As summer in the UK creeps closer, pressures young people face in acquiring the 'perfect summer body' are not made any easier with reality TV shows such as Love Island set to return to our screens.
The dating show is one of ITV's 'most high-profile programmes' that receives on average, 4.2 million viewers per episode. That is an enormous amount of people watching a group of young, attractive singles on a quest to find love.
I must admit, the show is one of my guilty pleasures and there is no doubt I will be tuning in every night at 9pm exactly, anticipating which couple is about to leave the villa. Weirdly, inspecting others go about their day can be quite interesting. Or are we just nosey?
Despite the entertaining aspect of Love Island, studies by the Mental Health Foundation highlight concerns with viewers and body image. As the programme is mainly targeted at young adults, it has been been confirmed that one in four people aged 18-24 claim reality TV results in them worrying about their physical appearance. This can escalate to taking a toll on their mental health as they may develop low self-esteem.
For some reason, this is not shocking.
For two months straight, viewers are immersed in observing the daily activities of individuals that conform to the stereotypical idealised body. Naturally, it is common for humans to compare themselves to others. Although, with shows like this it can leave a young person feeling ashamed, unaccepted and distressed.
But, with the constant portrayal of slim women with 'bikini bodies' and men with a well-built physique, how can you avoid feeling doubtful about yourself?
Even I'm guilty of having these intrusive thoughts. Except, the key is to remind yourself the show is far from representative of the range of body types we have in our diverse society today.
Yes, it is true Love Island is a reality TV programme. Though, what is displayed to us through the screen is an unrealistic depiction of the average person. If anything, the show heightens society's beauty standards rather than attempting to break these barriers.
With all this being said, if you are anythinig like myself and you can not help but succumb to the world of reality TV, take a critical approach when viewing the show. Understand that you are worth more than just your physical appearance.