In last night’s Love Island, the female Islanders were hit with a ton of toxic male bullshit. From Curtis Pritchard unloading his guilt by explaining to Amy Hart the she was his second choice in painful detail, to Michael Griffiths gaslighting Amber Gill after choosing to recouple with Joanna Chimonides. The lack of emotional maturity from the former villa ‘nice guys’ came through thick and fast.
And yet, in response, we were given a treat: a treasure trove of #friendshipgoals moments that saw the women band together to support each other. First, we saw Maura Higgins delivering some cold-hard truths to Amy showing that her BDE knows no bounds. After Curtis had revealed the extent to his betrayal to Amy, and told her to 'trust in the relationship' going forward, she confided in the girls.
‘Babe, I’m sorry but you’re better than that and this is an absolute fucking joke,’ Maura said, as Amy admitted that she still loves Curtis regardless of what he’s done. ‘But does he love you?’, Lucie Donlan asked before Maura went nuclear: ‘Why you’re asking her that? He fucking doesn’t, it’s harsh babe but he doesn’t love you, because he wouldn’t of done that if he did.
And yes, it was harsh: but who hasn't needed a true friend to give them some cold hard truths about the state of a bad relationship at one time or another?
Love Island Twitter quickly erupted into applause for Maura, with many dubbing her the friend we all need when dealing with a man who has betrayed your trust. And then, in another shining moment of friendship glory, we saw Anna Vakili confront Michael out for how he'd been handling his break up with Amber (spoiler: v. badly).
Michael justified his decision to pick Joanna over Amber by putting the blame squarely on Amber's door, saying that he'd ‘accepted shit he wouldn’t normally’ and ‘bit his tongue in situations he wouldn’t normally’. But Anna spoke for all of womankind when she pointed out the obvious: ‘If the reason you left amber was because of “all these things” then you should’ve left her before the new girl came... why did you not leave her before the new girl came?’
But as joyous as this was to watch, there was one element of the show last night that producers have chosen to focus on. After Michael's takedown of Amber during their recoupling (which in itself was pretty brutal to watch), we saw Amber refer to Michael as a ‘dead ting’, then going on to use the same description for Joanna.
The insult - which is now trending on Google as those unfamiliar with the term search ‘what is a dead ting?’ (FYI given how it was delivered, we took it to mean that Amber was describing Amber as bland, boring, nothing to be threatened by) - has become a focal point for drama and is being used as a vehicle to form a wedge between Amber and Joanna. Despite the fact it could easily be brushed off as an immature comment in the heat of the moment, the narrative of the two women feuding clearly makes for good TV, and at end of the episode we saw the pair being sent off on a date together.
We should’ve seen it coming, really, because it’s not the first time the narrative has moved from the man and woman who actually have an issue, to the two women whom have no interest in each other. We saw it at the start of the episode, when Caroline asked Joanna, ‘Is there anything you’d like to say to Amber?’ as if she has anything to explain at all. And we saw this exact scenario play out with Yewande and Arabella, when Caroline continuously asked the pair if they planned on staying in touch, how they felt about Jourdan and twice asked Yewande if she’d be friends with Arabella.
Not only is it absolutely boring trying to force two women who have no interest in each other to be friends, but also the fact Amber and Joanna were sent off alone together screams that the producers really just want a dramatic blowout - not a resolution. They seem to want Amber to scream and shout, or cry and break down, thus forcing her to keep confronting an issue she's barely had time to digest. And honestly, it's a shame, because the best bits of the show so far have been those moments where we've truly seen how strong female friendship can be vital when dealing with immature, toxic men.
Amber and Joanna were sent for a date at the end of last night's episode
Yes there have been small bumps in the road, (remember Maura and Amber's difficult start?) but ultimately the way the female islanders have supported each other this season has been the great to watch– especially in the face of so much ‘lad’ culture and now that there no longer seems to be one male islander calling out the others (bye Nice Guy Michael).
So, it would be really great if the producers could stop trying to create a narrative around a catfight between Amber and Joanna. The issue at hand is not Joanna 'stealing' Michael, it’s Michael gaslighting Amber and refusing to apologise for his ‘dickhead behaviour’ (his words) after painting himself as such an emotionally mature ‘nice guy’. Amber needs support right now, not producers forcing her to have an extreme reaction because she refuses to play into childish games and let anyone see her sweat.
Women don’t need to cry or scream on TV for us to see their pain, so let her be – and like all the women this season, she'll prove that they prevail together regardless.