Self care, skin care,
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Living life with good intention, loving with soul, and consuming with a conscience

Love Yourself, Not Love Island

Hang on, don't frantically search for any web address other than this one in horror at this title... I promise you it's not what it seems. Nope, I'm not going to write about how much I love Love Island. Quite the contrary (but I also promise I'm not shitting on it for all you outward and inward lovers of it, so hear me out). Love Island is popular. It's the show that I'm finding I'm "muting forever" on Twitter yet again this late spring/summer because it's just not my cup of tea, but I know many of you out there really love the show. The reason I can't get with the programme is because honestly? I know if I watched it I'd pull a Legally Blonde moment and be eating my weight in chocolate shouting "liar!" at the TV. Not at the show in particular, but more the beauty of every individual on the show.

Anyone I know who loves the show always say these same two things in this order when trying to tell me how much the show is worth a watch:
"Omg I love it - I don't even care!"
"Everyone on it is so fit and beautiful though so it makes you feel disgusting haha"

It's a show that works on the basis of beauty standards and it's worth reminding ourselves that it's not realistic and that "us mere mortals" shouldn't try to draw any comparisons from it. We're very much a gossip and drama consuming species as much as many of us would like to say otherwise, programmes like Love Island (and many others such as TOWIE, Made in Chelsea, the 'classic' soap operas, Big Brother etc.) help feed that hunger for many of us as it gives us a glimpse into others lives, emotions, the rollercoasters they go through and more with no consequence for us and no need for us to make difficult decisions.

The fact that everyone who's mentioned the show to me points out how beautiful the individuals are on it and instantly compare themselves to them is sad to hear each and every time. The people chosen to participate are chosen for their appearance and most of the time? Their appearance alone. That's not me shitting on any of those individuals at all, but it's worth remembering when you sit down to watch it that many of them are people who's jobs and lives revolve around image. Modelling, personal training, sales, social media... Many of the roles of the contestants either involve strict regimes for the body, hair, makeup, skincare etc. or at least include the pressures of making positive first impressions which let's be honest - your appearance can more than help with. Of course there's some contestants who work in completely unrelated roles so I'm not tarring all with the same brush, but many of them have pressures of looking a particular way that is not reflective of day to day life for the millions who tune in to watch the show.

With that in mind, it's *so important* to remember that Love Island focuses on beauty standards. In fact, the show focuses on one - the one that the beauty, fashion, even the food industries thrive on. We have one beauty standard that is widely accepted and so many businesses and brands push this ideal onto us as the only acceptable way to look, act, or be. Think about how many skincare items you buy because they promise X Y & Z that your skin doesn't do (I know I buy into it a lot). Then think about how many of those skincare items get sent out to your favourite celebrities and influencers to test out and promote yet those particular individuals already have the high skin standard that the brand are trying to promote as the result of their products. It's clever simple marketing at its finest and all of us collectively are suckers for it. That's not necessarily a bad thing, I as much as the next person like trying out new skincare for just this one small example, but we do consume *a lot* in the hopes that it will make us richer, thinner, prettier, etc. (sweeping generalisation, I know). This one beauty standard for all to meet is ridiculously unattainable but it's always parcelled up as completely feasible if you just work hard enough, spend more than enough of your money, and expect instant results. Seeing it perpetuated through entertainment on TV isn't groundbreaking nor new or different, but it is having somewhat of a desired effect, but don't ever let it lead you to putting yourself down.

One beauty standard fits all just doesn't logically work and oh, think how bloody boring the world would be if it did. Although many of us roll or eyes at this phrase, our imperfections are what make us beautiful. They make us unique, they make us desirable, they make us *us*. Not everyone should be a model who looks A+ in a bikini in the entertainment industry standards because that "A+" rating is subjective. One man's trash is another man's treasure and one person's beauty preferences and expectations are not another's cup of tea. Being happy and whole in your skin can be tough and many of us - including myself - find it to be a constant battle to feel remotely "okay" on a day-to-day basis, but you are loved, lusted over and most importantly, valued for being exactly who you are no matter you shape, size, colour, skin conditions, hair, lack of it, or anything else you can see or feel that makes you, you. Love Island might promote the contestants' worth based solely on their looks, but your worth in reality does not reflect that as you're not objectified, you have more to give and offer than that diluted entertainment focus, and your beauty in all realms of your life make you a unique and beautiful character both inside and out. Fight the good fight and ignore the one standard we have - fight it with acceptance but an educated mind. Enjoy it in consumerism, in media, in entertainment, but don't compare yourself to it. It's not realistic, you have more value, and any flaws you're led to believe that you have? They're the treasure in many other people's eyes, you just need to see them with fresh eyes.

I'm fully aware that many of you will love this show and be completely comfortable and happy within your own skin and that's exactly how things should be, but I do just wish that this show - due to it's popularity and therefore ability to affect a lot of the population - would include a wide variety of "beautiful" people. Have contestants who meet and advocate a variety of beauty standards: people of different cultural backgrounds, races, shapes, and sizes. As this show could have such an impact on viewers, it's a shame they don't utilise that to promote a healthy view of beauty of all varieties.

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