Photo: ITV Plc/ITV Studios

How Love Island damages youth culture

Over the last few weeks, Britain’s youth have been riding on the tidal wave of sun, sex and spats by fixating on the ITV2 reality show, Love Island. Religiously, many viewers have developed a relationship with the members who are glorified to be the epitome of beauty. The debate surrounding the essence and controversial undertones of Love Island has seemed to be hotter than the villa’s location in recent weeks, with many panel shows and articles assessing whether the show has a negative impact on its young viewers. So does the promotion of appearance, the shallow attitudes towards relationships and the obvious hunger for fame have a subconsciously damaging effect on the minds and lifestyle choices of its viewers? Surely not, after all, they’re only looking for love aren’t they?

They seem to abandon the moral consequences in order gain this desired popularity

However much you hate Love Island, you’ve got to ‘love’ the irony of its title. Apparently, the method to finding ‘love’ is to throw you in the company of half-naked individuals in a flirtatious environment for week-long periods and surely you are bound to find the partner you have always longed for. To televise and reward these people with fame and prize money is ridiculous, as they are setting examples for younger viewers in a way that could severely tarnish youth culture more than it has already. The show suggests that flaunting your egocentric demeanour will win you a partner as well as flashing your semi-naked body. The intentions and methods the contestants use to grab attention illustrates that you need to have a sad arrogance to attract your desired sex. The show is constructed to match people solely off looks, with the illusion that if someone looks right ‘on paper’ then surely they will blossom into being the perfect partner.

Of course, I am not denying that appearances are important to the DNA of dating, but in the show, it seems to be a factor that is more dominant than it needs to be. As the contestants seek to boost their modelling careers and fame status, their bulging torsos and toned bodies set an imaginary benchmark that the viewers will aim to get to, both for themselves and their aspired partners. The couples on the show are broadcasted as having the definition of a perfect relationship which negatively influences the expectations of its viewers. This viewpoint may seem ridiculous as the majority of its fans watch it for simple, light entertainment, but TV shows do more than we think when influencing our future actions and Love Island does not seem to consider the ignorant, vain, and wrong connotations it exerts.

Kem speaks to Chyna. Credit: ITV Plc/ITV Studious

The fact that millions of British viewers are watching this show is worrying. I agree, the show is highly addictive to its fans and it gives them the unique, experience of developing a personal connection to the contestants. But as the show encourages you to contemplate certain decisions that are made, the role of empathy is introduced into the situations that the contestants are going through. It makes you wonder, how would I react to that? And the fact that the viewers are imagining themselves in these situations, whether it be if they are discarded for someone more beautiful, or someone has sex with your preferred partner, it develops a vulnerability within the consciousness of its viewers that will persuade them to transfer this empathy to their own or future relationships. These are not healthy situations that should be worrying an individual who is seeking a partner. Additionally, the common occurrence of these routine quarrels makes the damage more serious and makes it seem that paranoia and rejection are elements that you will inevitably meet on the pathway to love. After all, ITV2 has to make a show that will attract viewers who are only seeking drama, and they seem to abandon the moral consequences in order gain this desired popularity.

The power and clever manipulation of this show wrongly paints the imagery of relationships

Soon, if not already, youths will live in a love culture hindered by paranoia, secrecy, arrogance and disappointment as their relationships will appear symmetrical to the ones they have watched evolve on their TV screens every day. The extent in which Love Island has caused endless debate and controversy clearly indicates there is something very damaging about this show. Many Love Island fans will totally object to this article and find it ridiculous, but that’s the scary part. The power and clever manipulation of this show wrongly paints the imagery of relationships, suggests fame is the key to happiness and aims to define attractiveness in the form of physique; thus allowing younger viewers to not realise that they are victims to these wrong presumptions. I sincerely hope people are careful when labelling Love Island a ‘reality show’. Ideally, viewers should choose to watch Love Island with a heavy pinch of salt because, if not, the psychological wounds they have or will have endured will pollute further generations of youth culture.


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