Is Love Island harming the moral fabric of Britain?

If you haven’t stumbled upon the ITV2 TV series Love Island then I will leave it to the Independent to explain:

It’s essentially Big Brother – with contestants being slowly voted out of a house (in this case, a Mallorcan villa) by the public and the last pair standing winning £50,000 – only the road to victory is paved with Machiavellian gossiping and condom wrappers. Ostensibly, the ITV2 show is about finding love, but going far in it seems to require successfully walking the tightrope of being honourable without being boring. I should also note it’s quite meta in the sense that the rules literally don’t matter and are changed at the producers’ whim.

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This year’s Love Island has proved hugely popular. The show has become must-see viewing amongst mainly female (67.4%) viewers and under 35s (63.6%). It’s already appeared on the wordpress this year for its discussion on feminism. Last week the a contestant from the show, Chris, was praised for openly showing his emotions and breaking the stereotype that men shouldn’t cry. Chris had been involved with fellow contestant Olivia Attwood whilst in the villa, and was left in tears when she decided to cool things off. In one scene Olivia told Chris not to cry again; which led many viewers to accuse her of being “cold-hearted” and “harsh”. In fact some people went so far as saying that if it had been the other way round she would have been seen as a victim of bullying.

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On this Wednesday’s show the couples all became immediate parents with the show’s producers providing each couple with baby dolls. After just a short while Chris said,  “I think this morning he has already brought out an emotional side in me. With Olivia, we have stopped the mishaps we’ve had together and we’ve got to focus on the baby now, because ultimately he is our main responsibility.” I tell you this programme can be an interesting way to learn about life skills!

Laura Hamzic who works for Brook, a sexual health charity for young people, would agree with me, saying that shows like Love Island can provide young people with an entry point for discussion by reconciling sex with relationships.

“I think we’re still quite quick to judge young people as being sexually irresponsible and promiscuous and that’s something we would challenge,” she says. “They are starved of places to discuss sex and relationships in controlled environments like school, because sex education is very poor. Love Island isn’t exactly the best place to learn about sex and relationships, but it’s better than porn.”

Love Island’s commissioning editor Amanda Stavri agrees, pointing out that the key to the show’s success is relationships rather than sex. “Our feeling is if you’re inviting 12 singletons to live together in the sun, things are gonna get heated under the covers,” she says. “But it’s not salacious, it’s not grubby, it’s not explicit. We’re more interested in the story of the couple who have chosen to take their relationship to the next level.”

If you’re not down with the kids and their lingo then BBC Three have even provided a useful dictionary according Love Island so you can better understand the conversations.

If all this has whetted your appetite for Love Island you can catch up on episodes via the ITV Hub.

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Negativity can make you Happy

Negativity can make you happy is something that psychologist Oliver Burkeman thinks. His mini series on the BBC called The Power of Negative Thinking explains how negativity can be a surprisingly powerful route to joy, success and satisfaction.

So perhaps the Monty Python song Always Look on the Bright Side of Life is not the best advice!

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Snowflake Generation, Brexit and JOMO

Words which a few years ago would have meant almost nothing have recently been chosen by Collins Dictionary as the 10 Words of the Year.

Brexit which was first coined in 2013 has had a 3,400% rise in its recorded usage and comes in at number one on the list.

Brexit (ˈbrɛɡzɪt) noun: the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union

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Other words to feature include ‘mic drop’ – a theatrical gesture in which a person drops a hand-held microphone as the finale to a speech – ‘snowflake generation’ – the collective name for the young adults of the 2010s’ – and ‘JOMO’ which is the joy of missing out.

The mic drop has become quite the thing this year with Bruno Mars showing us how to do it at the end of his BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge performance and Obama dropping the mic at the end of his final ever Correspondents Dinner.

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Mr Bennett who advises the Education minister used the term ‘snowflake generation’  when describing how students who demand protection from controversial views are the product of a mollycoddled ‘snowflake generation’. He reckons the problem started at school when too many children were protected from the ‘harsher realities of the world’ and then had trouble coping with challenging ideas at university and adulthood. He reckons the solution to the snowflake generation is for schools to teach children not to feel ‘scared that other people will disagree with them’ and instead encourage discussion and debate.

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