So, I have never watched Love Island before (other than one episode last year that my sister was desperate for me to watch with her!!) This year, I've kept relatively up-to-date with the happenings.
And it has a massive influence. It influences our social media conversation, our real life conversation, our view of our face, our view of our body, our view of relationships, our view of hook-up culture, our view of their lifestyles, beliefs, values, opinions. And more.
What I want to share with you is a bit of my reflections on the impact it has had on my view of my self and my body.
1. I don't look at the other guys' bodies, I instinctively look at the girls
2. If I try not to look at their bodies as I watch, I fail instantaneously
3. If I haven't gymed or have eaten 'badly' that day, I feel worse (p.s. it's ok not to gym and ok to eat badly)
4. I wonder whether I need to find/buy the clothes they wear because maybe then I'll look good or like them
5. I get frustrated that they're literally half naked the entire time
6. 1 hour every night and 7 hours a week of subconscious, direct comparison to the girls on my TV screen can't be healthy for my 'self-esteem'
7. It feels like the only glimpses of realness and normality are seeing them without make up
8. I start to wonder what % of the population actually look like they do
9. I feel energised to keep doing the work I'm doing; speaking truth into girls' lives
(It's an odd number of reflections, apologies)
Possibly the thing I find more frustrating is the fact that this would all be so different if the people on the reality show were representative of real life.
Imagine if all shapes, sizes and ages were represented...actually imagine that...
I can imagine that we would spend a lot more time, even if only in our heads, focused on their personalities and characters rather than their flat stomach, toned legs and curvature.
Possibly the thing I find more scary is the fact that girls are watching Love Island with absolutely no awareness whatsoever. I liken it to the influence that America's Next Top Model had on me when I was younger: a very small proportion of the nation's women prancing around in minimal clothing with doll-like bodies.
So what do we do about this? And what do we do if we're already hooked on the show and not willing to give it up...
SELF-TALK: you've got to do a lot of positive mental self-talk a day to make up for the hours worth of negative mental self-talk you're already doing. I give examples of how to do this in my book but here's a general jist:
Negative Self-Talk = negative start of thoughts + negative end (i.e. 'their bodies are so much better than mine' + 'my body is therefore rubbish' + 'I feel rubbish about myself')
Positive Self-Talk = negative start of thoughts + positive end (i.e. 'their bodies are so much better than mine' + 'but their bodies don't represent the "ideal", nor do they represent all female bodies + my body is inherently GOOD' + 'I feel good about my body')
GENERAL TALK: talk about what you're watching and how you're feeling. The likelihood is that others are thinking the sane. This also means that you can mutually support eachother in your encouragement of your real bodies. Speak life-giving, body-assuring words to your friends. Actually, take the focus away from their bodies (we get enough of that right!) - speak life-giving words about who they are!
I'll keep you posted friends.
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