Like all good holiday romances, our relationship with this year’s Love Island started off so well. After two years of seasons that were condemned by viewers as ‘boring’, the first few weeks of Love Island 2022 made for explosive viewing – largely thanks to the lovably dramatic Ekin-Su Cülcüloğlu – and Twitter was ablaze with hilarious commentary.
But then the public mood shifted. The Casa Amor twist – where Islanders are separated in different houses and encouraged to ‘test’ their relationships with newbies – marked a turning point. Viewers watched on as male Islanders disrespected their female counterparts and, at times, the ensuing episodes have made for difficult viewing.
We’ve seen the women being sworn at during arguments, slut-shamed by groups of men and gaslit when they’ve called out inappropriate behaviour. In the week following the Mad Movies episodes – where Islanders watched unseen, controversial moments from the series – Ofcom received more than 3,000 complaints about misogynistic behaviour displayed by male contestants.
In fact, women’s charities have been so concerned by the misogyny on our screens – watched by millions – that Women’s Aid publicly demanded guidelines on what behaviour is and isn’t acceptable on Love Island and is working with ITV to address the issues raised. ‘We cannot stress highly enough how seriously we treat the emotional well-being of all of our islanders,’ ITV have said in response to complaints. ‘Welfare is always our greatest concern, and we have dedicated welfare producers and psychological support on hand at all times, who monitor and speak to the Islanders in private and off-camera.’
One positive has been the public support for the female Islanders – and it’s why one can hope they’ll end up on top in the end. Many fans are proudly professing they’ll support any business endeavours the women take up on leaving the villa: more than finding love, the true ‘winners’ of the show are those who leverage it for maximum career gain. Islanders have gone on to write books, host daytime TV shows and launch music careers.
From this year’s crop we already have fashion icon Tasha Ghouri – whose penchant for vintage Versace and cowboy boots earned her Grazia’s ‘best dressed Islander ever’ label – while Gemma Owen’s eye for accessories has fans rushing to purchase everything she wears. Brands will likely be jumping to work with them, as well as with Indiyah Polack, whose make-up skills have planted her firmly in the realm of beauty influencing.
As for TV deals? Look no further than Ekin-Su, who not only has a wealth of acting experience but charisma. The same goes for Paige Thorne, a sweet yet confident soul we could imagine on a daytime panel show. Ultimately, all of them are positioned for stardom post-Love Island. So while the boys have got away with bad behaviour, the girls will come out of this as the winners.