Last summer I fell in love with Love Island. There is no point in me pretending to be cool and claiming I watch it “ironically”. I watched the last season and the current one without a trace of irony, religiously tuning into ITV2 most nights at 9pm.
I defend the show and its contestants when people make snobby and classist comments about it. I roll my eyes when a new man comes in and just so happens to fancy the three blonde women in the villa rather than Samira (who is objectively the hottest). I cringe when Georgia and Ellie openly say that “mixed race guys” are their type. I gag whenever Eyal or Alex (who is problematic AF) go near a woman. But I don’t stop watching, because this is reality TV at its best and I love it.
But watching the show on catch up and being bombarded with adverts for diets pills and cosmetic surgery may be the last straw. There is nothing wrong with getting a boob job or watching what you eat. The women and men in the villa are all very beautiful and I like that most of them are honest about the surgery they have had. If you want to change how you look it’s your body and it’s your choice.
“Placing surgery adverts like this in the commercial break of Love Island is playing on body insecurities of women and girls”
But ITV2’s decision to sell advertising space to diet companies and cosmetic surgery brands like MYA is irresponsible. Health experts, psychiatrists and nutritionists like Dr Laura Thomas all agree that placing adverts like this in the commercial break of Love Island is playing on body insecurities of women and girls in particular. It feels like a shameless editorial choice to cast a show with women who are no bigger than a size 10 in a primetime show then screen adverts for surgery and weight loss. ITV2 should know better, but if they don’t it’s time viewers made it clear that won’t stand for this kind of messed up subliminal messaging.
That’s why the organisation I work for, Level Up, is calling on all the Love Island viewers who are tired of seeing these kinds of adverts to tweet how pissed off they are to ITV2 using the hashtag #LoveIslandAds. Too often we put up with shady corporate behaviour because we don’t expect any better from big media brands. But by staying silent we are telling ITV2 this doesn’t matter to us. It does matter to me, I’m sick of feeling like crap because mainstream media outlets have such a narrow standard of beauty. I’m sick of biting my tongue and accepting how sexist and racist Britain can be.
Level Up is a new feminist community which launched at the start of this year. We are working to build a world where all women and non-binary people can be safe and free from discrimination whether it’s at home, work, and on the streets.