Love Island 2018 – have I been converted?

I have a love-hate relationship with Love Island because, until it was put on Netflix, I had never properly watched it but I was very against it. I even wrote a blog post about it here and, having reread that, I still agree with a lot of what I said. The difference this year is that I understand why people watch it for entertainment – it is entertaining, I can’t deny that, and you do get hooked onto hoping certain couples work out and whatnot. The show has also handled sex much more sensibly this year, introducing rules after the chaos of last season. However, I still have some issues…

The GIRLS – this has been posted about everywhere already but, there is NO body diversity among the women on the show. All of them are slim, toned, no ‘wobbly bits’ and have probably had work done; which is fine but where are the curvy girls, or the ‘normal’ girls? I get it, attractive people make more people watch, fair enough, but the fact that the only diversity is that Samira is mixed-race is appalling in my opinion.

The GENERAL SHOW – I know I said it was entertaining, and it is, but it’s also sort of brainwashing us… I read a tweet last night that bothered me.img_4436.png

This bothered me because, yes the way Adam behaved was not on, but you can’t just brand every guy that is remotely similar to Adam as someone to be avoided. We also have no idea what Alex might do, he could prove to be exactly the same as Adam, or worse. My point is, every single bloody person is different so WHY do we compare people and assume everyone of a certain appearance or background will behave like one person…

At the end of the day these people have known each other just over a week and we, the audience, know them even less than that because we see snippets from just 1 hour of their 24 hour day… We do not know what these people are truly like, so don’t go idolising one and demonising another because you don’t know what goes on if the cameras don’t show you.

I mean, I’m literally watching Love Island now as I write this and I love it, so I don’t want it to stop but I think people, especially young girls, need to know how unrealistic the entire show is.

Unpopular opinion: I like Eyal

my problem with #metoo

This is going to be controversial. I can be sure of that. So, I am going to first put in place my disclaimer:

I know that sexual assault and the rape culture within the media and film industry is a problem. I do not deny that there are disgusting, disrespectful people (not only men, but women too) who have and even some still will assault other people both physically and verbally in any manner, but in particular sexually. There is no dispute about that, and I have the deepest sympathies for anyone, famous or not, male or female, who has had to endure anything of the sort from anyone. Especially when said person, for example Harvey Weinstein, had a position of authority and control over their victims to make them feel more vulnerable and less in control of themselves. Please bear my disclaimer in mind when reading the rest of this.

Here is my problem. Too many people can now falsely accuse notable people of sexual misconduct or other such behaviour. We live in a world where people do disgusting things in fits of anger and everything is instant. Now, I’m not saying we should just immediately assume every victim is making up their story, nor should we assume every accused person is a criminal. The difficulty is, people throw around these habitual argumentative phrases such as, “let’s all believe in the innocence of a white good looking male and discredit the woman’s testimony as always” and “no one ever believes women, this is why we don’t talk”, and these call upon every discrimination that we so violently hate in society nowadays. In particular, sexism and racism. We are all turning so firmly against “the white man” because he must be a criminal based on the way we, as a society, push for equality in everything.

Now, this argument of mine could become far longer if I go into exploring my view of ‘feminism’ vs. ‘Feminism’ and why that word is completely antiquated and should be, because of how far we have come in getting women equal rights already, called ‘equalitism’. But let’s not. Let’s save that one for a rainy day. Let’s just look at the way society is now. Frankly, we live in a world where nobody can keep themselves whiter than white (what an ironic saying in these times…) and everybody slips up, whether it be big or small. Yes, sexual assault is more than just a slip up. Yes, there are boundaries to draw the line between human nature and unforgivable behaviour. However, nobody is a saint. Saints do not exist. Human nature dictates that, no matter who you are, you put your survival needs ahead of anything else when it truly comes down to it. It is only when there is an imbalance in the chemicals that human nature can begin to shift, which I think must be the case for assaulters. I truly don’t believe anyone can be of sound, sane mind and believe that sexual assault and rape is acceptable at any time. No. I’m not excusing their behaviour at all. I am simply saying, we need to understand the intensity of the world we live in, especially for people in the public eye.

What I am angry about is that I believe that all this will do now is make more men (and even women) turn against ‘feminists’ (or ‘equalitists’) due to the storms of abuse that have and still will be thrown at innocent men, especially white men, about sexual assaults. It will also make those people who believe so strongly and passionately about this that they hurl this abuse at innocent bystanders, purely because they are angry at the world and human nature for being the way it is quite frankly, even more abusive. Abuse is never the answer to abuse, is it? I am scared that more and more women (or men) will come forward and falsely accuse these “white, privileged men” of rape or similar things in a fit of rage. Think about how easily you can sometimes send a text in anger, or spit out some hostile words at someone or about someone. In this day and age, with social media, it only takes one second for something to move across the entire world and make headlines. I can’t imagine a situation where I would ever falsely accuse someone of that behaviour, to such an extreme that I could ruin their entire lives and have them end up in prison. However, equally, I cannot imagine ever believing it would be okay for me to force myself upon a person and sexually assault them without consent. And yet, people do believe that that is acceptable behaviour. So, I believe it must work for both sides.

We live in a far from perfect world, full of far from perfect people, living far from perfect lives. Of course, victims of assault of any kind should speak out and get the support they need. Of course, nobody should ever assault anyone. Of course, nobody should lie. But we cannot guarantee any of that. We cannot force human beings to be this ideal, every person has different wiring in their body and we are far from understanding the true depths of the complexity of the human brain. So, for now, we have to accept that this world is fucked up. And all we should want to try to do, is make it that little bit less so by being fair and honest.

I HATE LOVE ISLAND

Confession: I do NOT watch Love Island. WHAT?! HOW!? BLASPHEMY! You say. It’s true, I do not watch Love Island. Sorry, I’ll stop saying that now, I know it’s hurting some of you. 

However, in order to be able to appropriately argue my corner I had to endure two episodes of it, just to get the gist – frankly it was hell on earth, worse than my previous bout of tonsilitis this month. 

Let me explain why I have this bitter hatred towards that show from watching only two episodes, wincing at the number of times they say “d’you know what I mean?” and wondering whether I should start a drinking game with it in an attempt to enjoy myself a little more. 

THE GIRLS. Okay, you’re not all stupid, you’re fully aware the girls have had work done. But, there are fourteen year old, twelve year old, ten year old girls watching that! If I had watched girls like that running around in bikinis EVERY DAY when I was ten, I’d definitely have felt even more self-conscious than I did anyway about my body – my lack of perky breasts, my tiny lips and my not perfectly curled thick eyelashes. Yes, you and I know that these women have had work done, but there are so many girls out there who will now strive to look like these women, some of them so much so that they will push their bodies to unhealthy levels. Let’s not beat around the bush, eating disorders such as anorexia affect so many people, please can we just stop adding to that number ITV? It’s not fair to push these subconscious ideals onto young, impressionable girls without them realising. 

THE RELATIONSHIPS. So the premise of the show is to create relationships, yeah? With a bit of drama sprinkled here and there. But these people have known each other all of one month and they’re already saying they love each other?! That’s something we did when we were twelve and it was ridiculous – but there are twelve year olds watching this who will think it is completely normal to tell someone you barely know that they’re the love of your life. It isn’t, in case you didn’t realise. Okay, yes, sometimes you do just know but that’s a very rare exception. In the episode I watched whatsherface and whatshisname (after doing some research I discovered I am referring to Olivia and Chris…or maybe it’s Tyla and Jonny – you tell me) were saying how much they love each other but can’t be themselves around each other. Let me just say, if you can’t make it work in the first month it’s very unlikely it will work beyond that. But then there will be massive drama if one of them gets with someone else, and I’m pretty sure there’s some love triangle between Tyla and Jonny and someone – inevitable when you essentially hot box a bunch of single people looking for love. “Looking for love”, I regret that choice of words because if they’re looking for love they wouldn’t be on a dating show designed to ENTERTAIN people A.K.A designed to create drama in early relationships. Put simply, the people on Love Island are looking for fame, which is absolutely fine, but don’t mislabel it please. 

THE SEX. Okay, I’m not prudish and I have no issue with what order people decide to do things in when it comes to sex and relationships. But, in a time when rape culture is rife and young men’s attitude towards sex with women is, generally speaking, misogynistic, why are we being presented with a norm of sex (and everything else under the sun) before actually getting into a relationship? The problem being that it sets up a new option of “persuasion” (I prefer the word “pressure” in this case though) whereby men can say “we don’t have to be in a relationship to do this” – which you don’t, if that’s what you’re comfortable with, but don’t publish it on national television for all the country to see and be influenced by. ITV, you are essentially giving men a scapegoat for being called out on sexual pressure. 

Maybe I’m old-fashioned and need to relax a bit, but with every rant/message/natter I post I hope to make a difference to the media-controlled, still bustling with inequality society we live in. We should live in a world where women and men don’t feel pressure to look a certain way because of the media, where relationships mean more than just a label of “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” and where sex isn’t a poker chip in the game of love. If I can take any step to get closer to reaching that point, I can be proud of something I have achieved. 

HOPE YOU ENJOYED MY RANT. Over and out.

Thnks fr th mmrs

Here’s the thing, I don’t show my friends enough gratitude. They’re the best people I know and they deserve to know that. I think I, like everyone else, get so tangled up in my own world that I forget to ask how they are, or tell them I love them. So that is what I’m doing, but there’s a twist – I’m not naming anyone. This is mostly because I will no doubt forget someone who deserves to be acknowledged and I want to make sure everyone feels appreciated. Maybe some of these apply to more than one person, maybe some are extremely specific. You can guess for yourself, my friends.

So, thank you to the friend who inspires me daily. You go out of your way to make me, and others, smile each day. You’re relentlessly positive and that rubs off on others, despite having all your own reasons not to smile.

Thank you, silent friend, but ever present. You’re not a loud one, but that always leaves me more able to breathe with you. I know, no matter what the situation, if I needed you, you’d be there. And that is what matters in a friendship.

Thank you to the friend who has not always been a friend. There was a time when you weren’t my favourite person, but over time that has brought us closer together. It brings me great comfort that you, unlike so many people, can understand the depths of my mind so well.

Thanks to the one who encourages me to be the best version of myself. You define so many things I want to be myself, pushing me to improve. Sometimes, the most important things I need to hear can also be the hardest things to hear, yet you say them to me with such sensitivity that they become gentle.

Thank you, friend who is always there to give me a pep talk. You are such a kind person, selfless and understanding, and you don’t tell me what I want to hear, you tell me the truth. You encourage the self-love which I sometimes find impossible to give.

Thank you to you, for giving me the funniest memories of my life over the past 7 years. You light a dance inside me which I can’t help but let shine through. You have protected me in so many ways, fought my corner so many times and taken care of me so much.

Thank you to the friend who inspired me to be smarter. You probably haven’t realised you have done so, but every day through school your intelligence and drive pushed me to work harder. You deserve to run miles in your future career and have the wit and confidence to do so, even if sometimes you don’t see it.

All these friends I have mentioned, and anyone else I consider to be a friend, have brought glimmers of hope into my life and encouraged me to keep fighting. Every day my friends show me how to live my life and how to enjoy each moment, without even realising they do so. My friends teach me lessons that have shaped and will continue to shape me into the person I am.

So here’s one final thank you to everyone in my life, whether you have said only one word to me or have been there through every pit and every peak; thank you for everything you have done.

You are appreciated, even if I forget to show it sometimes.

Instagram: more likes, less reality

Okay ladies, now let’s get in-formation. *shameless Beyoncé*

Now, if you’re a millennial (or frankly any age) you will know what Instagram is. And it’s great…in some ways. So, on average 4.2 billion posts are liked on Instagram every day. That’s a lot. And I would guess-timate that 80% of those likes are on posts by celebrities or “Instagram Famous” people. These likes aren’t just “likes” though, they can lead to jealousy, FoMo (fear of missing out), and self-loathing.

Don’t get me wrong, I use Instagram and I’m a huge advocate for doing anything you want with social media – post whatever you want; it is, after all, your account. BE INDIVIDUAL. And that’s what I love about social media as a whole, that, even with all the crap it can cause, it indiscriminately allows individuality regardless of size, race, belief, etc.

The Royal Society for Public Health conducted a survey earlier this year which showed that Instagram has the worst effect on people’s mental health. Now, although statistically this may be true, that is not to say that all users should delete Instagram immediately. Not at all.

But I want to talk about this.

So, naturally, I turned to my friends tonight and asked them for their opinions. Now, this is a group of young women, well-educated but by no means claiming to be the wisest nor the smartest on earth. I asked whether they believed Instagram made them feel worse about themselves and, for the most part, they said that it doesn’t and that it can even be motivational at times. Yes, sometimes they look at others’ pictures and may feel slightly worse about themselves but they bounce back. However, these are smart young ladies, women I hope to see in great places one day, and so they are able to remind themselves that, often, what they see is not reality. These smart friends of mine are also strong. And that’s where the issue lies.

Not everyone has a strong enough brain to tell themselves that a photo does not tell the full story, ever. Heck, I definitely don’t. And that’s not a weakness, per se. You could be hugely successful and seemingly content with your life but still be knocked by the photos you see on Instagram. Because if that “Instagram Famous” girl posts an amazing photo of herself looking tanned in a beautiful location and you’re lying in bed alone scrolling through your feed instead of sleeping, your life can seem inferior or even worthless in comparison. But remember, you don’t know what happened three seconds before that photo or three seconds after.

Thinking about all the times I’ve seen a photo or video on Instagram that made me feel worse about my own life led me to ask the question, why do we take photos? And why do we share them on Instagram (or any other social media) rather than say, keeping them private? Maybe it’s to prove we have friends in times of loneliness, as though we feel the need to remind others we are sociable – because obviously my generation does not have a problem with screen addiction… BESIDES THE POINT. Perhaps it is simply because, as one of my friends put it, we’re feelin’ ourselves. *Yoncé at it again* Or is it to maintain a social status? Is there a necessity to chart events in our lives? Do we have to make our entire life seem exciting and interesting? Nobody’s life is permanently exciting and interesting; we all have to do dull things sometimes, whether that’s adulting by sorting out tax returns or revising for school exams. Honestly, I don’t know why we post photos. I know we take them for memories; photography and videography has been around far longer than social media. But why do my friends and I now have to say, “Memories not social media”, whenever we’re taking photos without make up or looking “rough”? Heaven forbid somebody might post a photo of us not looking our absolute best.

But that’s exactly it, people care so much about what they put out there that it can take hundreds of photos, full of fat rolls and bloated stomachs or unshaved legs and closed eyes, before finding the perfect one. And even then, often that photo will go onto FaceTune or any other editing app to “fix my thighs” or “whiten my teeth”. So why, despite us all knowing the struggle to find an Instagram worthy photo, do we tell ourselves that others have this perfect life based on one photo? Or even based on a whole account of photos? These are frozen moments which capture one second in an entire lifetime; the person uploading the photo has chosen one still element of their life to publish.

I sometimes look at someone on Instagram, Tammy Hembrow for example, and wish so much that I could be her. It can get me so down because I tell myself she has this idyllic life – two beautiful children, a very attractive fiancé and a killer body all before she’s even halfway to 50. But the reality is she has two children under the age of three, who cry and poo and have to be supervised, which cannot be easy 24/7. She will argue with her fiancé from time to time. And she’ll get down herself sometimes. That is all in human nature. Human emotions work such that they are fluid and can change to many extremes. So, yeah, maybe she is smiling and looking great in that photo, but that isn’t a permanent state.

Now, Fitness accounts. They motivate me so much to get into the gym and keep fit. But look deeper, all these people not only work out regularly but they also track their macros and micros (something I have no clue about, and don’t really plan to learn about any time soon). So, obviously you won’t get that toned, magazine-ready body by just going to the gym once a week.

But also, they pose. They admit it themselves. I love the accounts that show reality vs. posed, like GraceFitUK. I love seeing the posed photos because frankly those girls look fiiiine as, but I also want to see reality so that I don’t forget that everyone has some fat on them – that’s called being healthy.

Now, let’s go back to what I said about individuality. Instagram should be a forum where people can express themselves in whatever way that is; whether that’s taking scenic photos in the country or body progress photos in the gym. So why do people feel the need to comment nasty things about how others present themselves? If I want to post a booty pic, whether I have a booty or not, you should damn well support me because that’s what empowerment is all about – making others feel stronger and more confident in themselves.

So, yeah. Instagram is great, as long as you always remember that you’re seeing a fragment of a life. You are not always seeing reality. Remind yourself that nobody is perfect and nobody has a perfect life, fantastic though they may seem. Just appreciate the photos and videos posted, be nice to others, encourage them and always let yourself laugh at funny memes.