Love Island's Upped The Diversity But Ignored Inclusivity, So Where Does That Leave The Show?

More diverse doesn't equal inclusive.
The stars of 2023.
The stars of 2023.

Our favourite show that we hate to love is back: Love Island. Now in its 10th season, fans have been anticipating the start of the show since the end of the winter season earlier this year.

Love Island is more than a TV show, it brings the nation (especially the girlies and queer men) together.

For 8 consecutive weeks we watch sexy singletons compete to find the loves of their lives. However, it turns out that not all of us will be tuning in this year as the show’s viewership has dropped dramatically.

1.3 million viewers watched the first episode on Monday night - a million less than this time last year. In 2022 the first episode of the season saw 2.4 million tune in, four years ago a whopping 3.3 million tuned in.

And although it’s one of the nation’s favourite shows, it’s received its fair amount of critique. The behaviour of men on the island has been an ongoing issue.

Last year, Ofcom received some 3,000 complaints in one week alone about the male islanders – more than 2,481 of them about Luca on movie night and another 413 over the “alleged bullying and misogynistic behaviour” displayed by the wider set of boys the following night’s episode.

Then there’s the issue of diversity, we are still yet to see a gay or queer couple in the villa. Asian contestants are also often under-represented on the show.

And that’s not all. Since the arrival of Samira Mighty in season four, Black women have often been seen as props in the show – with Black female contestants having been continuously chosen last or not chosen at all by other male contestants.

So much so that during season five I wrote an article for Gal-Dem, explaining why I didn’t want to see any more Black women on Love Island. As years have gone by, the tide has started to change slowly. Last year’s contestants Indiyah and Dami were a crowd favourites, coming in third place.

This year it seems like things are really changing as the villa is the most diverse it’s been. First, we have Ruchee Gurung who told The Daily Mail that “There hasn’t been anyone that looks quite like me but also being from Nepal, it’s such a small country and usually if someone is on TV its Vietnamese, Filipino or Chinese but being from such a small country I am so happy and proud to represent.”

Then we have Catherine Agbaje a Black Irish contestant, bombshell Whitney Adebayo from London, semi-professional football player Tyrique Hyde and model Ella Thomas. The show hasn’t looked this diverse before and the fans are loving it.

Though the cast is diverse, this doesn’t mean it’s inclusive. For starters, most contestants are still able bodied, cis, and thin. Whilst we have more people of colour this doesn’t necessarily mean those contestants will be chosen by white contestants.

There’s still some more work to do but at least there seems to be some form of change. Will this make a difference? Let’s find out. Here’s to hopefully another good season.