Can you be a feminist and watch Love Island?

Everyone remembers that feminist debate last year, right? The one between Jonny and Camilla.  Jonny said that he did believe in equality but not in feminism. He felt that: “feminism believes in almost inequality.” However, the nation praised Camilla when she wasn’t having any of it and replied: “Absolutely not.”

Love Island on the surface is a programme about size eight girls and boys with six-packs. Despite one lesbian kiss last year, the show is about heterosexual love and offers a distinct lack of diversity. As friends started telling me about their Love Island plans and colleagues insisted we bring up the whole Love Island / feminism debate, I thought we would go there, and really go there.

Can you watch Love Island and be a feminist?

Since the show started last week, women have openly been critiquing their own bodies and taking to social media. Glamour in fact reported that one Instagram user commented that she put down her Ben & Jerry’s immediately after viewing Love Island’s Samira, Hayley, Kendall, Dani and Laura.

Even though feminist equality is about encompassing all bodies and no woman should feel attacked when watching these skimpy bikini bodies strut around the pool, boobs and “real” curves don’t do it for us anymore. Real women have flat chests, freckles, cellulite and stretch marks too. Where are they?

Despite there being a doctor on the island, the professions among the group don’t seem to vary either. We have models, dancers and barmaids. Out of the 150,000 singletons who applied this year, surely there was someone with more brain power? Who else was rolling their eyes as model, Hayley Hughes forgot Eyal’s name, again, and again?

Now being a motivational speaker, I spend days talking in schools and at institutions. It is no surprise that many question why they should be grafting and building a career when reality TV could guarantee instant fame and a handsome salary? Indeed, this is also a feminist issue. We need more girls striving to tackle injustice, challenging social issues and forging career paths, girls not actually wanting to appear on these shows. I can’t help but wonder though that if it wasn’t this, there would be another show. All thanks to the reality TV rise. I personally would quite like an activist in there, even though I don’t know how that would go down in the salacious games.

Feminism is celebrating freedom of choice. Whether a stay-at-home mum or CEO, feminism is about embracing every role and decisions we might not necessarily make ourselves. As a feminist, you can of course admire the participants in this year’s Love Island. As a feminist, you also reserve the right to watch crappy TV shows, in case you were feeing guilty.

Let me know in the comments below your thoughts.

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Author: Scarlett Victoria Clark

Scarlett Victoria Clark is Founder and Editor of SMART GIRL TRIBE and a multi-lingual journalist. She has also written for Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Women’s Health. When not writing she enjoys travelling and shopping for (more) heels.

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