We know that it’s OK to not be OK, so why are we acting like Tasha is an exception?
You’re 23-years-old and you’ve landed a spot on one of the world’s biggest reality TV shows. You’ve been tasked with finding love while the world looks on, judging everything from how you look, to the way you speak. Then, week after week, you’re essentially told the public simply don’t like you half as much as they like your friends.
This is the exact card Love Island’s Tasha Ghouri has been dealt, and, in my mind, she’s been coping with it extremely well. She has processed her feelings, allowed herself to cry and has rightfully pointed out that being told people don’t like you is a massive confidence knock. And yet, a precursory search on Twitter would have you convinced Tasha’s somehow done something wrong.
“Why is Tasha crying over people not liking her?” one viewer tweets. Another describes her upset over continuously being in the bottom three as “the funniest shit ever”. She is criticised for being too sensitive, but she’s not. She’s just a human being processing her feelings.
In the villa, her fellow islanders also take issue with her sensitivity. On Friday’s episode, she tearfully asked, “Why does the public hate me?” Meanwhile, Luca brewed furiously, before essentially telling her that after making Andrew her boyfriend, she has no reason to be upset. Then, in last night’s episode, he repeatedly said “Tasha who?”, the exact phrase he used to encourage Andrew to crack on with other girls during Casa Amor week.
We know by now that it’s OK to not be OK. That it’s alright to be sad. That it’s important to articulate how we really feel. We slap “Be kind” into our Twitter bios, but for some reason, this line of thinking goes out the window when we see Tasha cry on TV. The dancer is compelled to tell her fellow islanders that she’s just a “sensitive” person, but I believe that she has actually demonstrated great resilience. I cry when someone even slightly raises their voice at me, so I can’t imagine how Tasha must be feeling to have her confidence knocked week after week while the whole world watches on and laughs.
History – and basic human decency – reminds us of the vulnerable positions Love Island contestants are put in. We are sadly too familiar with the devastating impact online abuse can have on a person’s mental health, and in a way, I’m glad that by being in the villa, Tasha is temporarily shielded from the cruellest abuse levelled at her. She doesn’t have to read the mean tweets or watch the ableist videos that mock the way she speaks. But this protection won’t last forever, and I hope that by the time she enters the real world, she’ll be met with support and kindness, not ridicule.
Love Island continues tonight at 9pm on Virgin Media Two and on the Virgin Media Player.