Love Island's male contestants have been accused of “toxic masculinity“ by viewers after Monday night's programme.
After Maura Higgins overheard partner Tom Walker talking about spending the night with her in the private Hideaway room to the other men in the villa, viewers took to social media to complain.
Referring to her frequent allusions to sex in everyday conversation, Walker said in Sunday night's episode: “It’ll be interesting to see if she is all mouth or not."
But after she heard him, she confronted him in footage aired on Monday, which saw her refuse to enter the Hideaway room with him.
“You should have been a gentleman,” the 28-year-old model told him. Walker denied he had made the comments before walking away.
Higgins later told her fellow female contestants Walker was "trying to be a lad out there in front of all the boys."
She added: "I don’t want a lad, I want a gentleman. It’s 2019, why is it such a big deal when a woman talks about sex?”
Meanwhile, Walker returned to the bedroom to discuss the situation further with the other male contestants, who proceeded to mock and belittle Higgins for her reaction.
“It’s a double standard, isn’t it? She can’t give it all big and then not be able to take a bit of banter like that,” Walker said, before admitting that he should not have made the remark.
Jordan Hames, who is partnered with Anna Vakili, added: “She definitely doesn’t want to go to the hideaway with you because of that?”
Walker replied: “Course she’s not, you d***."
As they burst into laughter, another contestant added: “Why not though?”
Unbeknownst to the men, Higgins overheard the entire exchange.
As the episode aired, some social media users accused Walker of "slut-shaming" - or criticising her because of her attitudes towards sex.
Viewers complained about the mens’ behaviour on Twitter.
One described it as "the epitome of toxic masculinity”, which refers to harmful behaviour and attitudes associated with some men.
These include the need to repress emotions during stressful situations and acting in an aggressively dominant way..
“Jesus the toxic masculinity in that bedroom right now,” one person tweeted, that at the time of publication had garnered more than 2,000 likes.
“That bedroom stinks of toxic masculinity,” another added. “How is it 2019 and ‘lad culture’ still believes that a girl being open about enjoying sex equals being ‘easy’ or a ‘s***’?”
One user described it as “devastating” and “disgusting” that Higgins was being “torn apart” for being comfortable with her sexuality.
They added that the men “should be given a class on consent & toxic masculinity”.
Many people praised Higgins for standing up for herself.
“Can we just give all the prize money straight to Maura? Entertains AND destroys toxic masculinity,” one person wrote.
Another added: “Very impressed with how well Maura dealt with that situation... good on her!”
The Independent has contacted ITV for comment.
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