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.

Natural Family Planning

Contraception is the deliberate prevention of conception or impregnation. It makes sense. Contra meaning against, and the end of the word showing conception. I am sometimes surprised when students can’t work that out in class. But maybe that’s because students don’t use the word contraception very often, instead just referring to a method of contraception: condoms. Well today in the news they are debating the accuracy of fertility apps being used by women to avoid getting pregnant, so as a method of natural family planning and contraception. It is based on the rhythm method (calendar method).

To use the rhythm method, you track your menstrual history to predict when you’ll ovulate. This helps you determine when you’re most likely to conceive. If you’re hoping to get pregnant, you can use the rhythm method to determine the best days to have sex. Similarly, if you’re hoping to avoid pregnancy, you can use the rhythm method to determine which days to avoid unprotected sex.

In PSHCE lessons we will be learning about relationships and sex education, and in Religious Studies GCSE students investigate topics like Infertility and Fertility treatment on the old AQA course and topic like Love, Marriage and Contraception on the new AQA course. So understanding the biology of conception and the menstrual cycle, as well as the facts about contraception are repeatedly useful to our learning.

Recently students in Year 10 have been learning about what religions say about methods of contraception:

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Alicia Keys and her new album Here

Some of the new songs on Alicia Keys’ album Here are a wonderful inspiration for our studies in Religious Studies.

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First of all the song Halleluja (meaning God be praised when uttered in worship or as an expression of rejoicing) has a religious theme, where it seems as if Alicia’s looking for strength and has to find it in religion. The song is featured in the trailer of Let Me In, a film written and directed by Jonathan Olinger that portrays the refugee crisis as if it were on American soil. Here are the three first verses to give you a feel of the song:

There’s a hole in my heart I’ve been hiding
I’ve been strong for so long that I’m blind
Is there a place I can go where the lonely river flows?
Where fear ends and faith begins

Hallelujah, hallelujah, let me in
I’ve been praying but I’m paying for my sins
Won’t you give me a sign before I lose my mind?
Woah, hallelujah, let me in

Every step makes me think that I’m closer
But somehow I just never arrived
When our hope disappears, please protect me from my tears
I need you right by my side…

A second song to listen to is Blended Family (a family formed when a couple moves in together, bringing children from previous relationships into one home). The song describes the emotional turmoil there can often be in a Blended Family. For a new blended family to be formed, a breakdown of an original family must happen, so it’s normal for children to experience intense and sometimes overwhelming feelings: anger, disappointment, sadness, grief, guilt, worry and insecurity. When parents remarry or move in with a new partner who has children from a pre-existing marriage, a child faces further threats to his sense of stability. The song perfectly illustrates this. Once again here are the first few verses:

Hey I might not really be your mother
But that don’t mean that I don’t really love ya
And even though I married your father
That’s not the only reason I’m here for ya

I think you’re beautiful
I think you’re perfect
I know how hard it gets
But I swear it’s worth it, worth it

Cause what you do, what you do, what you do, what you do for love
There ain’t nothing, there ain’t nothing, there ain’t nothing I won’t do for us
It may not be easy, this blended family, but baby
Cause what you do, what you do, what you do, what you do for love, love

I know it started with a little drama
I hate you had to read it in the paper
But everything’s over with me being your mama
Baby everybody here you know adores ya…

Finally, though I am sure other songs on Alicia’s album would be worth listening to, there is the song Holy War (war which has religion as a driving force). On the US TV show the Voice Alicia told a packed audience she’d originally planned to perform the album’s newest single, “Blended Family,” and began with a single verse of the track. Suddenly, though, she stopped, and admitted she’d had a change of heart in light of recent political movements — what many inferred was Donald Trump‘s ascendance to presidency. “That’s my new song ‘Blended Family’ that I was supposed to sing tonight,” she said. “But due to the current climate there’s only one song I can sing and that’s ‘Holy War.’” Then, with the help of fellow Voice judge Adam Levine on guitar, Keys delivered a powerful rendition of the politically charged anthem from her signature piano perch.

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Maybe we should love somebody / Maybe we could care a little more / Maybe we should love somebody / Instead of polishing the bombs of holy war,” she belted as Miley Cyrus sang along from her swiveling chair. Here are the first few verses:


If war is holy and sex is obscene
We’ve got it twisted in this lucid dream
Baptized in boundaries, schooled in sin
Divided by difference, sexuality and skin

Oh so we can hate each other and fear each other
We can build these walls between each other
Baby, blow by blow and brick by brick
Keep yourself locked in, yourself locked in
Yeah we can hate each other and fear each other
We can build these walls between each other
Baby, blow by blow and brick by brick
Keep yourself locked in, yourself locked

Oh maybe we should love somebody
Oh maybe we could care a little more
So maybe we should love somebody
Instead of polishing the bombs of holy war…