Let’s Not Start Describing Love Island’s Michael As ‘Whipped’ Just Because He Is A Good Partner To Amber

The label clearly got to Michael in last night's Love Island, but as far as we're concerned, he simply treats Amber with the respect she deserves - and there is nothing negative about that.

Michael and Amber

by Georgia Aspinall |
Updated on

On last night’s episode of Love Island, we saw an exact play by play of what happens in practice when a man is labelled ‘whipped’ by his peers. And honestly, it highlighted every reason why that term needs to die a quick death.

Michael Griffiths, our current favourite islander of all time, was dubbed ‘whipped’ during this years tweets challenge, where contestants read out partial (week old) comments from the public (read: bot accounts) and the others have to fill in the blanks to find out what was said. In earlier seasons, it has seen fake friends exposed, secrets spilled and relationships fall apart. This year, we got 45-minutes of Molly-Mae crying about being called a money-grabbing gameplayer on a literal gameshow with a cash prize. Riveting TV.

During the challenge, the comment about Michael seemed to wash over him like water off a ducks back. But the next day he ended up in an argument with Amber that although seemed innocuous at first, suggested that the comments had got to him.

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Michael seemed to laugh off the tweet at first...

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CREDIT: ITV Pictures

Michael seemed to laugh off the tweet at first...

‘What’s the matter?’ he asked her after she had complained to the girls that he wasn’t paying her as much attention as usual, ‘you’ve just been proper off with me over there.’ Explaining that all the women agreed the men weren’t being as affectionate as usual, he replied, ‘Am I not allowed to finish a conversation before I come over and say hello? There’s just no need to be like that it’s a little bit immature.’

As an argument it's barely worth repeating, but came out of nowhere and felt totally out of character for one of our favourite Love Island couples. We then saw Michael refer to himself ‘King of the wet mop club’ in an attempt to take ownership of a label he doesn’t actually seem to be that okay with. It’s a classic case of overcompensating when you’ve been embarrassed by something, and honestly, the entire narrative was annoying to watch purely because Michael and Amber deserve better.

Their relationship has been so naturally beautiful to watch so far, and they seemed to have developed healthy ways of resolving conflict before this. So to see such a sexist trope thrown upon them, that none of the other Islanders had ever said themselves (as far as we know) until it was brought up in the challenge, is disappointing.

More than that, not to get too deep over a reality show, but the implications of being ‘whipped’ are actually nothing to joke about. To imply that Amber is a slave driver and forces Michael to do things he doesn’t wasn’t to do, that she’s essentially controlling and he’s at her beck and call, is really damaging. If Michael was subject to that behaviour, it wouldn’t be a quirky quip, it would be emotional abuse.

And the fact is, he’s really not. Michael is literally just committed to his relationship with Amber, and she – like all of us wish to – refuses to settle for anyone who’s not fulfilling her needs. It’s a classic case of sexist commentary, where a woman cannot be dominant in a relationship without taking on the negative perceptions of leadership. It hinges on the idea that if a woman is in charge, she’s too powerful, whereas if a man is not in charge, he’s weak or inept. More than that, it undermines everything Amber brings to the relationship, implying that she sucks the fun out of everything, similar to the which women are labelled a ‘diva’ for behaviour men are labelled a ‘boss’ for.

And if it were the other way around, Amber would never be labelled whipped. When women act as Michael does, they’re ‘committed’ not whipped. It’s as if compromise is a solely feminine trait, and independence purely masculine. When in reality, we know that to make any relationship work both partners need to balance each quality.

Honestly, the argument Michael and Amber had was silly, but to see the way it has altered their dynamic when the public actually wholeheartedly supports their relationship is sad. We can only hope that they bounce back stronger, and this desperate need to ‘test’ couples doesn’t pull apart our current faves.

Read more: the best Twitter reactions to Love Island 2019...

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Click through to see the best Twitter reactions to Love Island 2019...

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