Even in 2017, no discussion of gender equality is complete until someone complains that deep down, all feminists want to establish a matriarchy. When the subject came up on the UK reality show Love Island, that's exactly what happened, but contestant Camilla Thurlow's reaction to a man calling feminism "inequality" is a pure, utter joy to witness. Of course, if you've ever been trapped in a similar conversation, you already know that these situations rarely end with the other person admitting they're wrong, but that doesn't make Thurlow's support for women's rights any less delightful.
On the off chance you're as out of touch with reality television as yours truly, all you need to know about Love Island is that 12 single hotties are shipped off to a villa for six weeks. As you can guess from the title, they're there to find true love, and in the meantime, there's lots of working out and hooking up. Got it? Great. Apparently, Thurlow and a fellow contestant, Jonny Mitchell, recently paired off on the show, but they hit a snag in their short relationship during this week's episode. First, they disagreed about splitting the bill, and when Thurlow said she found it awkward not to pay for herself, Mitchell countered by asking if she was a feminist.
"Shouldn’t we all be feminists? Surely you believe in equality?" she replied, causing every feminist viewer's heart to skip a beat.
Believe it or not, it gets better. Mitchell said he believed in equality, but he felt that feminism leaves men at a disadvantage. With admirable patience, Thurlow explained that men have historically been the ones afforded advantages, and "to redress the balance there has to be in some way an active movement towards equality." When Mitchell asked if women have equal rights today, she shut him down with two words: "Absolutely not."
Who knew reality television could provide a master class in everyday feminist discourse? If all this makes you want to stand up and slow clap, you're certainly not alone — Twitter went nuts over Thurlow's reaction.
When I thought I couldn't love Camilla anymore she stands up for feminism on love island. What a bloody intelligent woman 👏🏻 #LoveIsland— caitlin (@caaaayyyyt) June 14, 2017
Camilla you absolute legend!! Yes!!Girl power! I love you #loveIsland— Scarlett Moffatt (@ScarlettMoffatt) June 14, 2017
Of course, not everyone was applauding. Thurlow ended the conversation in tears, which some Twitter users dismissed as an overreaction to a harmless political disagreement.
I love Camilla she is a g but she can't be crying cause someone has a different view to her though #Loveisland— Benny (@Beno_ldn) June 14, 2017
However, others pointed out that downplaying Mitchell's misconception of feminism is part of the problem. Feminism is more than a political stance; it fundamentally influences the way people interact, particularly in romantic relationships. There's more at stake here than just splitting the bill. Furthermore, characterizing Thurlow as weak for getting upset plays into tired old stereotypes about women's emotional fragility.
If you think Camilla is upset because of 'a different opinion' and 'him wanting to pay for women' you have missed the point. #LoveIsland— N💙💜🖤 (@belespritx) June 14, 2017
On the other hand, Thurlow's critics seem to be in the minority, and defending feminism has earned her an army of new fans on Twitter. Hopefully, that will be some comfort if she and Mitchell split up. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to watch that clip at least a dozen more times — I haven't seen anything that relatable since that woman wore McDonald's bags as shoes.