Maybe it’s just me, but this year has seemed more bizarre and misogynistic than ever on the annual visit to Love Island.
From the start the language used has been more reminiscent of Michael Cain’s infamous ‘Alfie’ of the 1960’s, with women being called ‘Birds’ and ‘Bombshells’. I thought these belittling terms went out with bell-bottom trousers and Twiggy.
One woman, Paige, has been told endlessly by the bronze-torsoed males that she is ‘Wifey material’ as if this is a compliment. A left hook might be a more appropriate response than longing for a sparkly ring on a left hand.
Some other anachronistic male attitudes have been worrying – with the females being chastised for looking at another man, being accused of flirting or not being honest.
‘Coercive control’ is the modern term for such behaviour, which feminists have spent decades campaigning against. The Love Island women have been forced into behaving more traditionally by men who have nonetheless displayed outdated sexual double-standards.
Luca has been the control king, keeping his beady eye on Gemma at all times. And, Davide has called Ekin-Su a ’Liar’ constantly trying to bring her to heel. Their trust issues are their issues – not the women’s.
When the men were left behind in the Villa whilst the women were transported to ‘Casa Amor’, they ‘tested out’ the new influx of women rather like trying out a new face product.
Under the guise of working out what they really felt about their current partners, Jacques, Davide, Andrew and Dami basically cheated, like sugar-deprived kids at a pick ‘n’ mix’, telling themselves it was ‘legit’.
Andrew was also goaded into mistreating Coco and Tasha by the males’ (notably Dami, Jacques and Luca) manipulating his lack of confidence and trust. It was more of a sport.
Yet, these men were outraged and deeply uncomfortable when some of the women did the same. Jacques tried out two new partners but his ego could not handle Paige choosing someone else over him. His hurt was far greater than hers, apparently.
There has also been thinly disguised bullying of the only visibly disabled contestant, Tasha, whose hearing impairment has made her a target of the men ‘not trusting her’. She was ganged up on and ridiculed (and pied) despite clearly finding the experience of being criticised difficult to handle.
The air of commitment-phobia has been rife, too, as the islanders have had half-hearted discussions about what the difference is between being ‘exclusive’ and being ‘girlfriend/boyfriend’. It has all seemed very emotionally confused.
However, the male sexual double-standard prevailed on their return from Casa Amor, when they were faced with the consequence of their misdemeanours. It was saddening to see how women still cling on to men who are not worth their little toenail polish.
The first half of the series had the women on top, but gradually they have been taught to comply to help keep the male egos in check. It is true that two male contestants, Liam and Jacques, left because they found the emotional pressure too great to deal with.
The show has been excruciating watch at times, not least because these trimmed and toned young adults believe that everything external is all that matters. Real long-lasting loving relationships take time to grow and basing them on knowing who you are is far more reliable than the size of your biceps or bikini cup.
Hopefully some of the islanders will learn this once they face the test of returning to the real world. And hopefully their 1960s misogynistic views will also drop like a used pair of boxers and be put in the trash, where they belong.