Although the winners must be a couple, Edaein O’ Connell discusses why the real winners of this year’s show are the girls.
My dream outcome of this year’s Love Island is for Maura and Curtis to win but then Maura to take the £50,000 for herself and buy all of Longford.
This may or may not happen but for once I don’t think a couple should win; it should be exclusively one of the girls (or Ovie). A lot has happened in eight weeks, and we have learned more about the intricacies of milennial relationships than we would from any psychologist.
We have learned that, unfortunately, people will be manipulative. Men will gaslight and blame you for their faults. Women will raise their voices and be called ‘crazy’ for doing so. Women won’t raise their voices but will still be called ‘crazy’ for doing so. Both women and men will disregard the feelings of others to selfishly fulfil their own needs. And women will be strong, steadfast and supportive to the females around them.
Here come the girls
For me, the real winners of this year’s Love Island have been the girls. From sticking the middle finger up to gaslighting and toxic masculinity to showing that no man will ever overthrow the power of female friendship, their dedication to female empowerment has been inspiring this season.
On last night’s episode, Jordan slithered like a snake and lit the island of Majorca with gas by telling Anna he began to have doubts about their relationship because she was being ‘negative’. This ‘negativity’ from Anna then made him realise his apparent feelings for fellow islander India. Basically, it was all Anna’s fault and had nothing to do with him thinking solely with his pants.
The moment Anna raised her voice in incredulousness at her new boyfriend already playing the field, she was called “crazy”. He called her reaction “rash”. He spoke over her while she tried to express her feelings. Holding pride over honour, he tried his very hardest to make it look like she was in the wrong.
Related: Love Island: Amy Hart should be praised for speaking about her mental health
This drama wouldn’t have started if it weren’t for that pesky professional ballroom dancer Curtis. With his twinkle toes and bad advice, he told Jordan to make the move and try his luck with India. When confronted by Maura, he told her he believed Jordan was brave to do what he did, as if he had just put his life on the line and gone into battle for his country.
Brave is running into a burning building to save someone; not trying to pull a girl you have known for a week when you already have a girlfriend.
Maura Higgins (the unofficial queen of Ireland) quickly put Curtis back into his box and chose to be loyal and stand by her friend’s side. If it wasn’t for Maura being honest, Anna would have been placed into a more precarious position. Maura chose her friendship over the boy she likes and I have never felt more empowered as a woman to see that.
When Anna and Jordan were subsequently voted off the island, there were tears. But none were for lost romantic love – all of them came from the girls for the relationships they formed. Anna believed she had found love because of those friendships and that is truly wonderful. Walking out of the villa without a man at your side is not a bad thing – it is a thing to be celebrated.
Over the years, a narrative was created by movies, TV shows and books which depicted women always taking the bad guy back. No matter what he did, or how manic his flaws were, ultimately the female heroine never had the will strong enough to say no. Love Island managed to break this wall with many of the girls putting themselves first.
Related: Love Island’s Maura gives a masterclass in how to deal with slut-shaming
Amber was at the wrath of Michael for weeks. Towards the end of his time, he tried once more to place her under his spell. She wobbled, but ultimately went with her head instead of her heart and chose lovely Limerick lad Greg. Likewise, when Maura was slut shamed by wet blanket Tom, she refused to let him have the upper hand and provided us with the highlight of the season in her scolding of him in the garden.
Then there was Amy, who, having been left brokenhearted by Curtis, chose herself and her well-being and since leaving the villa has blossomed.
Each of those girls have given a masterclass in what it means to be an independent and thoroughly modern woman. Maura talks about sex freely and openly which is a refreshing tonic. Even more invigorating is how not one of the girls has lambasted her for this freedom.
When a man does one of the girls wrong, they stick together and protect one another. Their interactions have been a fascinating look at the power and the importance of female friendships. And instead of the usual her vs her story we are subjected to, the Love Island girls have proven we are stronger when we stick together.
Like all friendships, they hit some bumps in the road but quicky forgave and forgot. Through the murkiness that is romance, they have shown solidarity in moments of confusion and friction. Their shared experience showed us that sometimes the greatest of soulmates don’t need to be romantic.
Whatever happens on Monday, the true winners are the girls. And out of heartbreak and heartache has come the joy of sticking together and sticking it to the man.
Now all that is left is for Maura to run off into the sunset with the £50,000 alone.
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