Love Island People Are People
People are people
This summer, just like the majority of the nation, I spent each night watching ‘Love Island’. For two months, I dedicated part of my day to watching a bunch of people, not that much older than myself attempt to find the loves of their lives. I feel like over the two months I formed opinions on those people, and recently I found myself having to take a step back and remember that these are real people.
With the ever-changing status of ‘celebrities’ in this day and age, everyone has an opinion, and everyone feels their opinion deserves a platform. But, when you’re seeing people attack someone online, the lines can get blurred and dangerous. As a society, we put celebrities on a pedestal, but sometimes people on the internet can forget that celebrities have hearts of their own. And when they’re thrust into celebrity life by shows like Love Island, they may not be as strong as they appear in a villa, cut-off from the outside world. Re-entering everyday life when everyone suddenly knows who you are must be hard, but especially when it also comes to comments about their appearance or being vilified for their reasoning behind entering an environment like Love Island.
This year’s Love Island final seemed close, far closer than the one we all endured in 2018. Despite the fact that Molly-Mae Hague and Tommy Fury were the longest-lasting couple to have made it to the 2019 final, Amber Gill found love in Greg O’Shea after being mistreated by Michael Griffiths. The final seemed close, and despite the fact that Greg and Amber hadn’t long been coupled-up, Amber’s status as the nation’s sweetheart suddenly meant the final was hard to predict.
But whilst I, like probably about 80% of the UK, impatiently waited for the result, I decided to check Twitter to see if I could predict the final vote. What I found, however, was that ‘#MoneyMae’ was trending on Twitter. I laughed for a second, but then I realised that this is her life. Molly-Mae would be leaving the solitude of the Love Island villa, at just 20 years old, to a status as ‘fake’ by just about everyone on the internet. I admit, some of her actions on the show seemed as though she was desperate to win, but never did I question her love and admiration for Tommy. And let’s be honest, if you’re joining Love Island, finding fame (and maybe getting some of that prize money) must be in your peripheral. Molly-Mae was vilified for playing the game, but others won our hearts for being better at hiding the fact they were doing the same.
It feels like because reality-TV stars are putting their lives out to the world, the public think they owe us more of their private lives. Sometimes, with people like Gemma Collins, we see some reality-TV-made celebrities as more of characters than real people. We can sometimes perceive their personality as an act; but making comments on their personality can be harmful. It’s easy to forget that these are real people. These are people who, despite putting parts of their life to the public, deserve privacy.
I was astounded recently when I saw that Good Morning Britain had practically forced Love Island contestant Curtis Pritchard to label himself as bisexual. On the Love Island Reunion show, which followed a week after the live final, the host questioned islanders on whether or not they’d slept with one another since leaving the villa. Surely, they deserve that privacy? They’ve put their lives in the spotlight, but we don’t need to know every little detail of their life. It must feel as though they’re living in The Truman Show and you can imagine how disturbing that must feel.
Then there’s the trolls on the internet. People who think they deserve a say in everyone’s lives and do all they can to promote negativity. Why waste your time on nasty comments? I should hope they have jobs to do, or lives to live. ‘#MoneyMae’ might seem like a bit of fun, but it can easily be considered trolling. There’s joking about certain decisions or actions made by celebrities, but there is a point where things can be pushed too far.
As of 2019, two former Love Island contestants have committed suicide due to online trolling. Allegedly, more than 38 suspected suicides have been linked to reality tv shows worldwide. Love Island has dozens of therapists ready for the islanders; Amy Hart of this year’s cast said she had visited the therapist numerous times whilst on the show and needed desperately to visit them again when she got her phone back. Molly-Mae Hague and Tommy Fury have been told to stay away from social media since their return to everyday life due to the onslaught of negative comments they’ve received. We as a society are obsessed with the lives of others, but it is important to remember that these are people, not characters in a fiction show.
As the saying goes, ‘it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt’. Be mindful of the comments you are making on others’ lives. They’re still people.
By Tirion Davies