Love Island Sets Women Up To Play The Nagging Girlfriend

The headline challenge was the latest in a long line of manipulative tactics, designed to make the women look like shrews.

Love Island women

by Georgia Aspinall |
Updated on

Over the course of this week on Love Island, we have witnessed a very familiar (if we are long-term Love Island fans) set of events. The now routine 'headline challenge', which involved islanders finding out tabloid headlines about themselves, tore couples apart, or certainly encouraged them to feel a little suspicious of each other – and, as if on cue, the girls set about confronting their partners.

We saw the women once again manipulated into thinking their men had wronged them somehow and being forced into victimhood. It’s a classic LI production tactic and it’s why year on year Ofcom receives a rush of complaints regarding producers emotionally abusing female contestants in an attempt to create drama.

Last night, following on from the headline challenge, Finley Tapp and Paige Turley were senselessly thrown into an argument about whether Tapp’s ‘head had been turned’ in Casa Amor. Hint: it hadn’t. But, the headline choice in the challenge meant Turley was sent into a paranoid spiral given her well-documented trust issues. The underlying message of this unnecessary plot twist? Lol, aren’t women crazy, look at all these paranoid girlfriends kicking off at their fellas!

It’s the very basis of the Casa Amor twist too, the boys go off on a ‘lads holiday’ and we watch as the women fall apart longing for their lost loves. Not only does Casa Amor often result in the coupled-up women laying around in thralls of sadness wondering what their men are up to, it almost always sees them remain loyal without a hint of question.

Essentially, no matter how empowered the women are in the villa, the structure of the show means they’re almost always set up to seem like play the nagging girlfriend.

Of course, they’ll also spend their days reassuring their fellow islanders – and the public – that they’re well aware their man could stray. They sit pretty, refusing attention and paying no mind to the new hot men while telling their friends ‘what man wouldn’t have their head turned with six new beautiful women?!’ It’s like they're so conscious of public opinion, they want to show that they're loyal while also reminding sending a message of ‘I’m not a mug – I know what men get up to when women aren’t around’.

It's a similar situation when it comes to sex conversations. Luke Trotman telling the boys about Siannise Fudge getting naked in the hideaway was one of the controversies of the headline challenge. Fudge was upset with Trotman for sharing her personal business but even fan-favourite Luke Mabbot downplayed it with a ‘boys will be boys’ explanation. Fudge’s reaction was clearly warranted, but many were hoping for a Maura Higgins-style ‘yes women like sex WHO CARES?’ speech.

In a climate of slut-shaming and online misogyny, you can’t blame Fudge for hoping her sex life wouldn’t be broadcast around the villa and, you know, the world – but it was still disappointing to see someone so secure in herself feel so conscious of what others might think of her.

Essentially, no matter how empowered the women are in the villa, the structure of the show means they’re almost always set up to seem like play the nagging girlfriend, the victim of their laddy boyfriend who is helpless in his fuckboy ways – notice how the phrase ‘head-turned’ takes all agency away from the man in question, implying his motor skills fall apart when a beautiful woman approaches as he falls victim to her prowess.

It’s not just the way Love Island is set up, of course – it’s also the culture in which we live, a culture that makes women constantly feel like they have to maintain a particular image to be dateable. But one thing is clear, producer intervention certainly don’t help.

Read More:

Are Love Island Producers Setting Shaughna Up To Win Love Island?

Love Island Bodycount Debate: ‘I’ve Slept With 45 People - So What?’

Do We Really Want To See Love Island 'Testing' Contestants In Pursuit Of Good TV?

See More: Love Island 2020 Beauty


Love Island 2020 Beauty

Sophie's Statement Lip1 of 12

Sophie's Statement Lip

Oh we're all for this look. Sleek hair, red lips and a black blazer - that's a look that's never going to go out of style. The key? Concentrating on the perfect red lip application (dab on with your fingers in light layers, building up colour as you go, or start with a liner and fill in the middle with your lippy and a brush) along with keeping the rest of your make-up looking minimal.

Leann'e Orange Shadow2 of 12

Leann'e Orange Shadow

Use your fingertips or a small shadow blending brush to add. dot of orange eye shadow to the inner corners of each eye like Leanne to turn your daytime make-up look into a statement-maker.

Shaughna's Hollywood Waves3 of 12

Shaughna's Hollywood Waves

Oh Shaughna, those waves!!! They belong on a red carpet. Keen to copy? Make a grab for a large tong or wand and curl large sections away from your face, making sure you leave them to cool thoroughly before brushing out gently.

Leanne's Lashes Though4 of 12

Leanne's Lashes Though

Would you look at those beauties?! These are occasion wear lashes and then some. Ever been afraid of going a bit OTT with length and volume? Leanne is proof it can work if you the rest of your look is pretty low key.

Paige's Subtle Glow5 of 12

Paige's Subtle Glow

Add a touch of honey coloured highlighter to the tops of your cheeks to emulate Paige's glow.

Jess' Barely There Holiday Look6 of 12

Jess' Barely There Holiday Look

The 'no make-up make-up' look is back with a vengeance here and you can bet she'll be sporting it on the island too. Reach for your favourite base, a bit of bronzer, and you're away.

Sophie's Colour Pop Shadow7 of 12

Sophie's Colour Pop Shadow

It seems orange eye shadow is having a bit of a moment! Use a small soft blending brush to shade on a single shade, building up the layers for a powerful pigment pay off.

Siu00e2nnise's Smokey Eye8 of 12

Siânnise's Smokey Eye

Ordinarily we'd say no smokey eye is complete without a bit of liner but Siânnise proves us all wrong! We love the soft shading of these chocolate eye shadow tones, paired with just a slick or two of mascara.

Shaughna's Slicked Back Look9 of 12

Shaughna's Slicked Back Look

She's gone from Hollywood waves to a sleek slicked back do, proving just how versatile this islander's beauty game is. If you've got a decent pair of straighteners in your arsenal, a bit of serum and a little hair gel, this look is yours for the taking.

Sophie's Cat Eye Flick10 of 12

Sophie's Cat Eye Flick

This cat eye flick is bold and beautiful. To copy it yourself, use a liner brush and a bit of shadow to get your perfect shape, before going in with the liner. This will give your flick a diffused look like Sophie's and hide any tiny mistakes too - winner.

Siu00e2nnise's Sleek Down Do11 of 12

Siânnise's Sleek Down Do

We're here for Siânnise's glossy sleek look here. To emulate it, straighten your hair before giving it a sharp parting with a comb, tucking each side section behind your ears, and fixing in place by gently brushing through with a soft brush that has been sprayed with a medium hold hairspray.

Eve's Berry Lip12 of 12

Eve's Berry Lip

A berry lip is very on trend right now, as, it would seem, Love Island's Eve knows all too well. Apply a couple of layers of your favourite shade, and dab a touch of gloss over the top to copy this islander's look.

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