Before last night, I was almost embarrassed to say how much I like ITV2’s dating reality show Love Island. For the uninitiated, Love Island involves flying 15 beautiful people with a lot of Instagram followers to a villa in Mallorca and forcing them to “couple up” with each other. If you’re not in a couple when there’s an eviction, you’re booted off the show and your chance of winning £50,000 falls off the edge of the infinity pool. It’s trash and I love it.
Among this year’s batch of bikini-models and personal trainers is Camilla, a bomb-disposal expert who has reportedly dated Prince Harry. From an early conversation Camilla had with the other girls about her job (“You must have travelled loads then. yeah?”), it was clear Camilla was not your typical Love Islander, and last night she brought up a subject never discussed on ITV2 before: feminism.
In what started off as an admittedly sweet conversation, Camilla’s partner Jonny was explaining how he wouldn’t let her pay for a meal on a night out. Camilla said she wouldn’t feel comfortable with that. And then it happened. Dopey Jonny began to morph into a “what about the men” lad before our very eyes. “I would feel emasculated,” he said, before the penny dropped: “You’re a feminist aren’t you?” he asked.
At this point I started bouncing up and down on the sofa with glee. Feminism! On Love Island! Sweet, sweet vindication for watching this show.
Camilla, quite rightly, then called it off with Jonny and went to have a good cry with her girl mates in the bedroom, while I turned to the Love Island Twitter hashtag. Here there were a handful of people as delighted as me, but many more wondering what the big deal is, with accusations of “overreaction” and “crybaby” coming from both men and women.
Oh please. This is a show where another contestant can have blazing row with her partner after he threw a pillow at her, and no one bats an eyelid. But Camilla, the BOMB DISPOSAL EXPERT, is deemed a “crybaby” because the guy she liked turned out to be a bit of a dick.
Jonny defended himself saying that he had a difference in opinion to Camilla and it was this that resonated with anti-feminism tweeters the most: “It’s like me asking who you voted for in the election and, if it weren’t the same as me, getting upset about me,” he said. But Jonny, feminism isn’t an opinion, because opinions, according to the very definition, are “not necessarily based on fact or knowledge”. And the facts are: just 32 per cent of MPs (they’re the people who make the laws) are women and on average, women earn 13.9 per cent less than men.
Camilla, as a woman who travels to war-torn countries for her job, will have seen some of the cruelty women can face firsthand. And, Jonny, if I were you I’d reconsider Camilla’s offer to pay half for dinner. You might just learn something.