Producing more lies than couples on Love Island.
Image courtesy of Kevin Dooley via Flickr
For a show built on dysfunctional relationships, Love Island 2021 has taken the cake. The show historically has tormented and emotionally abused its contestants, but in recent years has adopted a ‘Be Kind’ slogan. Frankly, this slogan is a slap in the face to everyone who demanded change. It’s a slap in the face to previous and recent contestants who the show has actively tried to harm. And more than anything, it is downright offensive to those the show has lost to suicide. Caroline Flack, Sophie Gradon and her partner Aaron Armstrong, and Mike Thalassitis.
‘Be Kind’, as a message, has good intentions, but only when not spouted by a show that flaunts its duty of care to its contestants in favour of ‘good television’. Love Island 2021 has been nothing but misogyny and anti-blackness. Honestly, it has been nothing short of trauma porn.
Firstly, let’s talk diversity. For a show that claims to be ‘diversifying’ its cast, it looked the same as every other year: mostly white, mostly thin, mostly straight, all cis, all but one able-bodied… oh, and there was a literal racist. You cannot claim you are diversifying your cast when it still presents the unattainable beauty standards as if they represent the country as a whole. They added more curvier women and more people of colour, but actively sabotaged these cast members by not casting people who would couple up with them. At one stage in this series, every single man on the show said his type was blonde-haired and blue-eyed. If you won’t cast people with diverse tastes, why cast diverse people at all? Oh yeah, it’s because it is all performative.
By casting men with the same type, Love Island actively undermines the women of colour in the cast and, thus, creates trauma porn as millions tune in every night to watch them suffer and hurt time and time again. Every year in the first coupling, the last girl picked is always black. Not to mention, Kaz, a black woman, was made to go on a date with a white man who said the N-word on his Instagram and it was still up when he went on the show. And he wasn’t even kicked off. Who is doing background checks on this show?
This series has just gone; until the end of Casa Amor, every single traumatic or dramatic moment has been at the expense of a woman. Every. Single. Time. The boys chose at almost every recoupling, there were more female bombshells than male ones, making the women fight more than the men; the producers manipulated the girls’ fears and traumas into traumatic moments for them. Love Island famously canned its Lie Detector Test challenge for the mental health of the contestants, but still sent the girls a deliberately misleading postcard to prey on the already present insecurities of the girls? They made Millie rehash the trauma of her ex cheating on her during a Lad’s Holiday by blindsiding her to Liam’s actions. The boys this year showed a disregard for the girls, that is honestly disgusting to see, and are still being rewarded with bombshell after bombshell.
Love Island is a parasite of misogyny and anti-blackness and is a disgusting and offensive view into what ITV consider television. They profit off the suffering of their contestants, primarily the women of colour, and expect viewers to take up the mantle of protecting the mental health of the cast. The show consistently ignores its responsibility to do better and, during the summer, broadcasted its trauma porn six nights a week.
The producers of reality TV need a reality check.