By Holly Thomas



I finally caved and watched my first episode of Love Island last week.

I aggressively hated it and I’m so surprised by how many people love it. I know I must be missing something because the people I love, love the show. But I watched it and it made every fibre of my being sad. So sad.

I genuinely believe that Love Island is an epidemic. It’s a virus because it promotes a system based on external approval. Where love is economically incentivised and the men get to pick from a Barbie doll line up of women – “I’ll take number 5 please”. It’s a world where reading is defunct and hair extensions are a necessity. Where you’re branded ‘deep’ if you “like talking” (wtf). A world where you never see them eat, and people freely discuss the flaws and the perks of the contestants’ bodies in the pub.

What is this doing to the collective subconscious? We know the effect of social media, so what the fuck is the effect of plugging into this every day for 8 weeks in a row. Young men now recognise fake boobs as real ones because of what we see on TV and porn. I go on Twitter to see if anyone else is digesting Love Island the way I am. The first thing I find is a bunch of teenage girls saying they’re going to stop eating so they can look like the women on the show.

Love Island is a smorgasbord of fake tits, lips and bums. Overnight, fake became the new real, and those that abstain from surgery are the sad botched bodies left wanting. But bodies are inherently beautiful. They get us from A to B and back again. They create things we can’t understand. Bodies are more than a clothes horse for a bikini.

If I had kids I would throw away my TV and confiscate their phones. I can’t imagine how polluting it is to grow up in this world and navigate a dating scene that asks your height and and muscle mass. Except I can imagine because I’m single and in this swirling pool of despair.

After only an hour of Love Island, I went to the toilet and caught my reflection in the mirror. In contrast my face looked so plain. I genuinely wondered where my eyebrows where and if I should be tattooing them on?! I don’t own a single see-through sequin dress and I’d look terrible in one if I did. But I don’t pick men based on the diameters of their thighs (wtf) so I’d hope they could look past my stubby legs and rolley belly. I think we all have to be much kinder to each other on that.

More people applied to Love Island than they did to Oxbridge this year. So, I get it. Things are changing and I’m falling behind. I know it’s ‘just a TV show’. But TV is a reflection of society and it makes me scared. I don’t know what message we’re sending when we all worship it as though it’s normal.

Is anybody else out there or is it just me?

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