Brigade chief claims that Love Island cliche 'puts off female firefighters'

  • img Harvey Cawdron
  • POSTED ON 21 Aug 2018


The head of the London Fire Brigade has scorned Love Island for reinforcing the stereotype of firefighters as muscle-bound male sex objects. 

Commissioner Dany Cotton claimed that 'offensive' stereotypes discouraged young women from perusing such a career. 

She rebuked the show for 'rolling out every offensive cliché possible with their so-called 'fireman challenge'.'

The brigade also spoke out against an advert for Harpic toilet cleaner. 

Cotton - the first woman to hold the LFB's most senior position - said that Love Island's fireman challenge 'reinforces the misconception that all firefighters are muscle-bound men'. She added 'No wonder so many young women are put off by that'.

The challenge required the show's male participants to strip down to their underwear and pretend to save one of the girls from danger. 

Only 300 of the LFB's 5,000 operational firefighters are woman - just 6%.

Research conducted by the brigade also criticised an advert by Harpic toilet cleaner in which a woman swoons over a brawny male firefighter. 

Cotton argued that getting rid of 'lazy clichés' would alter public attitudes and encourage more women to join the service. 

She claimed that the Army and Police had been 'enriched' by higher levels of female representation and praised the way that TV characters such as Jane Tennison from Prime Suspect had transformed people's perception of women in the police force. 

She said that 'It's time the fire and rescue service caught up'. 

Liz George, a watch manager for London Fire Brigade, claimed that the 'fireman challenge' on Love Island left her feeling 'infuriated'. She said that 'Even saying 'fireman', emphasising its just a man that could do that role, is quite frustrating when I'm out doing that job every day'. 

Earlier in the year,  the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) ran a consultation on a proposal that adverts 'must not include gender stereotypes that are likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offence'.

An ASA spokeswoman said that 'We've published evidence that shows gender stereotypes have the potential to cause harm because they limit how people's potential is considered by themselves and others - with costs to the individual, economy and society. We've already been taking action to ban ads which reinforce harmful stereotypes and we'll publish the results of our consultation around new rules for advertisers later this year.'