The Sunday Times: Give me a lantern jaw, huge pecs and a beard transplant, doctor — all in time for Love Island

Summer means Love Island, which means weeks of ogling fit people searching for love, fame and sex — and then arguing about them on social media. The reality show, which starts again on ITV2 tomorrow, also provides a fresh excuse to debate the politics of young women’s bodies.

Last year one contestant, Megan Barton-Hanson, was reported to have spent £25,000 on plastic surgery. Critics picked apart her pneumatic looks and worried what impact her sculpted curves might have on other young women.

This year Love Island’s producers suggested they would bring in people with more diverse bodies. Their attempt at inclusivity has met with derision. The actor Jameela Jamil tweeted that producers must be “drunk” if they thought one girl with hips, Anna Vakili, counted as plus-sized.

Despite Love Island’s equal mix of male and female contestants, women’s bodies still get the most attention. But this obsession overlooks a significant shift in how young men relate to their bodies — particularly those who watch Love Island’s lads tanning their six-packs.

The look men are after is changing. No one wants to be a well-groomed metrosexual any more; they want to emulate hunky alpha men.


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