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Love Island and Relationship Education

Standing, K and Porter, J (2020) Love Island and Relationship Education. Frontiers in Sociology. ISSN 2297-7775

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The rise of reality TV programmes focusing on relationships and the search for “love” has focused media attention on the portrayal of healthy relationships, gender rolesand intimate partner abuse (IPVA). Love Island, a UK reality TV programme, was watched in 2019 by over 3 million viewers, a majority of whom are young women aged 16–34, though a younger teenage demographic also watch. Many of these younger viewers may be learning about what healthy relationships are like, and entering their first romantic relationships. Contestant’s behavior on Love Island prompted Women’s Aid to issue a statement speaking out against unhealthy behaviors in relationships—especially“gaslighting,” a form of emotional abuse that makes someone question their own feelings, memories and version of reality. Based on our experience of running a relationship education program in 24 schools, as part of the Tender national partnership and our research with young people on their perceptions of Love Island, the paper will examine the role reality TV programmes; play in young people’s understandings of healthy relationships. It argues representations of relationships on Love Island are framed within normative heterosexuality and the normalization of emotional abuse. However, we also argue that these programmes can be a catalyst for discussion amongst young people and open up spaces, especially online, to challenge dominant constructions of relationships. It also makes recommendations for education policy and practice around relationship and sex education in schools.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Divisions: Humanities & Social Science
Publisher: Frontiers Media
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2019 10:51
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 08:19
DOI or ID number: 10.3389/fsoc.2019.00079
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/11863
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