To be honest I had no idea what it was about as I had only caught snippets, I had heard people slate it and others admit that they were hooked. I had also been told that people go on the show with the expressed aim of becoming famous. So, it was with these thoughts in mind that checked it out.

I have now watched the first episode and also today’s episode and was gratified to see some familiar faces from the first episode still there. So, some do appear to stay the course!

But still the questions on my mind are these:

  • We are all hardwired with a primary need to belong, how does it meet that need?
  • Why are 846K people following Love Island on twitter?
  • How does this programme affect the those who are watching it, does it change the way they regard themselves?
  • How does a programme that objectifies both men and women, serve us today?’
  • Why is it so appealing to so many?’

Love Island through my eyes.

The young and beautiful are thrown together on a sun-soaked island in a luxury villa, 24-hour surveillance cameras watching their every move. New men and women are introduced into the programme to shake it all up. There is a dormitory of double beds where housemates sleep together, when they change partners they change beds. They go on dates and are set challenges.

So back to my questions.

Our need to belong: We all need to belong and so seek connection. Love island, whether staged or not provides the contestants with a way to connect, but it also colludes with how social media facilitates people to have on line relationships as opposed to dealing with all the nuances of intimacy.

Objectification and the lure of the media.

I am very aware of the effect that magazines have on the way men and women view themselves. Thus, I am sure that images of young men and women who are assessed by the abs they have, the tans they sport, and the size of their bikini clad bodies cannot have a positive effect on them or us. As far as the contestants are concerned the impact and connections created may be very short-lived.

As they get to know each other, then whether they tan, or are tall dark and handsome, or look good in a bikini ceases to remain the primary attraction. Could we then say that although it does objectify both men and women it also show the true colours of said objectification in the way the truth about the contestants is revealed.

As regard to seeking a moment of fame, maybe it does bring a certain notoriety to some, but possibly it not a welcome one. One thing most shows of this genre are skilled at, is inviting shame and this is one no exception.

Why do so many watch Love Island, is it about entrenched loneliness?

According to Miriam Greenspan, we have devalued and fear emotion and as a result become driven (as we still need to feel) to seek emotional energies wherever we can. So extreme horror films and challenging reality shows (to name a couple) fill the void. This drive to experience intensity, albeit vicariously, in some way provides the stimulation we need to crash through our numbness.

Maybe we could say that the stimulation that it provides facilitates us to feel in one way or another. My question is, is it healthy? Does it teach connection or push us towards disconnection?

Loneliness is a curse that plagues not just the elderly shut in people of the world but increasingly the young. Millions of young people are learning their people skills locked away in bedrooms alone.

The screen is the place where they learn about what matters, or not. It is where they discover what love looks like, or not. It is where they receive judgement from what is revered on the screen or not, and where their loneliness is compounded by a silent partner who cannot speak. Intimacy is viewed at arm’s length and so the cycle continues.

So, what about Love Island?

I immediately was put off by the shows premise and by what I saw but was lured to watch part of the second episode to see who was chosen. It was enough for me I have to say. I much prefer the real thing, face to face, eye to eye intimacy that invites connection in the flesh so to speak.

Please check out the link below to see what the YMCA is saying about our young people.

https://www.ymca.org.uk/about/what-we-do/be-real-campaign