The Sexist Language Olivia Is Using On Love Island Is Dangerous

Love island chris olivia
Olivia, Chris and baby Cash Hughes on Love Island (ITV)

So Cash Hughes is the new viral star of Love Island, Chris is everybody I’ve spoken to’s favourite islander and he and his partner Olivia haven’t argued for an entire day. You could say it’s all going swimmingly, with just days to go until the final potentially bags them fifty grand, but there’s one big problem that keeps rearings its ugly head: Olivia’s sexist language.

No, we’re not talking about her colourful use of swear words, we’re talking about the way she speaks to Chris. On more than one occasion she has told the 22-year-old, who she professes to be “besotted by”, to “man up” and even ordered him not to cry when she temporarily broke up with him for being “too nice” after he went to comfort Tyla after Jonny’s dumping.

During Wednesday night’s episode, the loved-up duos were given fake babies to look after in a challenge to see who would make the best parents. Chris and Olivia named theirs Cash (Cash Hughes…cashews…geddit?) and it quickly became clear that Chris would make one awesome dad, with him even going so far as to keep his ‘son’ in the shade in case he got burnt in the Majorcan sunshine.

But then all the lighthearted cuteness took a bit of a nasty turn, hidden within a funny moment. Chris started crying a bit because of his emotions for the baby, while simultaneously laughing at the ridiculousness of caring for a lump of plastic.

But then…

“You don’t want to set that kind of example, man up. It’s a boy and you want him to…Chris, pull it together.”

Want him to what, Olivia? Never show emotion? Maintain that stiff upper lip at all costs? Understand that society dictates that it is wrong for a man to show emotion, let alone cry? Really? Because that’s not what gender equality looks like, and all outdated stereotyping does is harm everyone.

 Counselling charity Signpost praised him for being a role model to men after he was seen crying after a row with Olivia earlier in the series.

Men’s mental health is a serious concern. Suicide is the biggest killer among UK males under the age of 45 and in 2015, 75 per cent of all UK suicides were male.

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Before joining Love Island, Chris opened up about his struggle with anxiety, recommending the cognitive hypnotherapist who treated him and encouraging others to seek help.

To hear Olivia angrily telling him to keep his feelings to himself and never reveal his emotional vulnerability is nothing short of dangerous behaviour that is so disappointing to watch on a show loved by millions of young people, both men and women.

Men, on the off chance there are any of you reading Shevolution (in which case, welcome), please don’t be afraid to cry: anyone with their head and heart firmly in 2017 knows that doing so is neither unattractive, unmanly or a sign of weakness.

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If you’re worried about a male friend or family member, call CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably), a charity dedicated to preventing male suicide, on 0800 58 58 58.

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