Thursday, 29 June 2017

love island... and feminism????

Every summer, like the rest of nation, I fall down the sticky rabbit hole of Love Island. Even though I feel like I need a bath (and maybe a cup of herbal tea) every time after I watch an episode, I keep watching, like everybody else, utterly addicted to whatever new gossip the Islanders are chatting about, probably vowing not to put all "their eggs in one basket" sitting on the daybed, or insisting that they're "not the ones that should be grafting". When I think of Love Island, I think of hot dog legs, those ultra zoomed moon shots, Caroline Flack, that fire pit they all sit around at night, and specifically this year, Blazin' Squad. I do not think of feminism.

Yet, somehow, I have ended up thinking about feminism much more than usual the past few weeks, all prompted by Love Island. 2017 hasn't ceased to surprise me...
For those who don't watch, towards the start of the series, there was a small debacle between couple Jonny and Camilla (camilla is a total babe, along with gabby and marcel, just fyi) over Jonny's position on feminism. I think Jonny's exact words were "real feminists believe in a slope towards them". Now, Camilla tried to explain her own opinion, but this little row ended in them breaking up temporarily.

here come a few collages that I made that have no relevance but break up the text and I think they're nice? enjoy ahah. They were made using some material from the April 2017 rookie collage kit by Katie lib, found here <333 

Me being me jumped straight onto Twitter, wanting to get a sense of the general population's reaction to this lil tiff. There were a few people protesting Jonny's apparent ignorance, but the vast majority on the Love Island hashtag were agreeing with Jonny, and proclaiming their hatred of feminism.

Before I continue, I would like to offer a little disclaimer: I am a feminist, and a relatively outspoken one at that. But I come from an environment where that is an obvious choice - I would say 98% of my school identifies as a feminist, and the online "sphere" I am familiar with is pretty liberal, and feminist orientated. (hello blogger friends! you are all too cool and I love you!)
The official Merriam-Webster dictionary definition for feminism is as follows:

Definition of feminism

1:  the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes

I think that's pretty hard to argue with. But feminism has an awful reputation, and the label of "feminist" is often considered to be a statement. Ironically, it's a feminist goal to break down the label itself, and hopefully to educate the masses to dissolve the social stigma surrounding feminism. I understand the traditional issues people have with feminism, and to be honest most of it is to do with incorrect media representation, plain ignorance, or misunderstanding.

 As Jonny summed it up so perfectly, apparently "real feminists believe in a slope to them". (They don't, as Merriam-Webster has demonstrated.) Lots of it also takes its form in the classic: "You know those damned feminists, burning their bras and not shaving their armpits, taking away all our rights!!!! Go and make me a sandwich, love"  (No, I will not make you a sandwich. There's an M&S next door. Go away.) That is another common misconception, stemming all the way back from the 60's. Feminists are people, and all people look different! You can indeed be a feminist and shave your armpits, and wear an underwired bra, or you can be a feminist and not wear a bra and let your hair grow. You can be a feminist and a man. You can be a feminist, be nude, and feel empowered by your body. You can be a feminist and cover yourself head to toe, and still feel empowered by your body! And, as the teachers checking uniform at my school can attest, you can be a feminist and wear a short skirt. 

But it takes time for stigmas so huge and stormy like the one surrounding feminism to fade. And sadly, Twitter on the day Love Island aired was a stark reminder of that. I try very hard to understand other people's opinions, and understand their perspectives on issues. I am always trying to expand my knowledge, and not become the dreaded "white feminist". (a feminist who excludes woc and other minorities like the lgbt+ community. basically an internet feminist only truly concerned with the needs of straight, cis, white women being promoted globally. No thx!) But I saw tweets that were nearing abusive, truly vile in intention and language, all directed towards women and feminists. It's sad to think that you're progressing as a society to a fairer environment, to see something like that. However, it was also a necessary reality check for me. It was all fine and good being a feminist in an environment where everybody is a feminist, but when faced with the "real world", it really made me reconsider my own feminism and how I can make it more applicable to the world I actually live in, and break out of my comfortable little liberal internet bubble, if you will. A 2016 Telegraph article found that only 7% of Brits described themselves a feminist, which is truly a tiny minority. I can continue to preach to my audience and friends, who are generally already feminists, about the benefits of feminism for the world as a whole, but what will change that way? (I recognise that a significant proportion of my blog readership identifies as a feminist and I LOVE AND VALUE YOU ALL!!!! I am using this post as a platform to voice my thoughts and vent.) I can even say that in such an anti-feminist feed I was scrolling through that day after Love Island, it made my own feminism recoil back just a little. It's intimidating to be shown such public resent over something you believe in, and it felt more difficult to be so sure in my beliefs as I had been previously. Whilst it's important to acknowledge that Twitter is not an accurate reflection of the population, and that many Tweets are often published with the intent to provoke, I used it for the purpose to take a general measure of the mood.

sorry this one got particularly squooshed by the printer :(

Anyways, here are some lessons I've learnt from the entire episode (pun unintended):

  • I would like to focus on making my own interpretation of feminism more applicable to the real world. Not settling for inequality, but approaching feminism differently.
  • I watch too much Love Island
  • The word "feminist" looks weird when you've typed it too much
  • I can somehow manage to write a blog post on Love Island (???) AND feminism (?????) life is strange 

I hope you've enjoyed this lengthy, muse-y post. I haven't posted for a loooooooooong time and I'm sorry, but the summer holidays are slowly inching towards me, and then I will be as FREE AS A BIRD. And I promise I didn't forget about my blog! I was just very busy!!!!!!! MUCH APOLOGY.

What are your views? Do you identify as a feminist? If not, why not? (I promise I won't push my opinions onto you... tell me your perspective plz :-) ) Do you watch Love Island? Who do you want to win? (Gabby and Marcel, just saying) Do you like your social politics mixing with your reality TV?

Tell me all!!

I'm listening to:

my monthly spotify playlist! I'm esme_madeline <3 (and fireflies by owl city ngl)

Esme xx

(P.S - My blog turns 5 this year! I'm thinking of some ways to celebrate xx)


  1. YOU'RE BACK and with possibly the best post I've read in a while. It's so refreshing to see someone on a reality show talk about an issue that probably wouldn't be discussed normally and I whole heartedly hope that Camilla can win the show on her own because she deserves it and hopefully (possibly) has been able to influence a few people with regards to becoming more educated about feminism. She has a huge social media following now so ya know that might be a really good thing because she can voice her views about subjects that other people may find taboo although that's probably me getting ahead of myself. Great post Esme and very insightful, you always know how to stay original and i love it! Can't wait to see what content is to come :) x

  2. Esme you should do a post on ethical fashion using the presentation you used!

  3. Amazing !! I love this and you this was quite possibly one of the best things I've ever read and I completely agree with it all, oh and happy birthday by the way (like I've said many times already today hahha) + can't believe your blog is gonna be 5 that's acc crazyyy a big celebration is in need ;)

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thanks for your comment! I will try to reply ASAP x