Like nearly a million other members of the UK TV viewing public, I’ve become slightly obsessed with an ITV2 reality TV series this Summer.
Love Island is a TV programme that was originally commissioned back in the mid noughties which featured a number of D List celebrities (I can’t call them Z Listers because that accolade seems to have taken a different turn in recent years; the TOWIE lot I’m looking at you!).
Fast forward 10 years (I know, I can’t believe it either) and ITV; in their infinite wisdom, have decided to resurrect the show in which a group of glamorous 20 and 30 something’s head to a sun kissed destination with the intention of finding everlasting love.
And if you believe that, you’ll believe anything.
The ultimate prize for these gorgeous fame seekers is money. And lots of it. My understanding of the game is that the ‘couple’ who reach the final of the show have to make a decision as to whether to choose love or money, if they both choose love I think they share the jackpot but if one chooses money then that individual walks off with the prize. At least that’s how I think it works. It doesn’t take a lot to confuse me.
It’s a mind fuck of a game as each ‘couple’ have the chance to recouple every week and can potentially hook up with another islander; if they’re up for it.
So, now I’ve set the scene, allow me to reach the pertinent part of this post.
Step forward Zara, a 20 year old contestant who, I believe, wears her heart firmly on her sleeve.
At first, I won’t lie, Zara’s insistence on name dropping her Miss Great Britain accolade DID MY HEAD IN. However, in time, I appreciated her for the person she was, young, naïve, insecure and in my opinion, desperate for love.
I believe she walked into this competition harbouring the assumption she wouldn’t have a problem being picked by her male contestants. Sadly for Zara, this hasn’t gone to plan.
Viewers have watched as Zara has poured her heart out to the camera and to her fellow contestants in recent weeks. She’s cried, she’s laughed at herself in a self-depreciating way I’ve come to appreciate and she’s questioned what she is doing wrong when it comes to attracting a potential suitor (for want of a better word).
Things took a turn this week when in walked James and Alex; their muscles as big as their egos. Zara knows she has to do all she can to ensure she snares one of these new contestants and I, probably along with many others, was a little shocked at the lengths she went to earlier this week.
We’ve seen plenty of bed action during the 3 weeks Love Island has been on our screens, we’ve seen as the contestants have talked openly about sex and the ins and the outs (literally), however, Zara has never really taken part in these discussions. Perhaps I’m wrong, but she seemed a little different to the rest of the contenders. The reasons behind this may become clear when I tell you that because Zara indulged in some copulation (she, we’re led to believe, had a good old fashioned shag with Alex), she has been unceremoniously dethroned. Miss GB is no more. The company behind Miss Great Britain have decided she should no longer be in possession of the title that has appeared to bring her a huge sense of pride.
Sorry, but have I woken up in 1952?
Let’s look at it from another angle. Say Alex was Mr GB, Mr Muscles or whatever the male alternative to Miss GB is, would he have his title stripped from him in this way? I can’t help but wonder if he wouldn’t be on the receiving end of the same fate as Zara.
We’re told that Miss GB is no longer a role model that can be promoted. Because she had sex.
I’m sure the bosses behind Miss GB knew Zara was going to enter Love Island, I don’t think they were naïve enough to not appreciate what goes on with a show like this.
To release a statement via Twitter which announces that they have not only withdrawn her Miss GB title but they’ve also handed it to someone else was, I believe, a cruel move.
Zara is 20 years old. OK, so at 20 I wasn’t having sex on national TV, but I wasn’t exactly the Virgin Mary in my early 20’s, let me tell you.
She’s not hurt anyone, aside from herself. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Zara the next day when she told her closest friend on the island how she got carried away and regretted the previous nights events. We’ve all been there, we’ve all gotten carried away, done something we shouldn’t with someone we probably shouldn’t (well I have) and woken up the next day with a headful of regrets. Zara is no different from this. She shouldn’t be punished. She’s not a criminal. Merely a young woman who happened to make a mistake (let’s all remember the aim of the game here too) on a post-watershed TV programme.
If the bosses at Miss GB were so disappointed in Zara and wanted to disassociate themselves from her, surely the decent thing to do would have been to wait until Zara had left Love Island and sat her down professionally to explain their reasons for the decision they’ve arrived at?
Writing and publishing some hurriedly put together statement mere hours after the ‘incident’ had taken place was unfair.
I hope Zara won’t be too hurt by the decision, but something tells me she will. We’ve got to know Zara as a sensitive young woman who appears to be very different from the rest of the female islanders.
But Zara, if you ever read this. I’ve been there, done that and I’ve worn the T-shirt (more than once). Don’t let this define you, just pick yourself up, dust yourself off and bollocks to anyone who judges you. Give it a few weeks/months this won’t even be on your radar, you won’t give it a second thought.
And to the bosses at Miss GB, welcome to 2016, we as women can sleep with who we want, when we want, be it on TV, in the comfort of our own bedrooms or on top of a mountain. Build a bridge and get over it.