Miriam’s Musings

Love Love Island? Count me out!

As someone who has absolutely no patience for people who have the intellect and the depth of a car park puddle, I have to say I’ve never, ever watched more than ten minutes of the TV ‘dating show’ Love Island. Why? Because, apart from the fact it’s a series showcasing hormone-packed, mildly attractive wannabes, desperate to flaunt their fake-tanned boobs, butts, abs and pecs, Love Island is also, in my opinion, crammed full of spite, emotional manipulation, and sexual objectification – not just those who appear on it, but also (many of) those who watch it! You get it; I’m not a fan.

To be honest, I actually worry about the demographic who buy into the personas of the Ken doll look-a-like male participants with their gravity-defying undercut hairstyles, and the Barbie-esque females with their humidity-defying hair extensions who display themselves on national TV in a quest for fame, fortune, and er, love!

However, given that any relationship formed on this reality show is almost certainly doomed to fail, it’s kind of a no-brainer that participants are going to be offered what ITV have claimed will be a ‘minimum of eight therapy sessions’ to help them deal with the fall-out.

Personally, I think viewers who allow themselves to be influenced by pouting glamour models prancing around and pairing up with failed footballers wearing nothing but a fluorescent thong in a bid to avoid eviction from the island, are the ones who could benefit from having some therapy.

In addition readers, as we ready ourselves to return to the workplace, my advice to people like me who hate this type of show is to prepare themselves to be plagued by their normally sane and intelligent colleagues to inquire if they’re “watchin’ Love Island?” In fact, gird your emotional intellect to help it receive terms like ‘f***y flutters’ and ‘chin-wag’ because these phrases are guaranteed to sneak back into the office vernacular!

And no, I am not a killjoy, nor am I incapable of becoming distracted by quirky programmes. I do have fun, and I do enjoy a good laugh-out-loud comedy. In fact, I absolutely thrive on watching TV quiz shows, and apparently ‘ruining the outcome for others’ when I shout out the answers before the questions are even finished. My bad! It’s just the vapid, vacuous programmes that I always avoid!

Perhaps I’m just jealous. Perhaps I’d be much happier and wealthier if, in my twenties, instead of working 24/7 to raise a family, I’d have instead, lived a life full of hedonism and shallowness. I mean, if you’re to believe shows like Love Island, this type of behaviour is being richly rewarded with wealth, influence, notoriety.


Gender-based violence on the increase across Ireland

According to domestic abuse charity Women’s Aid, the number of people who contacted their support service ‘increased by over 40% last year compared to 2019’.

This tells me that every day in some part of this country, someone is living under the oppression of an abusive intimate partner. In fact, shockingly, as you and I are trying to make sense of this pandemic and its restrictions, somewhere in some corner of County Roscommon, a woman (because it’s mainly women who’re reporting high levels of abuse from their partners) and her children (if she has children), is cowering in a room. This woman is terrified. She also may be bruised and battered and struggling to process what has just happened and why it has just happened…indeed, she’s possibly wondering what it is she did wrong. The answer is nothing – you did nothing wrong.

You are the innocent, blameless victim of an abusive coward, who has, according to national figures (these are not solely focused on Roscommon, they represent the entire country), either raped you, beat you, or choked you.

In fact, according to statistics, 148 women have been abused while pregnant, with 28 of them having suffered a miscarriage as a result of the abuse.

In addition, 709 women have been threatened with murder. Let me repeat – these statistics represent the entire country, not just Roscommon, meaning disgracefully, domestic abuse is rampant and the situation is escalating.

Violence against women tends to get worse during stressful situations, i.e. the pandemic. This means, as there is a decrease in accessing vital services and protective networks, the risk to women’s lives is exacerbated, resulting in both them and their children becoming more vulnerable; and that’s not acceptable.

Can I make it clear that I am not ‘man-bashing’? I do know, having been raised in an abusive home, that sadly men can also be victims of domestic violence. And yes, the number does appear to be small, and when compared to women, it is small. Nonetheless, have you ever thought that this could be due to many male victims feeling too ashamed or embarrassed to contact the Gardaí or to even seek help?

Freeing yourself from an abusive, spineless, puny lowlife, who will never change, won’t be easy, but remember – deep down, you are still that strong, powerful girl who sets her own rules for how she will be treated. You are still that wonderful, glorious woman, who, along with your precious children, has a right to live a safe and happy life. Remember, you make the rules for how you want your body, your soul and your mind to be treated – not him, not her.

Therefore, if today is the day you get the courage to set your boundaries and recover your power because you are a survivor, know that help is literally a phone call away. You are amazing and I wish you the very best of luck and happiness, because you deserve it. You have earned it. May God bless you.

Call the Gardaí at 999 or 112. The Women’s Aid national Freephone helpline number operates 24/7, so please, if you need help, call in confidence on 1800-341900. The Men’s Aid national helpline number is 01-5543811. The Rape Crisis Network Ireland national helpline number is 1800-778888.


The future is gender fluid

Meanwhile over at the Emmys, nominees are being given the option of using the gender-neutral term ‘performer’. In addition, winners can request a gender-neutral option of their statue or statuette – brilliant, bravo, maith thú!

Everyone has a right to belong, and I think it’s wonderful that many people, and in particular the younger generation, are viewing gender as being a choice, as opposed to it being a given, and as being a distinction. Indeed many people are claiming that gender doesn’t even exist at all and I think that’s wonderful.

However – and again, remember I am a huge ally when it comes to embracing and promoting diversity and equality – I do have to ask: is it just me readers, or does anyone else think there’s convulsive fit of political correctness infiltrating society as a whole?