Why I’m Glad Love Island’s Aaron Said What He Said About ‘Career-Driven’ Sharon

Aaron's comments have caused controversy, but one writer thinks they prove that some men's lack of enlightenment is only evident when women aren't around.

Love Island

by Guy Pewsey |
Published on

Have you ever left a date with a new potential love interest and wished that you could be on a fly on the wall when they tell their mates about you? There's an obvious appeal. If they speak highly of you when you're not around, then that suggests that you've met a keeper. If they don't, then you would be able to screen their calls while running for the hills. Watching this scenario play out on Love Island, though, means more than that. Yes, the contestants can leave the villa and see how their prospective beaus have behaved while they were off charging their microphones, but they'll also have to tolerate every critique being scrutinised by those at home. In the case of last night's episode, though, we wish we could crawl into the TV to tell Sharon that Aaron is bad news.

In case you missed it, last night saw the new couples enjoy a romantic brunch, giving them the opportunity to get to know each other a little. Sharon specified that she did not want children, while Aaron said he was keen to have a big family, and wanted around four kids. Sharon's logic was that she has witnessed how women get stuck with the brunt of the unpaid domestic labour, and does not want to be trapped by it. It's a valid concern, and one that Aaron could have easily tackled by reassuring her that, if they ever had children, he would be more than happy to split the load equally. He would have been equally within his rights to say that, actually, four kids was a dealbreaker for him, that he loved kids, and that their disparity in this matter means that the weren't compatible for a long-term love story. Instead, he sat down with his fellow males to complain.

Aaron called Sharon 'career-driven' as a negative, and disparaged her for not wanting to be a 'housewife.' Viewers slammed his 'fragile masculinity', criticising him for 'trying to groom Sharon into a housewife after 5 DAYS?!?!, and proclaiming, 'Aaron this is not the 1950s a woman does not have to be a housewife.' His comments are deplorable, but actually, I'm glad he said what he said, because it establishes that men really are having these conversations.

You could very easily claim that we are living in a society that is more progressive and liberal than ever before when it comes to relationships between men and women. Major moves have been made toward equality, and there are more women in once male-only industries like finance and government. Some people, therefore, claim that there is no such thing as the glass ceiling. Some say that MeToo weeded out the bad guys, acting as if the problem has been fixed and that there's nothing left to worry about. Men don't look at the figures that state 'four out of five women have been sexually assaulted' and then address the fact that this means that someone in their friendship circle has, statistically, assaulted a woman. It's 'Not all men' this, or 'I'm the good guy' that. The gaslighting is everywhere. And it has bled into the everyday conversations about gender, and the place of women in the home. The average man, if asked if they were looking for a women who fits the 1950s Barbie mode, would say 'of course not'. If they were asked if they would be intimidated by a girlfriend who was more successful that they are, they'd say 'not at all'. But some of these men would absolutely be lying. Aaron's comments prove that.

We have got so used to seeing Love Island's men play games, use chat-up lines and use tactics like negging when they are speaking with women. We have found ourselves reading between the lines when they talk about who they are interested in, like when they say they like blonde women as shorthand for 'I don't date black women.' But Aaron's comments to the men in the villa show what has been suggested before: men are only truly honest about women when there are no women around. So, while I find Aaron's comments anti-feminist and antiquated, I feel like I have to thank him. Thank you, Aaron, for showing us that men - and yes, I know, not all men - really are demeaning and disparaging women when their backs are turned. He may have screwed his chances of having a relationship with her beyond the show's run, but at least he has reminded us that even games we thought had long been won are still very much in play, and that we all need to work harder to reeducate the Aaron's of the world.

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