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Why women are faking it Female Love Islanders justify Botox with the language of victimhood

Faye: faking it to make it on Love Island


July 27, 2021   7 mins

“You notice a bump in clientele as soon as Love Island starts to air,” observed Chris Hoo, a Belfast plastic surgeon. The ITV show, with its audience of 3 million, has catapulted a heavily surgically-enhanced aesthetic into the British mainstream. Demand for Botox, fillers (injected hyaluronic acid or lipids, generally into the lips) and cosmetic surgery in younger and younger women has surged since 2018, linked to viewership of Love Islandthe most-watched digital channel programme this year for people aged 16-34. In the three weeks since the present season began, requests for lip filler have risen by 37%.

“Many this year want a pout like Sharon,” says Hoo, meaning Sharon Gaffka, the former beauty queen turned Department for Transport administrator who — despite having prominent work done to lips, face and breasts — failed to form a romantic connection with any of the men and was booted out of the villa last week.

Her failure to attract represents a painful Love Island irony: the correlation between surgery and attractiveness to men — and especially the ability to generate strong feelings — is weak. The less obviously enhanced women, from surfer-girl Lucie Donlan to winner Amber Rose in winter 2019, to Millie and Lucinda in this season, more often stoke an unambiguous, instant lust (they’re “fire”), while the women with more exaggerated features often struggle. Season Five’s Anna Vikali’s £100,000 of plastic surgery didn’t stop her from being summarily dumped when a better option came in, while Shaugna Phillips’ (Season Six) boldly artificial-looking mouth, eyes and nose did not keep Callum Jones from trading her in for a thinner, younger blonde at Casa Amor.

So why do women bother getting work done? Partly, of course, because it’s a fashion, disseminated at warp speed since the arrival of Instagram through the lucrative, Kardashian-inspired world of ultra-filtered influencers. That fashion has capitalised on a uniquely contemporary mixture of deep insecurity, and the politicisation of that insecurity: a defiant pride in “doing what makes you happy” and therefore doing what it takes to “pass, to survive and to thrive” — even if that means capitulating to one of patriarchy’s most devious regimes.

The confused but angry politics of the new beauty burst to the surface in the first gripping set-piece of the current season of Love Island. The islanders were playing a game in which each person had to guess something about the person they were paired up with, to show how well they’d got to know them. The women’s cosmetic procedures were included in the game, with a frankness never seen before in the programme’s six-year history: one of the questions the men had to answer was what “work” their women had had done.

I’d have found such a question excruciatingly embarrassing, but then I belong to an outdated era in which one’s beauty is meant to look effortless — a fairly burdensome requirement in itself. By contrast, these women wrote with jolly loudness on their little blackboards what they’d all had done: all bar one (Kaz) had had something; a significant number had had Botox, filler and breast surgery. All of them were under the age of 27, and none of them seemed remotely coy about it.

A number of questions involved each party stating what they liked, or didn’t like, in a partner. Fan favourite Hugo, a 24-year old PE teacher with a club foot who has frequently been passed over for being “too nice”, used the word “fake” three times. He declared a strong dislike for “fakeness” or “anything fake” in women — personality and looks. It sounded like a fairly general word for a barrage of bad things in a society obsessed with authenticity, and no worse than what the other men claimed to revile, including women with visible arm hair. But after Hugo’s second invocation of “fake”, the heavily enhanced Faye growled: “that word keeps getting thrown around, doesn’t it?”

On the third time, Sharon and Faye exploded, calling Hugo “ignorant” and demanding he “get fucking educated” about why “girls get work done”. Hugo, oblivious, then burst into tears at the extreme consequences of his word choice, to which Faye responded, “I don’t give a fuck if he’s upset, he can fuck off”.

It was clear now that “fake” had been taken as a slur word on a par with open racism — a comparison later made by a furious, filler-lipped Sharon, to the consternation of fans. Twitter duly exploded with “fake gate”, with former islanders — women who’d had work done — weighing in. Amber Rose agreed that the word had seemed pointed, while Laura Anderson, of Series Four, claimed that the women had “gone too far” in their reaction.

Faye explained her strong retort in telling terms:

“For me the word fake doesn’t go well. My mum and dad watched me cry every day from the age of 13 to 18 because I was underdeveloped, then they bought me a boob job for my 18th birthday because I was having such a tough time.”

Getting work done was a reaction to body insecurity — a helpless, only-human female response to patriarchy. Sharon had also taken offence because “fake” insulted women who were driven to do it: “you don’t know the reasons why we’ve had stuff done and I think that’s really unfair”.  That she — that all the women on Love Island — had embraced and then benefitted hugely from the system she’s criticising was not acknowledged.

Fake-gate highlighted a new kind of feminist, then: a woman who sees her obsession with her own looks as both something justifiable and a sign of patriarchy-created vulnerability. This type of feminism has crystallised since social media allowed people, especially women, to get rich and famous from home-made self-portraits and videos — the more suggestive and exaggerated the better. The “fake” look condemned by Hugo is more likely to be seen on working-class women (the Love Island fan base is not generally middle class), but influencers’ use of some form of sexiness crosses class. This sexualised route to stardom doesn’t feel particularly feminist to someone schooled in, say, Women’s Liberation — but then, it can certainly be lucrative.

And she may even recognise, like the women of Love Island, that she’s playing a game with rules set by patriarchy. Sissy Sheridan, a teen TikTok star with 5.3m followers — whose videos mainly show her pouting and lip-syncing in bikinis — believes her medium “is the most misogynistic platform ever,” replete with “slut-shaming and cyberbullying” of female stars. She condemns these slut-shamers as “haters,” proclaims to be a “feminist,” and continues to dance near-naked for her fans and rack up followers: one more example of how blurred the lines between feminism and sexualised self-selling have become.

Love Island’s fake-gate is another example, of course. But the row caught fire because the manipulation of our bodies has never been as explosive a political issue as in this era of trans rights and body positivity. In some circles, “natural” — one of the buzzwords of the body positivity movement — has become as political as “fake”. Right-on beauty observers like Sesali Bowen see the celebration of the “natural” as a judgement of those who manipulate their bodies because they are “marginalised”: trans people getting surgery to suit their true gender identities, say, or those hoping to escape pressures intensified by racism, ableism and lookism. Bowen also argues that plastic surgery is a democratising force that wrests “pretty privilege” from the hands of the few.

Perhaps she’s right. But the downsides of excessive bodily manipulation are painfully obvious. As well as signalling a moveable feast of insecurity and the tyranny of constant self-monitoring, fake-gate has highlighted how easily women can plunge from the envied and powerful into the pitied and reviled. This is part of a long-term female conundrum: how do we change our bodies enough to be beautiful but not too much to cloud our sexual allure? As Ben Jonson put it in a 1609 song, “Still to be neat, still to be dressed”, women should aim for a look of “sweet neglect”, which required being “powdered, still perfumed” — but subtly. Women who use too many additives are suspected of falseness (fakeness’s ancestor) and trickery. Robert Herrick, the 17th century poet, railed at those who were: “False in legs, and false in thighs; / False in breast, teeth, hair and eyes”.

The potential for pitiable grotesquerie has always been waiting in the wings for women grasping too hungrily at perfect figures, faces and eternal youth. Today, we are inundated with stories of plastic surgery gone wrong; of monstrous transformations in which the attempt at beauty radically backfires. Testimonies by remorseful surgery addicts make eye-watering reading. Heidi Montag, an American reality star, has admitted to procedures all itemised in print: mini brow lift, forehead botox, nose job “revision”, fat injections in her cheeks, chin reduction, neck liposuction, pinned back ears, second breast job, liposuction on hips, waist and inner thighs, and buttock augmentation. “People have fewer scars from car accidents than I have on my body,” she observed.

Like Montag, the women of Love Island — and their millions of fans and followers — are caught up in a stressful, physically damaging game in which the potential payoff of fame is pitted against the brutal facts of time, human flesh, and fashion. And what are they playing for? The islanders throw everything into their appearance but seem flummoxed about how to actually talk to each other. In the end, the contestants find, no amount of paid-for, hard-won bodily perfection can fill the gap left by really “getting to know” someone — and liking them. When everyone has bodies on the tight spectrum of contemporary perfection, the ability to attract comes down to other things — in Love Island parlance, having “a bit about” you.

And the fashion may soon be turning sharply against enhancements — or “tweakments,” as they’ve called them this season. Ex-contestant Anna Vikali has just announced she is reversing her £100,000 of work, starting with a breast reduction, and Molly Mae Teague, runner up of winter 2019, has turned anti-“tweakment” after failing to recognise her own reflection in the mirror.

Still, the demand for surgical enhancement is continuing to rise, and the danger is that fakeness — understood in the surgical sense — becomes more seamlessly integrated into standard aesthetics, perhaps even morphing into the “natural”. After all, tweakments are now presented by their “feminist” purchasers as an only natural response to marginality, suffering and patriarchy. Like Faye and Sharon, they’ve cracked under the pressure to look a certain way, and surgery was their answer.

But forcing this unfortunate chain of events into a vocabulary of politicised victimhood conceals the seriousness of the motive, which is an obsessive focus on the body as the font of all worth. Recognising this helps us to see Botox, fillers, butt-lifts and boob jobs for what they really are — extreme, often counterproductive measures to fight time and nature — rather than acts of female bravura. They are short-term solutions, not only for individual women, but for women generally — who’d be much better off if the whole sexist system were dismantled, rather than propped up “fake” feminism.


Zoe Strimpel is a historian of gender and intimacy in modern Britain and a columnist for the Sunday Telegraph. Her latest book is Seeking Love in Modern Britain: Gender, Dating and the Rise of ‘the Single’ (Bloomsbury)
realzoestrimpel

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Katharine Eyre
KE
Katharine Eyre
2 years ago

Reading this, it seems like some women are still struggling with one of the central concepts of female empowerment which is to take responsibility for yourself and your own choices. If you’re unhappy with the way you look and get work in order to look the way you want, this is YOUR choice. If it doesn’t make you happy, this is not the fault of the patriarchy – this is about YOU not having enough self-confidence, or failing to address some deeper problem, or failing to face up to the consequences of your own duff choices. Blaming the patriarchy is just lazy and is a cowardly way of avoiding doing the really tough work on yourself.
If people are mean on social media, get the h**l off it and start leading a life in the real world. Stop thinking and acting like victims! Once again, I feel like I’m letting the side down for writing all of this, but it is so often the case that I look at fellow females and think: you just don’t help yourselves.
Rant over.

Last edited 2 years ago by Katharine Eyre
Jill Corel
JC
Jill Corel
2 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Well said Katharine!

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
2 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

And an extra comment because I’ve got myself going now and I’m not done yet: in discussions with friends about feminism (or something masquerading as such), I frequently feel like I am being invited, even demanded to wallow in oppression…oppression which, a lot of the time, I think is a figment of the imagination. A smokescreen to protect a certain female from the realisation that she’s just failed, or isn’t happy, or wasn’t good enough for reasons other than her sex. Woe betide you if you actually verbalise this though. You, fellow woman, must also remain in the pit of victimhood as a kind of solidarity! Well, no, I won’t. If other ladies wish to cement themselves into a victim’s mindset forever, then fine. As free women, you may think as you please! But don’t try and criticise others if they move on from that.
Right, I really think I’m done now 🙂

Sue Julians
Sue Julians
2 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Well said on both counts!

Last edited 2 years ago by Sue Julians
Ian Barton
Ian Barton
2 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Thank you for saying what neither men nor women are allowed to say.

Nile Kingston
Nile Kingston
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

I agree with you on your comment with Katharine. 100%.

David Morley
David Morley
2 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

 A smokescreen to protect a certain female from the realisation that she’s just failed, or isn’t happy, or wasn’t good enough for reasons other than her sex.

and let’s be honest, we are all tempted to do this when faced with our own failings and shortcomings. But it used to be seen as a sign of maturity to do what you could to improve and come to terms with the rest. Pop feminism seems to have given women a less challenging alternative.

Ron Bo
Ron Bo
2 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

To put it another way, People need to get over themselves and grow up.
It’s all about narcissism.Im sure they are not having this conversation in Kandahar or Baghdad.

Claire D
Claire D
2 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Both comments – magnificent – thank you Katherine.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

It’s the exact counterpart of unsuccessful black people dismissing successful black people as Uncle Toms should the latter ever tactlessly observe that supposed endemic racism has not in fact held them back.

Michael Cavanaugh
Michael Cavanaugh
2 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Where are Simone & Jean-Paul now that we really need them?

Sue Ward
SW
Sue Ward
2 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I could not agree more!

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

So men by and large say they’re not fans of women who have had cosmetic surgery, but somehow it’s men’s fault that women feel pressured into getting cosmetic surgery?

Wilfred Davis
WD
Wilfred Davis
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Them’s the rules.

Hersch Schneider
Hersch Schneider
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

It’s all our fault, Billy Bob.
*Provided you’re white, and straight.

Michael Cavanaugh
Michael Cavanaugh
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Would we be having this conversation on an Amazon planet? Yes, it that planet also had an extreme youth culture. Then women who were beautiful when young would dread the inevitable downhill, while those born plain would spend their lives attempting the impossible high jump. (All this, without either men or patriarchy. But perhaps not without any sense of victimhood — which can always identify some victimizer or other, maybe just the gods; or fate; or karma?)

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
2 years ago

It seems odd to me. I think appearance is less important to men than women believe. Of course, men are interested in glamorous curvy women but only really as pin up pictures. I suspect most men are so pleased to find a woman keen to go to bed with them that their “standards” are lowered pretty easily.

More so for partners, appearance is hardly irrelevant but someone who is fun, trustworthy and keen on you is super attractive.

The women on these shows are interested in those handful of men who can pick and choose. The men are likely to be handsome but, more importantly, rich and powerful. Over obsession with appearance to the extent of self mutilation is a burden that some women put on themselves because they believe it will allow them access to a life of material comfort.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago

I think appearance is less important to men than women believe…most men are so pleased to find a woman keen to go to bed with them that their “standards” are lowered pretty easily

As the old saw has it: you don’t look at the mantelpiece when you’re poking the fire.

Allie McBeth
Allie McBeth
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

As a woman, all I can say is it’s other women who judge you!

Michael Cavanaugh
Michael Cavanaugh
2 years ago
Reply to  Allie McBeth

A cynic might add, women dress either for other women, or for gay men in the fashion trade. But who’s cynical enough to think that?

Ana Cronin
Ana Cronin
2 years ago

Maybe you can settle something for me you say you ‘ think appearance is less important to men than women believe.’ From the time I was 13 or 14 I have always been told I am good looking. My boyfriends, mainly 3 long term relationships, all said it was my looks that propelled them to ask me out, ironically my husband does not say that! I would get attention on the street, in bars etc but I can count on one hand the number of times I was chatted up or asked to dance in a club. The girls/women who had the short dress/skirts, fake tan, big hair ( to be fair I had big hair, curly!) the nails (no patience for that) and lots of make up (pre prevalent cosmetic surgery days), they never left the dance floor! pounced on often from the minute they came in the door (by the way I was skinny and involved in athletics. I was certainly shy but did not really have body issues).
Therefore when you say men are not that interested in appearance I don’t think that is accurate? (not a criticism because yes women are interested in appearance deny it as they might!) Men observe women all the time I was often looked/stared at in the street by guys who were with their girlfriends. I think it may be more to do with women overestimating what a bit of male attention means? I certainly remember as a girl, my friend and I, overanalysing the meaning of boys words or actions and latter finding out he/they neither remebered what they said or did and didn’t ‘care’ anyway!!
Any thoughts? just curious, ahh the endlessly fascinating nature of the relationships of women and men.

Last edited 2 years ago by Ana Cronin
Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Ana Cronin

I think in the situation you described, the girls in short skirts and fully dolled up would seem an easier target as it were, men believing they’re more likely to get lucky with one who looks a bit of a slapper.
Let’s be honest men were no different, there’d be some that would be on the dance floor trying to chat up anything that moves while most were just stood at the back with their mates getting drunk. If you were stood at the bar with a group of friends it takes a brave man to burst into the middle of you all and attempt a cheesy chat up line, more courage than most of us actually have

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
2 years ago

Some really good parts to this article – especially the links with body dysmorphia and into the whole gender dysmorphia issues.
But…
The author is in complete denial about the origins of this issue. It is, by and large, a problem for women created by women and perpetuated by women.
The Hugo example above is a clear case in point. We (as men) are constantly told by the author and others that it is the ‘patriarchy’ that has created this situation and yet if that were so, why whenever a guy dares to profess a preference (even if it is for natural femininity) they are shut down and criticised?
As men we are relentlessly told that women do it for themselves and not for men. What does the author think is happening here? That men secretly want it all like this and are all collectively engaged in some secretive species-wide double bluff?!
Now most guys will just shrug it off, and I would wager that the silent majority of guys don’t bother voicing their opinions on the matter.
It’s bloody rich that the more vocal part of society still blames them for something that they have nothing to do with whatsoever. Men do not read the magazines, and don’t particularly take part in the beauty industry.
But far more importantly this industry and mindset will continue to thrive and ruin people’s lives until those fighting against it work out the real causes. At the moment you’re fighting a boogeyman that doesn’t exist.

Last edited 2 years ago by A Spetzari
David Morley
David Morley
2 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

I think there’s something of a symbiotic relationship here between shallow, status and money seeking men, and shallow status and money seeking women. If you don’t really belong to that group, you tend to just avoid. And it’s most definitely not what most men want in a long term partner.

Michael Cavanaugh
Michael Cavanaugh
2 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

There is always a supply of rich men who can leverage trophy wives, and also a set of gold-diggers eager to meet the demand. To observe this is not incompatible with the observation that there is someone out there for (almost) everyone — plain people included — and that “never settle” is not really an operative rule for most. (Though it has also been suggested that porn-on-demand may make it harder for some lower-status guys to resign themselves to settling — such that the “in-” in “incel” may be a bit misleading.)

Ron Bo
Ron Bo
2 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

Hugo’s response was pathetic.He should have replied that he had seen better cut and shut jobs in the average car scrap yard.
He’s not too nice he is weak.

Hersch Schneider
Hersch Schneider
2 years ago

Yep, didn’t take long eh? Vacuous, self-obsessed no-mark young women now realising that they can use the catch-all excuse of ‘Patriarchy’ to justify their vile narcissism, and jump on the victimhood bandwagon

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago

This stuff is the female equivalent of bodybuilding. Women are not attracted, by and large, to overdeveloped blokes who’ve stuffed themselves full of chemicals. In the same way, men aren’t attracted to women because of their shoes, hair, nails or surgical mutilations.
All of this – bodybuilding and botox – are undertaken for and aimed at others of the same sex. The steroid junkie with the 22″ arms and the Barbie doll whose entire income goes on her appearance both aim to make rivals back off, leaving the field, and the opposite alpha, for themselves.
It doesn’t work because one person’s alpha is another’s delta minus. But men do not abuse steroids because women expect it, and women do not undergo elective surgery because men expect it. They do this because they feel entitled to a bit of hypergamy and because they think it impresses others of their own sex.
Women have fish lips because other women.

Last edited 2 years ago by Jon Redman
Graham Thorpe
Graham Thorpe
2 years ago

Baffling. The whole botox thing (and most of the discussion on here) is predicated on the idea that artificially bloated lips etc are a beauty enhancement. I am sure that in reality (not TV “reality”) most men find the results super-unattractive .. revolting, even. As good an example of the Emperor’s Clothes as you will find.

Claire D
Claire D
2 years ago

Seems to me there’s a lot of rationalisation here about something quite straightforward : vanity + capitalism (the commodification of the human body) = pain and disappointment, if not tragedy.
The only solution I think is to protect (your) children, especially girls, as much as possible, from being vain about their appearance.
Adam Bede by George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans) is a great book on this subject.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
2 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

Yes I think you’re onto something. Vanity (that is obsessive care about ones appearance, to clarify what I mean) is no longer as stigmatised.
It’s as though many brainwash themselves and others into believing that it’s all about ’empowerment’ and bettering themselves when it’s just old fashioned vanity. The companies are just trying to sell you a product and pedal away at this idea. You only have to see any beauty advert to see this.

David Morley
David Morley
2 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

>brainwash themselves and others into believing that it’s all about ’empowerment’ and bettering themselves when it’s just old fashioned vanity.
Spot on. It’s a kind of pop feminism based on female entitlement.

Jonathan Ellman
Jonathan Ellman
2 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

Marvellous, I’m on page 85 and enjoying it very much.

Allie McBeth
Allie McBeth
2 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

The Picture of Dorian Gray too maybe

Peter LR
Peter LR
2 years ago

Reading this brief history of the preoccupation of women with beauty and its causes, I presume that once the patriarchy has been overthrown the beauty industry will go bust!

Jonathan Ellman
Jonathan Ellman
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter LR

the ‘sexist’ beauty industry, if you please.

J Bryant
J Bryant
2 years ago

The real problem with ‘tweakments’ is they don’t age.
Years ago I spent time in Florida where there are many rich, elderly people. A fair percentage of the women obviously had lip jobs, among other things, at some point in their lives. Flesh withers and skin sags when we age, but not lips augmented with filler. Nope, those babies stand plump and proud like two slices of melon on wrinkled parchment.

David Morley
David Morley
2 years ago

>Fake-gate highlighted a new kind of feminist, then: a woman who sees her obsession with her own looks as both something justifiable and a sign of patriarchy-created vulnerability.
I’m honestly not sure this has much to do with patriarchy. Firstly the world of female influencers is a pretty closed one based on female on female competition. Secondly, this seems to be part of a kind of pop feminism which is entirely based on female entitlement. In this case the right of a woman to be beautiful. Add that to the right to equal pay regardless, free dinners, tons of shopping, the perfect romantic wedding, followed by the perfect marriage etc. And woe betide anyone who fails to deliver, or offers criticism.
In contrast to the original feminism, this is all about female wants and needs turned up to full volume and seen as a right. And it’s pretty awful

Tom Krehbiel
Tom Krehbiel
2 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

Yes, and in all honesty I’m not sure there is any patriarchy. There definitely was one in the Classical world: fathers literally had the power of life-or-death over their own children in both Greece and Rome, and probably elsewhere. It’s hard to see any equivalence between that world and our own. Both women and childless men have the same rights as do fathers, and together the first two groups outnumber the last by a considerable margin. Indeed, women by themselves outnumber men, and in a system based on free elections, that numerical strength means everything. Feminists may have to ultimately face a fact they hate to admit: that a great many women just don’t agree with them. There is simply no other explanation that I can see which makes sense.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago

Let’s not conflate women looking after themselves and presenting themselves well (which might include some subtle enhancements – their choice), with ‘excessive bodily manipulation’. The latter seems linked to young reality stars and media personalities – people you see on The Daily Mail or on American TV channels – who all look the same and seem very unattractive to me.
I have found women mainly dress for other women, who can be more critical, but then my career was aligned to fashion. On meeting, men seem definitely to react more positively to attractive women with good bodies, but other factors start coming into play later. And women certainly are attracted to good looking men – who often look after themselves.
I was going to opine on how feminism links into this, but I think I will just pour myself a glass of wine instead.

David Morley
David Morley
2 years ago

Agree. I think most of us feel that there is a line that has been crossed, but we shouldn’t become completely puritanical. A lot of earlier feminists were, and it didn’t endear them to most women. There’s nothing wrong with keeping in shape and making some effort, and men do this now just as much as women. But expensive plastic surgery and a life focussed wholly on appearance and image – especially when envy rather than happiness is the result – is surely a step too far.

Sue Ward
Sue Ward
2 years ago

That woman at the top of the article isn’t actually that pretty if you look properly and give her more than a cursory glance. Funny sort of aesthetic if that’s what love island defines as beauty. Or is it just me?

David Morley
David Morley
2 years ago
Reply to  Sue Ward

That woman at the top of the article isn’t actually that pretty 

No – but she looks like she maybe used to be.

Jon Redman
HJ
Jon Redman
2 years ago
Reply to  Sue Ward

It isn’t just you. She wants, I think, to look exactly like everyone else but more so. If I am right this would explain the ubiquity of tattoos among this demographic. They want them because others have them but to score points they want more tattoos than others.

David Morley
David Morley
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

For the same reason I don’t think we should be surprised if they make no secret of having had work done. Plastic surgery is expensive and thus confers status. Once acceptable as such, the more expensive the better.

Unsurprisingly the guy who referred to it as “fake” caused annoyance because he introduced a set of values which undermined their own.

Chris Eaton
Chris Eaton
2 years ago

I think that the one major issue this article overlooks and that the women who have had all these procedures overlook is that it is the mind that that is the greatest attractor. Most, if not all, of the women I’ve met in my life (including the one I married and am still married to 32 years later) have ‘it’, and ‘it’ is not a physical characteristic. If you have a woman like that, you know what I mean. If you don’t, I feel sorry for you.

Terry Needham
Terry Needham
2 years ago

Catherine Tate destroyed the allure of cosmetic surgery for me.
“George, we’re losing your eyeline”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aApaKHtwlM

Last edited 2 years ago by Terry Needham
David Morley
David Morley
2 years ago

Depressingly, if you’d taken the worst kind of crusty old r-actionary from a hundred years ago and asked him what the world (and women) would be like if you gave women more power, more money, more freedom and less social restraint, he probably wouldn’t have been too far off the mark. A world obsessed with vanity, clothes, fashion, appearance, self and shopping, and characterised by b-tchiness and envy. He would have assumed that with restraint removed, vices not virtues would come to the fore.
At any rate, he would have been closer to the truth than his more idealistic peers.
(important to remember, though, that not everyone, male or female, is like the godawful clones on love island).

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
2 years ago

“And she may even recognise, like the women of Love Island, that she’s playing a game with rules set by patriarchy.”
Sorry, I didn’t get the memo. What are the rules? And who set them?
Or are they just an excuse for women to do what they want and then claim that they had no choice?

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
2 years ago

Boys of my generation enjoyed watching TV shows involving Thunderbirds puppets.
There seem to too many women who don’t seem to realise that they are engineering their appearance to resemble one of these puppets – which is utterly unattractive to adult men.

Last edited 2 years ago by Ian Barton
David Morley
David Morley
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Hang on – what about Marina?

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

One of the Aquaphibians it would appear:comment image/revision/latest?cb=20150109023434

Nick Baile
Nick Baile
2 years ago

Again we have the lazy fallback on the ‘Patriarchy’. Why put in the intellectual groundwork and identify the true culprits when we can simply blame the ‘Patriarchy’? Job done.
I was brought up by a narcissistic bully of a mother who ruthlessly (but oh so sweetly) suppressed any and all dissent from both me and my father. She was the household Stalin. She left me with a lifelong problem with intimate relationships with women: friendship I can handle, but am very uncomfortable with anything closer and, before I had spent years figuring out what she had done, I reacted to all women as authority figures, never to be gainsaid.
I revile my mother and have every reason to play the victim card. But I don’t. I don’t hold all women responsible for what she did and I have not spent my life whining about the ‘Matriarchy’.
Could I ask that we attempt to consider two things:

  1. We know that it’s teenage girls who are most at risk from self-harming and even suicide. Who from? From their own peer group on social media. Men and boys indulge in physical bullying but women’s speciality is reputational assassination. Certainly the idealised sexual demands of some men cannot be discounted, but I would suggest that discounting the malign effect of other women on the obsessional behaviour described in this article is a big, fat lie.
  2. Finally you might like to ask yourselves the following: When the statistics tell us that 70% of domestic abuse is perpetrated by men, who are the remaining 30%…? And why do we never talk about them?

There is way, way too much dishonesty in discussions about ‘gendered’ abuse.

Last edited 2 years ago by Nick Baile
Barbara Williams
Barbara Williams
2 years ago

Women spend so much time and effort on appearance, and discussing matters around this topic i.e. fashion and the appearance of celebrities. This is an indication of how sick our society has become. Our priorities are so sad nowadays, we spend so much effort on frivolous matters which will only serve to make the likelihood of our extinction ever more imminent. When will our priorities switch to the unfolding climate and ecological collapse? When will such inconsequential matters get overtaken by some genuine purpose to protect our planet?
I am very grateful to live in world where women have a voice. In my environmental activism I work very closely with the Scientist Warning Europe, the directors of which are all men. They have always been very open to hear my opinions. There are undeniably fundamental differences between the sexes, the nurturing and emotional characteristics are often stronger in women, where as the urge to protect and defend and fight is more pronounced in men. What I find is so sad is that women have tried to emulate men in order to succeed, whilst still deploying the ‘physical attraction’ techniques. Many business women seem to try to be even more ‘tough’ than the men in the work place. This may go some way to explain why our modern society is headed on such a destructive path with respect to Nature. We need the emotional maturity to stop competing amongst ourselves, and instead to work towards a United Aspiration. It will require humility all round.

Last edited 2 years ago by Barbara Williams
David Morley
David Morley
2 years ago

> “fake” feminism.
or perhaps (and I’m being devils advocate here) feminism if you run it for real, in the real world with real women. When utopian impulses meet reality the results tend not to be what the utopians expected. What did you expect, a desire for hard work, plain living and responsibility?

Yousef Syed
YS
Yousef Syed
2 years ago

For some reason, I was immediately reminded of this Chris Rock clip from way back in 1996! The Visual Lie.
I don’t get the superficial, low-self-esteem, lack of self-confidence, that drives the idea that the best way to improve one’s life, is to spend thousands on make-up and cosmetic-surgery?!
What are the upbringing failures of their parents and school education that starts this? Whom have they chosen as their role-models? What useless and shallow “friends” have they surrounded themselves with? Why do they choose to consume such trash media/values?
I don’t get it.

Douglas McNeish
Douglas McNeish
2 years ago

We live in the Era of the Victim and it incumbent upon all of us to identify and develop our victimhood in an effort to avoid being accused of causing the suffering of another. This is the sine qua non of survival in our time.

Marcus Scott
MS
Marcus Scott
2 years ago

I write to you from a position of authority as a member of the Board of Directors of the Patriarchy (UK). It has not been a great last hundred years for our organisation and many of the members are dissatisfied with our performance. I often hear, “Marcus, the problem with the Patriarchy is that it might well be working at a societal level e.g. stopping women from being Prime Minister but it is not working for me at a micro level. My wife is frequently disobedient and refuses to bear me a ninth child. What do I pay my annual membership for?”
Be patient brother.
In the very near future the Patriarchy will be starting a programme which will see us back in the ascendency. The details need to be finalised but the strategy is as follows. Young women will be offered the opportunity to buy the body they desire. The Patriarchy will fund up to £50k in cosmetic procedures, per person, for procedures of the woman’s choosing.
We ask only one thing in return. The women who take advantage of our generous programme must agree to never vote again. We need only get around 10% of the female population in the UK to agree to this and the pendulum will swing far enough that us men can take back control by, for example, only issuing drivers licenses
Love Island is but one step, an important step, in our plan. It is to feminism what the iceberg was to the Titanic.

Last edited 2 years ago by Marcus Scott
Dan Gleeballs
DG
Dan Gleeballs
2 years ago
Reply to  Marcus Scott

Deleted

Last edited 2 years ago by Dan Gleeballs
David Morley
David Morley
2 years ago

Depressingly, if you’d taken the worst kind of crusty old reactionary from a hundred years ago and asked him what the world (and women) would be like if you gave women more power, more money, more freedom and less social restraint, he probably wouldn’t have been too far off the mark. A world obsessed with vanity, clothes, fashion, appearance, self and shopping, and characterised by b-tchiness and envy. He would have assumed that with restraint removed, vices not virtues would come to the fore.
At any rate, he would have been closer to the truth than his more idealistic peers.
(important to remember, though, that not everyone, male or female, is like the g-dawful clones on love island).

Last edited 2 years ago by David Morley
Deborah B
Deborah B
2 years ago

Anybody who has watched Botched already knows about the psychological and emotional issues surrounding surgical enhancement. It’s laid bare ( no pun intended) for all to see.
Does anybody remember when people all looked strange and individual and poorly groomed (my childhood)? Bring back those days of terrible glasses, awful hairstyles, appalling dress sense and let’s embrace our individuality. Sadly, by writing this article I think the author has over thought this issue. Life experience, mistakes and all, are what this is about. In time, when the pouts fade and the silicon leaks the girls can reflect on their enhancements and decide if it was worth it. Let them get on with it without turning it into an ‘issue’ to be discussed.

Allie McBeth
AM
Allie McBeth
2 years ago

For me, the child of 13 who cried “because she was underdeveloped” was me – and, I suspect, many other girls. It’s often only when one has babies the boobs appear! My father was horrified to find an cutout newspaper advert of mine at 14 promising a “miracle cure” for flat-chestedness – and rightly threw it in the bin! Those parents who interfere with £££s to indulge a spoilt child are projecting their own insecurities, and have not really helped their daughter to grow, strangely.

Christopher Barclay
CB
Christopher Barclay
2 years ago

Faye explained her strong retort in telling terms:
“… My mum and dad watched me cry every day from the age of 13 to 18 because I was underdeveloped, then they bought me a b**b job for my 18th birthday …”
And the result of having a b**b job? Now she makes someone else cry. I guess for some people that’s progress, even if the surgery has clearly failed in its main purpose – to relieve Faye’s sense of insecurity.

Paul Grimaldi
Paul Grimaldi
2 years ago

One issue here is that the words ‘men’ and ‘women’ are used rather as if each were a homogenous group. It seems rather that the current breed of young Love Island, ‘influencer’ types are a particular subset; not overly intelligent and whose looks may be their only asset and the only thing they value in the opposite sex.
Studies show that good looking men are frequently promoted beyond their abilities and if they are a little shallow anyway, a trophy partner may be ideal. So basically this is just a small group of men and women who are well suited to each other. Whats the problem?

Tom Watson
Tom Watson
2 years ago

“They are short-term solutions, not only for individual women, but for women generally — who’d be much better off if the whole sexist system were dismantled, rather than propped up “fake” feminism.”
If your go-to example is a 24-year old man saying he doesn’t like women who look like they’ve ‘capitulat[ed] to one of patriarchy’s most devious regimes’ being reduced to tears when the women to whom he voiced that opinion circle the wagons in defence of the sisterhood’s right to so capitulate, I’m not sure ‘the sexist system of patriarchy’ is the villain here in any meaningful sense. Or at least ‘patriarchy’ isn’t a useful term – I’m not sure men in aggregate can be said to benefit in any meaningful way from some women subjecting themselves to significant surgical procedures in the Keynesian-beauty-contest pursuit of what other women tend to think men tend to find attractive. I suppose “but that isn’t real feminism” is one solution, but it’s a bit lazy in the face of so significant a trend.
This seemed unspeakably sad, and also a stress test of the article’s message – “My mum and dad watched me cry every day from the age of 13 to 18 because I was underdeveloped, then they bought me a b**b job for my 18th birthday because I was having such a tough time.” Is that a problem of too little feminism? Charitably, at most you could say ‘yes and no.’ One wonders what on earth that father was doing for those 5 years – was the problem there really that there was too much patriarchy?

Last edited 2 years ago by Tom Watson
Nancy Washton
Nancy Washton
2 years ago

I’m in my 50’s and have had botox, fillers (cheeks) and intensive laser resurfacing (fractional CO2) in an attempt to mitigate ageism. I am a PhD professional, but once you’re seen as “past prime” the opportunities begin to dry up. This worries me enough that I am willing to undergo surgery to stave off the inevitable – that of becoming invisible as an “older woman”.