• Stephanie Butt

Love Island... WTF?

Hey I'm Steph, a little Birmingham wedding photographer. Stephanie Butt Photography is all about creating colourful, fun and relaxed wedding photography.

Hey world!

Today's blog is completely off the wedding topic.

Last weekend I had the house to myself, I couldn't find anything to watch on Netflix, so I thought I'd see why so many people are harping on about Love Island. Oh My Days!

The blog isn't judging people who watch this show. I understand why people binge it, I easily watched a few episode back to back, but I was shocked at what I was watching. This show is so damaging to viewers and the vulnerable people in there!

To people who don't know a thing about Love Island (I'm very envious) here's the crack.

Imagine Big Brother producers broke into Charlie Brookers office and found his notepad for Black Mirror ideas.

You have a group of single, beautiful women all looking for love. One at a time, a male will rock up to the villa, ridiculously toned, glistening body, plucked eyebrows... The Only Way Is Essex kinda vibe. The guy will stand there, the girls who fancy him will step forward, then he choses who he likes. Once chosen, they are "coupled". More men will appear and women will step forward... even those who have coupled up. To start off the cheating / keeping your options open element, the man can steal a woman away from the coupled. Ok, so from the get go, a man can steal a woman. Imagine this was a scenario in real life, how would that go down?

The aim of the game is for people to be coupled up, who ever is left single is eliminated and the couple at the end of the 8 weeks will win 50k.

So let's break this down...

When I say beautiful, imagine a villa filled with instagram influencers/ models... can you imagine it? Do these women represent all types of women? NO! Apparently Love Island's view of curvaceous is a Kim Kardashian shaped lady! Don't get me wrong, she's a beautiful lady, but seriously?!? This week Nike have launched a curvaceous sized mannequin for their stores, it's ridiculous this makes the news in 2019, but it's a big step in body positivity and inclusivity within mainstream fashion. I hear you saying, Steph what's your issue? This year Love Island has an average of 3.3 million viewers per episode! Do the producers think in todays society, we only want to see beautiful people "find love?" Will they only get the viewers by showing a specific type of person? I find it quite discriminating.

The contestants mention they want to find someone they're attracted to, but also have a great personality and they connect with. Yet all they broadcast is conversations about how they look; The forced connections; the over analysis of your feelings for someone you've known for 10 hours! I mean WTF! This isn't real. I know everyone knows it's a reality show and the show forces conversations to film and scenes are edited, but what if the people in there are actually thinking it's real? That they think this is becoming a normal way to find someone? They're in there for 8 weeks, this will feel like their reality!

Now, the whole premise of the show. Force yourself to like / connect with someone so you're at the final and will win 50k. Let's break this down. You have some vulnerable contestants, women who are being men's second choice and vice versa. You're constantly being compared to others around you, how is that healthy for your self esteem or mental health in general?

I'm a photographer, couples sometimes chose other photographers over me and I feel shitty for it. This is part of my job, I allow myself to have a moment, then I'm back to me and pushing my business. Now imagine this isn't work, this is your feelings. You get on with someone, they then chose someone else, who you live with and you have to watch getting "close". How does this not give the contestants anxiety? Self esteem issues? depression for being rejected?

Now let's take away the 50k prize. Would this be a program that could be aired?

I know this is just a TV show. On my social media, I asked for people to message me with why they love watching Love Island. The first thing everyone mentioned was it's easy viewing / it's mindless tv / you don't have to think.

"You don't have to think about it, just watch it and be entertained." anonymous source

I understand why people think this, you don't have to think about it. Why do we think this? A program we find mindless, easy entertaining is a reality show involving people feelings. Does anyone else feel like it's a real life Truman Show? Does anyone else feel sad that we find it entertaining to see people fight over a person? To see people feelings be hurt? To see people in a forced environment think they're in love after 2 hours? HOW HAS THIS SHOW NOT BEEN ASSESSED FOR POTENTIAL MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES???

The substance of the contestants. You have a mix of professions in this show. You have a pharmacist; a boxer; a beautician; a firefighter; a gym owner; an air steward; a dancer; a street food owner; a surfer; a scientist etc. a mix of real interesting professions, yet all they broadcast is gossiping conversations; who they find hot that day... seriously, why aren't you broadcasting more depth to these people? I'm sure these people are interesting and you could actually have a real conversation with them, yet I feel like they're all fake because the airtime is filled with nonsense conversations!

What I'm getting at is I can understand why these contestants leave the show and develop anxiety; depression; self esteem issues and even suicidal thoughts/ actions. After the two unfortunate suicides after previous shows, they have brought in counsellors and mental health assessors to make sure everyone was ok for the show, the fact they had to do this makes me think they know this program is damaging! The show tries to portray it's about finding love, but it's all entertainment at the expense of potential vulnerable adults. The constant comparing yourself to one another; the constant jealousy; love triangles of people keeping their options open; the false/ forced connections; the unrealistic time frame of falling in love; the forced you're coupled up now share a bed.

I worry that this show is setting a bad example to vulnerable young people who want these lives. If young people think this is how you should look to attract a partner. This is how you should behave to be in a relationship. In real life, no way would you say this is how you should find a relationship. I understand, these people chose to apply to be on this show, they hopefully gave/ give consent to everything, but did they really know what they're signing up for?

The only positive I see from this show is there's a lot of healthy eating, plenty of drinking water and exercise. Hopefully that will help Jamie Oliver tackle childhood obesity! haha

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