Everyone in the UK would have at least heard about the TV programme Love Island. There is a clear divide throughout the country, you either love it or hate it. I hate it. Never watched an episode and never will. What disgusts me the most about the show is not the contestants or anything to do with the show itself, it’s the people that watch it and think that they have a right to degrade, judge and comment on every aspect of the contestant’s personalities, looks and lives. But then what frustrates me even more is those people are the same people that try to encourage those to speak about mental health or have even suffered a mental illness themselves! That’s a fucking piss take.
It’s pretty clear that the producers are looking for a specific group of people. I think it’s fair to say that those who are/have been in the show all have some similarities, appearance wise. To me it appears as though the producers are looking for the type of people who are considered ‘attractive’ in this day and age. Makes sense, sex sells and everyone knows that but come on. Where is the variety? Where is the reality in this so called reality dating show?
To a lot of people watching, the contestants are desirable. I know this from the endless amount of memes and various other posts shared by my social media friends. Yet people still seem to find a way to criticise the way that some of the contestants look? I don’t know how the show works, but I assume as soon as the contestants leave the show, they will be able to see all the posts, pictures and comments that were made about them whilst they were in Love Island. Now just imagine this. Imagine some of your insecurities or the negatives that you think about yourself published all over the internet (which reaches different countries) and having endless amounts of strangers actually make comments about you as though they know you or that they even have a right to do so. Imagine leaving a TV show possibly broken hearted or feeling like you’ve been made a fool of on TV, to then step back into the real world and find that almost the half of the UK have been commenting on your looks, personality and pretty much everything else they could think of. I’ve even seen posts shared by the Love Islands Twitter account which I find absolutely disgusting. How can a wide portion of people (mostly young people) be so degrading to someone when they themselves have insecurities that they hide from!! How?! I just do not get it.
The contestants are young people. Usually in their 20’s. I’m 23 and from what I have gathered just from my Facebook feed, people within my age group watch Love Island. These are people who might have/had a mental illness or even know someone who has suffered or is still fighting a mental battle. These are people who share posts relating to mental illness and taking care of mental health. They sometimes share posts about how bullying impacts mental health, how negative relationships impact mental health and so on. These are people who claim that Love Island needed to do more for their contestants after the suicide of Mike Thalassitis and Sophie Gradon which was then followed by the suicide of Sophie’s boyfriend Aaron Armstrong. Although we can’t 100% relate the deaths to the show, in my opinion the show and the aftermath possibly had a negative impact on their mental health. That’s three families who lost a loved one. Three families grieving and possibly going through their own mental battles. Earlier this year Jeremy Kyle was completely take off air after the suicide of someone who appeared on his show. So when is Love Island going to get removed? Will it ever get removed? Will we ever reach a point where we actually realise how utterly shit the show is and stop providing them with views and money to continue making more series. In my opinion the show has made the bare minimal changes to improve the mental state of the contestants both before, during and after the show. To me, the show gives more of a fuck about ratings, drama, appearance of the contestants and money than the actual wellbeing of those in the show.
Honestly I could go on and on about this show and this topic but I want you to think about how you could be impacting a person’s mental health. As someone who has had many mental battles and someone who still sometimes struggles with self-love, confidence and insecurities, I know how much the words of others can trigger things in my head. To others their words might seem meaningless but I can guarantee that the majority of the time I have remembered their words and carried them with me. The words being said about the contestants might seem meaningless to you. You might never meet them or have any sort of personal relationship with them right? So why do your words matter? Trust me, they do matter. Whether they matter to the contestants or someone else who is struggling to love and appreciate how they look, they matter.
We live in a world that is cruel enough as it is. If you have a choice, don’t make it crueller.
Sending my love,