'Love Island' used to discuss tough topics at UCC

'Love Island' used to discuss tough topics at UCC

Maeve McTaggart, who helps run the UCC Bystander Intervention Programme.

The popular reality TV show Love Island, which came to a conclusion this week, is being used by UCC graduates to discuss relationship and societal problems, such as victim blaming, gas lighting and toxic relationships.

Maeve McTaggart and Alana Daly-Mulligan spearheaded the initiative, which takes the principles of UCC’s Bystander Intervention programme and discusses them topically through the medium of Love Island.

Maeve and Alana, who are both UCC graduates, said their Instagram stories, which are broadcast on their Instagram and Twitter pages @bystanderucc, have proved popular with 18 to 24 year olds and are a great way to get meaty issues discussed in a casual manner between friends and in relationships.

The audience of the Bystander Intervention social media channels increased 130% this year, compared to last year, following the introduction of the pop culture discussions.

The six topics covered across the eight weeks were:

  • How Love Island can start and normalise conversations surrounding relationships and red flags 
  • What may prevent someone from intervening in a situation they witness in-person or online and how to make an effective intervention by calling out problematic behaviour 
  • The impact alcohol consumption has on intervention and how it can make situations a lot more volatile 
  • What slut-shaming and victim-blaming are, how they impact intervention 
  • Gaslighting and how best to identify and effectively intervene when it is observed 
  • How to identify relationship 'red flags' like negging.

*Negging is a form of emotional manipulation where one person makes a deliberate backhanded compliment or remark to another person to undermine their confidence and increase their need for the manipulator's approval.

The organisers hope to use other popular shows in the same way in future. 

“It’s a better way to start the conversation,” Maeve said. 

“We are looking at doing it with other programmes, such as ‘Promising Young Woman’ and other reality TV shows.” 

 Maeve said the lighthearted show made it easy to look at complex issues properly.

The UCC duo said they would also be doing a number of reflective episodes on social media looking at the developments of the show retrospectively.

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