Tab has uncovered many mad dissertations such as topics on One Direction, Beyonce and even a past diss on Love Island's second series. After fooling well over 200,000 of you that Love Island was starting the week after April Fool's day, it is clear how many Love Island fans we have out there.
So, we spoke to Lydia Glass, a third year English Literature student, who is writing her diss on last year's Love Island. Looking at Kem and Chris and even analysing THAT famous scene where they shaved each other's initials into their pubes – this diss seems pretty darn cool.
What is the title of your dissertation?
'"He's 100 per cent my type on paper": To what extent does Love Island endorse feminine masculinity as being as the quintessential expression of manhood, and why does the show choose to present this perception of maleness?'
Can you give a summary of what your diss is about…
I'm exploring why the show chooses to present the male contestants to be feminine rather than stereotypically masculine. Essentially, it's because it is in the best interest of the producers to do so because of the financial gains they make as a result.
I've got two chapters: the first is focused on the commercial sponsorship of the show and the second the viewer response, with both focusing on how the feminine behaviours further the agendas of the producers, which is to make money.
How does this work as an English Literature project?
I think one of the biggest misconceptions about English Lit is that it is just studying books when we actually do a lot more than that, studying plays, poems and even films throughout our course. Literature is something that is produced to be consumed by an audience, which Love Island is. Having said that, it does feel like I should be doing sociology sometimes because I'm studying behaviours rather than words.
Why did you decide to focus on Love Island?
I religiously watched every episode last year and became so consumed by the show, when I should have been doing reading for my diss. I remember someone saying you should write your dissertation on something you enjoy and it's safe to say I enjoyed Love Island, so I just decided to combine the two. It saved me a lot of time considering I'd watched every episode already.
Was it always Love Island you were keen on?
I originally wanted to explore the role of the nuclear family within 1950s American literature but after reading three pages of a book I decided it wasn't for me. I still find it interesting but not interesting enough to write 10,000 words.
What did you tutor say?
He was just a bit gobsmacked really. He'd never watched Love Island before so explaining the premise of the show was an interesting discussion to have. He watched Chris and Kem's spin-off show before one of our meetings in December and I'm genuinely concerned he thinks I'm mad. When we met just before Easter he said I'd chosen a difficult topic and that it wasn't too late to change. That doesn't bode well for me at all.
What has everyone else said when you told them?
A mixture of "oh wow that's so amazing", to "how is that even related to English Lit?"
A fair few people have said they'd want to read it though which will be handy when it comes to proof reading.
What kind of analysis of the series have you done?
I've analysed the different forms of masculinity within the show and if the producers show these in a positive or negative light. I've also looked at how the viewing public responds to the different scenes – like Chris and Kem shaving their initials into each others pubes, which is an example of feminine masculinity, versus Jonny saying we don't need feminism anymore. I've had to do a fair bit of maths too, factoring inflation to figure out how much ITV would charge for a 30 second ad slot from data published in 2016.
What theories have you come up with?
One of the theories I'm working on is how product placement and men spending an increasing time getting ready relates to feminine masculinity within the show.
How many times have you re-watched the series?
At this point, I've lost count. If I'm honest, I don't really want to know either because I think it would be soul destroying.
What are your overall findings?
That the show does endorse feminine masculinity as it is in their best interest to do so. It increases viewing figures and the social media response spikes when scenes that show feminine masculinity are aired so they can charge more for ad slots and higher valued sponsorship deals etc. The producers overall aim is to make a profit, and endorsing feminine masculinity achieves this.
Who is your type on paper?
Jamie! Can't turn down a Calvin Klein model.
Which couple did you want to win?
Jamie and Camilla (even if I am jealous he's not with me).
Do you think you'll be able to watch Love Island this year?
I keep on seeing posts on Facebook about how Love Island is coming back this summer but to me it never left. I think I will be able to watch it because it will have brand new people who I've not picked apart for a year – I hope this is the case anyway. I still love it!
Did you ever consider applying for it?
Absolutely not! Don't really fancy the entirety of the UK seeing me in a bikini!