LGBTQIA+ History Month: I’m sick of being sexualised

by Gemma Murphy (she/her)

“Too Hot To Handle” quickly became too fetishizing for me to handle. 

“Too Hot To Handle” is a Netlfix show that invites young singles to an island they call “Pleasure Island” on the basis they would have fun with other attractive singles. However, after they arrive on the island, they find out that there won’t be any pleasure as they are actually on “Too Hot To Handle”. The islanders are not allowed to kiss, have sex, masturbate, or perform any sort of sexual act whilst on the island, in the hopes that it forces them to form meaningful connections with the people they are interested in, and not just sexual flings. 

I guess it’s just one of life’s mysteries how three seasons into this show people haven’t learned there is no such thing as “Pleasure Island” and they have just somehow ended up on a completely different TV show. Anyway,  what happens if they break this no touch rule? Well, there’s a $200,000 cash pot that will be shared amongst them by the end of the show, but every time they break a rule, they lose money. 

Just nine minutes after this rule was established, islanders Izzy and Georgia kissed, seemingly just in an act of “rebellion” and cost not only the islanders $3,000 but also cost me the ability to have any faith in humanity when it comes to accepting queer women. 

Now, having just completely ignored the rules and costing their friends a substantial chunk of money for a winch, you think they would be annoyed, right? Wrong. 

The boys initially thought that it was another boy Georgia kissed. They were frustrated and jealous, but these furrowed brows quickly shot upwards in shock when they found out it was in fact Izzy who had been the lucky guy, so to speak. 

“I can’t be mad at that, that’s hot…The fact that Georgia had no problem breaking the rules, kissing another girl. Oh, I’m into that” uttered self-proclaimed “bad boy” of the group, Stevan. 

Shortly followed by a “Izzy kissing Georgia. I like that shit” from fellow American, Truth. 

Giggling away to themselves I found myself simultaneously cringing under the covers whilst the steam leaves my ears from how angry I was. 

As a queer woman who is now fully comfortable with her sexuality and tends to spend most her time in an ecosystem of queer people in queer spaces, I’m lucky enough to forget this mentality exists at times. But hearing these comments being made without even a second thought honestly took me back to that time in my life when I was still figuring myself out and still around people that had those same opinions. I can’t even count the number of times I have been asked if I wanted to take part in a threesome, been told that it’s hot that I like women, been told they’re into that, they can change me or asking if can they watch. Unfortunately, the list goes on. 

Queer women have never existed for men, have never desired to be seen through the male gaze but will this ever stop? Will women ever be allowed to kiss women and men not feel that it is for them? 

While I must state that neither Georgia or Izzy’s sexuality is known, and they could both be bisexual however, they haven’t stated having any interest in girls and haven’t made any romantic intentions towards each other since the kiss. So, it’s important to acknowledge that straight women doing this is harmful, as it leads to comments like this being made. It creates a space where fetishizing women who like women is allowed and honestly, encourages it. 

And clearly it had been encouraged as the boys just couldn’t keep it out of their minds. Back at it again, bad boy Stevan stated “I just wanted to watch if I could”, and even the nice ones like Patrick are guilty; “Me too, bro” whilst sticking his tongue out like a 12-year-old boy who just found out what a lesbian is. 

That’s the thing, these women kissed behind closed doors; these men never even seen it but the simple thought of the kiss is enough to send their imaginations wild. 

I challenge you to find one queer woman who isn’t exhausted from comments like this, who hasn’t had to prove to a man that her interest in women has funnily enough, nothing to do with men. Please, do better.