During her time in the Love Island villa, Olivia Attwood became the subject of heavy criticism from viewers watching back home. Some called her a “snake”, some accused her of being “fake”, and others criticised her for her treatment of her boyfriend, Chris Hughes.
Now that the ITV2 dating show is over, however, Attwood has had time to read up on what the public has been saying about her, and is responding to her critics.
In a post-show interview, Attwood said she believed that a woman’s experience on a reality show is very different – and far more difficult – than that of a man, saying her gender is judged far more harshly, expectations are set far higher and there is far more importance placed on “being nice”.
“Women are always the first to go, always the lowest in the polls and things that girls do… well, if a boy did it or said it, he would be [called] cheeky or funny or a player, but if a girl does it then she's a slag and you're conniving, so we're still living in the medieval times for that,” she told ok.co.uk.
“And I do think as well [that], when you add blonde hair and fake tits, there’s more to rile people up.”
Attwood added: “The worst thing is [that] it's girls that are riled over seeing what I chose to do in the villa.
“There are bits I've seen, there's a lot of girls getting angry… just live and let live.”
However, while Attwood has accused viewers at home of behaving in a sexist manner towards her, she was apparently not asked about the fact that she, too, has been accused of employing unfair gender stereotypes.
On several occasions, she was seen telling Hughes to “man up” and ordering him to “pull it together” (to stop crying) in front of their ‘son’ Cash (a fake baby the couples were given to look after as part of a task).
“You don't want to set that kind of example,” she was heard snapping.
“Man up. It's a boy and you want him to…”
She trailed off, although the sentiment was clear: you don’t want to teach a boy that it’s OK to cry and become emotional.
Her comments sparked an outpouring of support for Hughes (who has confessed to suffering from anxiety) on social media. Indeed, Signpost – a mental health charity which provides counselling, coaching, and other support for young people – made a point of reminding viewers that there is absolutely nothing wrong with a man sharing his emotions. What there is something wrong with, of course, is telling them that there is.
“They say men, younger and older, don’t feel safe to show their emotions,” the charity tweeted.
“Shout out to Chris for being himself and bearing all.”
Images: Rex Features