Could Love Island not have found at least one contestant with an ounce of fat on them?

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being slim if you’re healthy, but the fact of the matter is that most people don’t look like the contestants. We have cellulite, jiggly arms and tummy rolls when we sit down

Rachel Hosie@rachel_hosie
Tuesday 05 June 2018 20:28
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Meet the new Love Islanders 2018

Last night Love Island returned to our screens, bringing back many of the glorious tropes we now associate with the reality series: snakey behaviour, Essex accents and taut, tanned bodies in skimpy swimwear.

But as the first episode of the series aired last night, there was one topic that set many tongues wagging: the lack of body diversity.

Of the 11 contestants introduced to viewers, all five women are undeniably skinny and nearly all six men look like Mr Muscle.

While the show’s been lauded for having more racial diversity than Oxford University, where’s the body diversity?

And what message does this send to viewers, particularly the young and impressionable?

The idea that you need to be thin to be considered attractive and worthy of love is incredibly damaging – it can lead to low self-esteem, body dysmorphia and even eating disorders.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being slim if you’re healthy, but the fact of the matter is that most people don’t look like the contestants.

We have cellulite, jiggly arms and tummy rolls when we sit down, but that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with our bodies.

But when all we’re shown is one body type – a body type that is unachievable for most of us – we’re inevitably left feeling bad about ourselves.

As all the female contestants entered the Love Island villa last night, Twitter was awash with women saying that the programme made them feel like a “fat potato”, or “I wish I hadn’t eaten that burger for dinner,” or “Where are the curves?”

Indeed, the female contestants on last year’s series were all just as sexy and conventionally attractive, but at least some women had some curves which made their bodies ever so slightly more relatable.

But having just one token "larger" contestant isn’t the answer – it’s akin to when fashion designers plonk one plus size model on the catwalk in the hope of being lauded online and in the press for championing women of all sizes, when really it’s just a publicity stunt.

And the line-up of Love Island men is only marginally better, showcasing at least a slight scale of ripped men’s bodies: alongside personal trainer Adam, model Eyal and eight-packed engineer Wes, we have slightly softer round the edges Jack.

Then there’s A&E doctor Alex, for who none of the women “stepped forward”.

The trouble is that by regular human standards, tall, muscular, normal-coloured Alex has an impressively fit – and definitely fanciable – physique. But on Love Island, merely having bulging biceps isn’t enough – if you don’t have at least a six pack you’re largely cast aside.

The body positivity movement has made huge strides in recent years, but by only including one body shape on Love Island, we risk undoing everything.

Learning to love your body is really hard when we live in a society so obsessed with slimness for women and ripped muscles for men.

A show like Love Island could have a hugely positive impact in reversing the engrained notion that there’s only one way to be attractive if its line up of contestants featured more diverse bodies.

As it is, the line up sends a potentially incredibly damaging message – a message which was reinforced by the boob job ad broadcast after the episode finished.

It’s a fun TV programme that’s meant to be light hearted, but the lack of body diversity is a serious issue which needs addressing. As new contestants enter the villa, we can only hope there might be a few with over ten per cent body fat.

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