The Love Island effect


As a whole I try to write blog posts on a Monday which is a complete fail because it’s now Tuesday and I am yet to post. But I was struggling to think of something to write about because my life for the next 8 weeks is Love Island. So I thought the best route to go down is ‘The Love Island effect’. This term stems from a group of tweets left by girls across the UK stating “I feel like such a fat pig watching these girls on Love Island”, “genuinely thinking of starving myself”. it’s statements like these that have got people talking. I have to admit a part of me did have that initial reaction to seeing those girls. “Hey I have that bikini, don’t look like that in it though” or “how do they get those tans?!” but then the other part of me agrees that they have only cast one type of female body. Long legs, toned and thin. This is unrealistic. I don’t doubt that they eat far less carbs than me, I mean for dinner last night I had spaghetti hoops on toast …. and they probably look after their bodies a lot more. But my excuse for not working out as much as them is that they have time. They are models and dancers and the ones that aren’t are naturally tall and slim. Whereas the male contestants have more body diversity. You have your PT’s and of course your models but also a doctor and an office worker, so guys that have a different physique. Coining the term ‘the Love Island effect’, Kimberley Wilson believes this constant reinforcement of one type of body image could well damage the self-esteem of many young people “research indicates that scrolling through hundreds of social media body images increases body dissatisfaction and watching hours of image-focussed reality TV may do the same.” The ‘Love Island effect’, according to Kimberley, taps into an aspect of psychology called Social Comparison Theory. It’s the idea that we are all compelled to assess our worth based on how we feel in comparison to others. In the past, it was commonly in relation to family or friends, but the surge of social and mass media popularity increases the scope of the kind of people we now compare ourselves to. These days, we find ourselves scrutinising our own bodies against those of athletes, personal trainers and models – all of whom place great focus on maintaining a certain body shape because it’s their job. “This can create a sense of inadequacy,” says Kimberley. And I have never agreed with something more. The PT’s with the 15 abs as Nial loves to say, are not sitting behind a desk 9-5. They are spending those 9 hours training and eating the types of foods that are said to nourish your body, perfecting their bodies because that is what they are paid to do. Just like it is advised that a hair dresser takes time on their hair or an MUA takes time on their makeup to almost advertise what they can do. It’s a selling tactic. I think it’s wrong that ITV only go for one body type an label that as ‘sexy’, it’s such a popular show they could of done a lot more to showcase body diversity. I think it’s wrong that the show is appearance focused, and only one appearance is acceptable apparently, but I also think it is wrong that we are so body image obsessed. I know it’s hard I mean I struggle on a daily basis, wanting to hide my belly, even today I wrapped a blouse around my waist to cover it up. I shouldn’t be ashamed of the way I look but unfortunately I am and to me that really needs to change. I don’t think ITV are to blame for low self esteem but I do think they are a factor. I really enjoy Love Island and I would enjoy it just as much if the stars of the show did not have the ‘perfect body’ and I am a little disheartened that ITV have not used their platform to encourage body positivity. What would Iskra Lawrence say, shame on you ITV.

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