My love hate relationship with Love Island

It’s the best time of year and Love Island is back on our screens (almost) every night. But this year, it feels a little different. Long gone are the times of guilt free watching, after debates on body image diversity have hit our feeds as well as mental health concerns. Since the devastating news of a second contestant tragically taking their life, for me the light-hearted programme won’t be the same again. It’s started to make me question everything about the programme that I love(d).

So, let’s dig a little deeper:

Unrealistic body expectations and diversity representations of society

Before this season started, there were rumours spreading of the first plus size Love Island contestant, which had everyone on my Twitter feed very excited. But when Season 5 started on June 3rd we were all left very disappointed only to realise that the ‘plus size’ contestant wasn’t plus size at all, but in fact a little curvier than most Love Island contestants.

The main issue I have with this, is that I believe diversity should be represented everywhere and anywhere. Whether it’s a promotional advert, social media campaign or one of the biggest TV programmes around. Diversity is the spice of life and without it you’ve got a misrepresentation of reality. Which is not cool. Is this not meant to be reality TV?

The amount of sixpacks, abs and muscles make me question that the contestants are normal people. Are these gym bodies the new type of ‘normal’? I’m not so sure. The lack of diversity definitely isn’t normal, that’s for sure.

Mental health of the contestants

Due to the show's popularity, the contestants now experience a sudden rise to fame after leaving the villa, affecting their mental health. Following the death of a second Love Island contestant, Mike Thalassitis, earlier this year, the show has come up against a lot of criticism, and rightly so. Since then, ITV have stated that they’ve had a review of their support processes to actively offer therapy to all Islanders as well as offering bespoke training including social media and finance. As well as this, ITV have also called on the help of physiological and mental health experts.

But it is enough? Since knowing about the after effects it can have on contestants, it’s definitely not as much of an easy watch as it used to be. You invest time in the Islanders and feel like you get to know them, but knowing they may suffer with mental health problems in the near future makes it a less enjoyable watch.

How much of what we see is set up?

We all know that the producers set up certain situations in the villa and encourage particular conversations. But how much of it is set up? With only an hour or so of footage shown to us each episode, a whole lot of other stuff is going on during their time in the villa which we just don’t get to see. Do they portray contestants to us in a certain light to make the story more entertaining? Are they creating the storylines?

What do you think to Love Island? Tweet me and let me know your thoughts.

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