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Mocking Love Island's Faye Winter For Her Lipstick Choice Is Bullying - And It Needs To Stop

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Mocking Love Island's Faye Winter For Her Lipstick Choice Is Bullying - And It Needs To Stop

There are a lot of things that can be said about Love Island's Faye Winter. While she was a fan favourite at the start of the series, her treatment of beau Teddy Soares sparked the most Ofcom complaints of any TV show so far this year, and her sporadically argumentative behaviour towards fellow islanders has rightfully been scrutinised.

But unfortunately, when you search Faye's name on Twitter, there's another narrative that sits amongst these all-too-legitimate criticisms.

Since stepping into the Mallorca villa, the 26-year-old lettings manager, from Devon, has been partial to an ombré brown lip - with dark liner around the edges and a lighter, almost highlighted centre.

Trolls have latched onto Faye Winter's lipstick choice (Credit: ITV)
Trolls have latched onto Faye Winter's lipstick choice (Credit: ITV)
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All you need to do is scroll through Twitter to see post after post about the makeup choice, from individuals almost gleefully mocking her appearance without any regard for the potentially crushing consequence this could have on her self-esteem.

"Gonna make a complaint to Ofcom about that awful brown lipstick shade Faye always wears," someone wrote, alongside a purposely unflattering screen-grab of the reality star.

As another Twitter user heartlessly commented that her lips looked like "poo" and brazenly called her "disgusting".

"Faye's lipstick usually looks like sh*t but f*ck me, tonight it actually looked like sh*t!," somebody else angrily chimed in.

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Meanwhile, a fellow social media likened her lips to "two slugs on her face" when she opted for the ombré colouring.

Memes like this have completely littered the internet (Credit: Twitter)
Memes like this have completely littered the internet (Credit: Twitter)

It's easy to join in a pile on to get 'likes'. You might be inclined to think that if everyone is collectively in on the gag, it can't be that nasty.

But when you dissect what's going on here, it's a lot more sinister than you might think. Imagine being mocked over your appearance, day after day, week on week. Then, add to that the fact that Faye has no idea she's currently the butt of a national joke, and she's evidently insecure already.

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We'd hazard a guess that if anybody with half a conscience thought about these factors for even a second they'd think twice about posting.

Speaking to Tyla, psychotherapist Sally Baker explains that the cruelty directed at Faye is all spurred on by a 'mob-mentality', which is easily facilitated online.

"The terrible thing about social media is the fact you can have these anonymous accounts and be wicked and cruel. It's like like the wild west," she says.

For one, "anonymity encourages people to be keyboard warriors". But on top of that, there's the fact that we seem to feel like we have a free pass when somebody puts themselves into the spotlight.

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The problem is, we like to watch reality TV from our own high castles, throwing stones as if we aren't also flawed human beings.

"We seem to think we can abuse [reality stars] like they’re in a zoo, or in a freak circus" rather than real people, Sally concurs.

Quite the opposite of this, she adds that "when you scrape the surface of all of them, they are really vulnerable, multifaceted people", just like the rest of us.

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You only have to look at the vilification of the show's late presenter Caroline Flack, who faced assault charges before her suicide, to see that schadenfreude - pleasure from another person's misfortune - is very real, dehumanising and can have very tragic consequences.

"It's like we never learn the lessons," Sally laments.

Much like Caroline, or fellow late-contestant Mike Thalassitis - who was infamously dubbed Muggy Mike while on the show - Faye might seem like an easy target, or 'fair-game' when it comes to trolling, because of the way she has been presented as a pantomime villain in recent weeks.

However Sally adds that from a therapist's perspective, her 'hard exterior' actually indicates the very opposite, and is an important warning of just how sensitive she will eventually be to public opinion.

"I don’t think theres any public sympathy for Faye, because everyone jumped on her when she had that terrible row with Teddy,

"It was deeply uncomfortable to watch, but from my point of view was completely driven by trauma.

"That was a trauma response, because it was not commensurate to what happened...but there is very little empathy for that in the public".

Talking of the comments that were directed at Faye's makeup, Sally says that while they might seem frivolous, or unimportant in the grand scheme of criticism coming her way, they actually have the capacity to leave her "really hurt.

Faye's confrontations have painted her as a villain (Credit: ITV)
Faye's confrontations have painted her as a villain (Credit: ITV)

"I think it’s devastating because, with reality stars, their currency is their physicality - it’s not like a talent contest where you’re singing or dancing, you are your own product," she explains.

"And people who have a commitment to being as perfect as can be are the kind of person who put themselves forward for something like Love Island.

"They commodity themselves, so insulting that is probably the lowest blow you can give."

At this point, the 'Be Kind' message is nothing new. How many times do people have to make the commitment before it becomes more than an empty gesture?

People said it after the death of Caroline Flack, Mike Thalassitis and Sophie Gradon, then once more when Jeremy Kyle was taken off air - despite having humiliated and mocked all its contestants, in much the same way they now are at Faye.

Many of the people liking, sharing and whimsically penning memes about her makeup today are the same individuals who lament ITV's duty of care, without taking any personal responsibility for the role they continue to play.

"At the end of the day, I think it has to be individuals [that make a change]," Sally says. "We have a responsibility when it comes how we interact, and hold onto a moral compass, and we have to remember these like all reality stars, Faye is vulnerable. We have to remember, you cut her, she bleeds. They all do."

Featured Image Credit: ITV

Topics: Love Island, TV And Film, ITV

Joanna Freedman
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