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Love Island's misogyny this year is worse than before

Movie Night exposed the boys' blatant misogyny.

Whether you choose to see it or not, we live in a society where the double standards for men and women are still very much prevalent, and Sunday night's (July 18) episode of Love Island was a scary, eye-opening reflection of that.

These double standards are something we see time and time again: men react, women overreact. Men are admired for being good fathers, while women are simply doing their job. Men are praised by peers for their sexual prowess in the dating world, whereas women are viewed as promiscuous and may as well walk around with a red 'A' painted on their chest.

Love Island's movie night was a textbook example of the latter point, with the misogyny displayed by this year's crop of boys being more visible than ever.

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Viewers were quick to call them out on their behaviour, with one tweeting: "Not even enjoying Love Island this year anymore having to listen to these toxic and misogynistic men. I feel sorry for the girls in the villa this year and I feel sorry for all the people sat at home with boyfriends/husbands like these men."

andrew, luca, dami, billy, davide, adam and deji sit at a table watching a movie with popcorn on love island
ITV

Domestic violence charity Refuge also voiced their concerns on Twitter and wrote: "The misogyny and casual sexism witnessed on this series of #LoveIsland is extremely concerning. The double standards, gaslighting and coercive control being displayed by the men in the villa is hugely problematic."

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This year's ultimate bombshell Ekin-Su and first ever deaf contestant Tasha have been the boys’ primary targets, having been treated pretty much like untrustworthy harlots for the majority of their time in the villa.

Granted, Ekin-Su crawling on the terrace and kissing Jay while coupled up with Davide wasn't the best way to go about things, but the backlash she received from the boys for it when they were all doing the same a couple weeks later during Casa Amor just goes to show that they'll shame a woman for the same behaviour they encourage amongst themselves.

The Italian stallion infamously denounced her as a “liar, actress,” while the other boys vilified her in a heated argument in which Jaques called her a “f**king headache” after Jay admitted that he wanted to get to know Paige.

ekinsu, love island
ITV

Come Casa Amor when the couple are seemingly back on, Davide is snogging both Coco and Mollie. Not only did the boys cheer him on, but they laughed about it while Ekin-Su sat there and watched it back.

The same goes for Tasha, who’s been coupled up with Andrew since the beginning, but has been open to exploring romantic connections with other boys. Despite their constant criticism of her for doing so, the general consensus among the boys in Casa Amor was that they needed to be 'tested' and explore other connections in order to know if the one they had with the girls they were coupled up with was 'genuine'.

What’s acceptable for them clearly isn’t for Tasha, who has borne the brunt of many snide comments and accusing glances. The clip showing Andrew cracking on with Coco was apparently hilarious, but then Luca told Tasha that she shouldn’t be laughing when her kiss with Billy was displayed.

Dami was one of the most vocal cheerleaders in Casa and got to know Summer while he was coupled up with Indiyah. Despite the kissing under the covers, secret handshakes, and declaring that "Summer has just begun" when recoupling with her, Dami was blatantly gaslighting her in Sunday's episode when Indiyah discovered the extent of their Casa romance.

billy hides his face with one hand on love island
ITV

After Summer discussed the said romance with Indiyah, Dami implied that she was delusional to believe they had a genuine connection before calling her "fake" and telling her to "shut up." It's a toxic tactic that can make someone undermine their own beliefs and it's often used in abusive relationships.

Luca was probably the most controversial during the episode, though. Throughout Casa, he encouraged the boys and delighted in their antics when their tapes were played with no remorse for the girls’ feelings. But it was a completely different story when he accused his partner Gemma of "entertaining" Billy’s flirting.

His sudden change of demeanour was uncomfortable to watch, as was the entire conversation surrounding the situation. From the way Luca claimed he doesn't "want a bird no one fancies," as if the woman he "loves" is supposed to be some sort of trophy he can show off to his friends, to the way he and Billy sat on either side of Gemma and pretty much tried to gaslight her into admitting to something she didn’t do.

We see this toxic 'lad culture' play out year after year, but it's been more pervasive and blatant this time around. So with a show whose audience is primarily made up of young people, it's vital that it be addressed.

However, while the overall behaviour from the boys this year is dangerous and needs to be called out, sending death threats and hurling abuse at the friends and family who are handling their social media accounts isn't acceptable either.

Every summer, we're reminded to be kind and watch what we say, but that doesn't stop the torrent of insults that roll in from 9pm, six nights a week.

We're all very much aware of the damage this show can cause, and that's not to say bad behaviour should be condoned, but there's a difference between calling out that behaviour and combating it with something that's just as dangerous.

Love Island airs on ITV2 and is available via catch up on ITV Hub and Britbox.

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