Olivia Attwood had a hard, hard time on Love Island. She made some silly mistakes, she shouted quite a lot, and she upset some (read: lots) of people. She also spoke a lot of sense at the final Love Island press interview.
“Reality TV show girls get a harder time than boys full stop. They are always the first to go, they come the lowest in polls. Some of the things that girls do, if a boy did it or said it, he would be cheeky or funny or a player, but if a girl does it then she’s a slag and you’re conniving, so we’re still living in the medieval times for that.’
If there’s one thing we’re certain of, it’s that that statement rings truth in more ways than one. The girls in the show, Liv in particular, have been at the forefront of trolling, abuse and nasty tweets throughout – yet the men have reigned supreme. Let’s take Chris, for example. Chris is great, I like the rest of the world, fell in love with him and his character. But rewind back to the start of show and he acted, sorry Chris, like a massive tit. He was arrogant, switched between girls quicker than Theo ran 100m, and came across really badly. Did we forget this? Or did the whole nation just chose to forgive him? We watched him go from villa villain to villa victory in the space of two days, yet Liv? No matter what Liv did, even if she redeemed herself by being brilliant and funny, and a human being with feelings, she was hated.
While some of Olivia’s choices were questionable, she acted in the only way she knows how, like herself. If her and Chris’ relationship played out on the outside world, there might have been temptation, and concerns – because that’s normal. But because we saw it on national TV, Liv was branded a bitch, a player, nasty.
In Olivia’s statement, she spoke about how she feels her appearance impacts on people's perception of her: 'I do think when you add blond hair and fake tits it’s more to rile people up. And the worst is girls that are riled over seeing what I choose to do in the villa and there are bits i’ve seen, there’s a lot of girls getting angry, just live and let live.’ Liv wasn’t the only one to receive abuse - Gabby was called ‘fake’ countless times on Twitter because people didn’t think her feelings were genuine, but could it just be she’s more reserved than the other characters? And Montana was called a bad friend because she vocally expressed she needed to step back from a potentially draining Camilla.
The worrying thing here is that women should be supporting women, not tearing them down on Twitter. Abusing and calling the girls of Love Island out just undoes all the work we’ve done for equality – and it makes it ok for men to call us nasty names, whatever they may be. This is 2017, can we remind ourselves that slut-shaming, trolling and high school behaviour isn't funny, nor is it cool. Yes, Liv might have played it badly in certain parts of the show – but leave the poor girl alone. She’s been stuck in a villa for 7 weeks.
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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.