At The Yorkshire Press, we feel it is imperative that young people are given the opportunity to voice their opinions on any subject they feel is important to them and to their peers. We are now accepting article submissions from budding young writers and journalists and choosing one per week for publication.
Here, is our first article submission in our ‘Young Yorkshire Voices’ series, written by 17 year old Sadie Maude from Keighley, West Yorkshire.
“The Grim Reality” by Sadie Maude
Series 4 of reality show Love Island took the UK by storm, with an astonishing 3.6 million viewers tuning in to watch the grand finale on July 30th. These figures placed it as the most watched programme in its slot across all channels. Regardless of whether or not you watched the reality show, it was extremely difficult to not be aware of what was happening due to its immense presence on social media, which has not simmered down despite the show now being over! With most of the viewers ranging from ages 16-34 it could be argued that a fairly large amount of them are still at quite an impressionable age, which raises the question, should Love Island producers be more selective with the content/ messages that are conveyed to their viewers?
The show was based around young, attractive people who paired up as couples in the hope of winning a £50,000 cash prize. However, the majority of the contestants have undergone some form of cosmetic surgery to look the way they do which promotes unrealistic beauty standards to their younger viewers. This pressure to look a certain way is consistent across many media platforms such as TV and social media and as a result, the NHS are experiencing an ever-growing number of cases relating to young people with mental health issues and eating disorders.
Throughout July, the reality show received a large amount of negative publicity in relation to the harmful messages the programme transmits both on air and during advertisements. Many viewers accessed the show through ITV’s online streaming service, ITV Hub, which was showing advertisements promoting a company which offers loans for procedures such as tummy tucks and breast enlargements. Advertisements such as these often promote unrealistic beauty standards and could be said to mirror the appearances of some contestants on the show, meaning they reinforce these hard reach standards which for some viewers and could be extremely detrimental to their self-esteem. Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England believes that showing advertisements such as these is “part of a culture that increases pressure on the NHS’s eating disorder services”, which reflects the potential risks that can arise among young people when constantly faced with images such as these. As a result of this, Stevens states that harmful views relating to body image are becoming an increasing burden on other health services and on the mental health of many young people. Although the content of the advertisements didn’t break any regulations, it’s difficult to say what effect it might have had on an individual, which is why I believe more precautions need to be taken in relation to who the advertisement is likely to reach.
As well as the unrealistic body standards portrayed on the show, most of the relationships were also incredibly idealistic. Although some of the feelings contestants may have for each other could be real, they were constantly re-coupled and, in some cases, scenes are staged or need to be re-shot and this took away the sincerity of the moment. However, it cant be forgotten that these contestants are real people and had real feelings! Many of the contestants had to endure rejections or experienced being cheated on by their partner at the time which despite what is shown on camera, could have been quite damaging for them and in some cases could be considered quite unhealthy. Adam Collard, a contestant on this year’s show was called out by a Women’s Aid charity in response to his treatment of Rosie Williams after an argument in which Williams accused him of ignoring her for another contestant. Collard suggested she was overreacting and that her jealousy had “pushed him away”. Katie Ghose from Women’s Aid believes that Collard’s behaviour showed signs of “emotional abuse and gaslighting” which is a form of psychological manipulation in which a person is made to question their own perception of reality.
Although this is a reality show intended for entertainment, issues such as the well-being of audiences and contestants should not be ignored and should be given more attention by officials. Now Love Island 2018 has come to an end, the contestants are likely to be forgotten. However, the impact on both contestants and impressionable viewers may be longstanding.
If you are under the age of 18 and would like to submit an article for our ‘Young Yorkshire Voices’ series, please email your submission as a word document to Alexis@theskiptonpress.co.uk