Behind the screens of Love Island

By Sarah Harris

Three weeks ago, the nation gathered around their televisions for the return of Love Island and all it’s gripping entertainment. Now, I will admit, before watching the show I was very sceptical. What’s so interesting about watching a bunch of attractive influencers and models flirt with one another? Once I decided to give it a go, there was no turning back. However, since I began following the programme, I’ve observed how the media and society react to it and the toxicity surrounding the show. 

I began to think about recently departed islander Connor and how he will feel when he has left the Love Island bubble.He will be faced with the fact that he has been portrayed as a possesive and controlling. Additionally, how will Leanne feel learning the nation has branded her cold hearted or Nas being classed as too short? How would you feel if you were being followed around by a camera 24/7 and being judged by people who don’t know you at all. It’s important to remember that they are human beings, not characters. If the deaths of former contestants, Mike Thalassitis and Sophie Gradon, have taught us anything, it’s that words hurt even the most successful of people. 

The show isn’t all bad, Love Island provides an  opportunity for the audience to have an insight into the minds of people you’ve never met and learn about social interaction. When I asked a friend about the matter, he replied, “it’s helped me see why relationships fail because of bad communication, what females actually yearn for, and how men often fail to provide it”. Relationship do’s and don’ts aren’t the only thing the reality show has taught us. It’s taught us about the power of friendship, confidence and composure.  

However, it’s not only the Islanders who are mentally affected by the programme. Every night, we as normal civilians gather around the telly to see some of the nations most attractive individuals pursure one another. It is difficult not to compare yourself to the people we see on our screens. Almost 1 in 4 people aged 18 to 24 say reality TV makes them worry about their body image, this is according the statistics from the Mental Health Foundation in 2019. Even Sianesse was envious of Jess’s body, so inevitably we are too and it’s hard not to compare yourself to the likes of the toned and tanned personalities on our screen. Despite this, it’s important to remember that we are all beautiful in our own way and the only validation you need about your own appearance is from yourself. Ultimately, Love Island is just a way for the nation to come together and have a laugh, in the same way we do over Big Brother or EastEnders. 

Don’t waste your time comparing yourself to the contestants and aimlessly scrolling through their Instagram account wishing you were them. Focus on your success and your beauty. Instead of letting influencers clog up your feeds, follow accounts that will boost your self-esteem and encourage you to be the best version of yourself. Essentially, the only difference between them and us is the looks and status. They want to achieve their goals and so do we. So don’t let reality TV consume your mental health, try and enjoy the show for the quality entertainment it provides rather than letting it get you down.

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