There is such a debate on my Twitter feed right now about how Little Mix strutting around in their pants is not a positive role model for our daughters and I totally disagree. In fact, I am more than happy for my daughter, aged 6, to watch them and look up to them.
Firstly, let's address what they are wearing; leotard type costumes similar to what Beyoncé and Madonna have worn before, yet the older ladies' outfits are deemed as more acceptable than those worn by Little Mix. I am reading that this is because they know 'their own mind' more than the youngsters, and that the four girls have been somehow made to wear them. It really is time to stop telling women what they can and cannot wear and slut shaming them for bearing flesh. The outfits were pretty similar to what girls wear for gymnastics and were costumes for a huge performance - I am sure they don't wear them to the supermarket. My daughter is capable of watching them and seeing just that; and is unlikely to turn around and ask to wear it to the school disco. Of course, we don't know if the band wanted to wear them or were being forced to by their management, but until we know that we really should stop judging.
To me they are four strong, confident women with flawless vocals, who won a national competition, watched and judged by millions. They are following their dream, and are now one of the biggest bands in the world. To me this is a great role model - achieving, using their talent, following their passion, with tonnes of strength and doing all that with their mates; if my daughter manages just some of this when she is older then I will be a happy mum.
My daughter has many role models that she looks up to. She admires her teacher, strong fictional characters in books, her mum, her grandma, sportswomen - and it is our job as a parent to ensure that they are open to all positive influencers around them. In life, she will see far worse than four girls in pants strutting their stuff, believe me.
Then there's the saucy lyrics to their number one hit "Shout out To My Ex" that's getting people's knickers in a twist. After high profile relationship break ups, they have produced a girl power anthem, sticking two fingers up to their exes - a modern day "I Will Survive" if you like.
Perrie opens the song,
'This is a shout out to my ex
Heard he in love with some other chick
Yeah yeah, that hurt me, I'll admit
Forget that boy, I'm over it
I hope she gettin' better sex
Hope she ain't fakin' it like I did, babe
Took four long years to call it quits
Forget that boy, I'm over it.'
Oh. My. God. Girl dares to talk about faking it in a song! Our daughters are going to be ruined!
No, they won't.
Why not sit them down if they ask and explain what it means which I'm sure we would be fine with if it were our sons. My daughter is 6 so I'm not about to explain orgasms to her now, but my explanation would go something like this "sometimes girls aren't that happy with their boyfriend and fake their happiness. My suggestion is if you aren't happy, don't fake it, get a new boyfriend who makes you happy." Or something along those lines.
The truth is that we don't tell men how to dress. If they bare flesh we applaud. If they are strong, a bit raunchy and successful then we share their photos on our Facebook feeds with heart emojis attached. Our sons wanting to be the next Justin Bieber or some famous footballer is totally acceptable.
Then why do we treat our daughters differently? Why do we slag off women who bare flesh, labelling them as strippers? We seem to fear women being sexual in the public arena while men can be. We are scared to talk about sex to our daughters and that they can enjoy it. Yet men top the charts with sexist lyrics, promoting date rape and we just dance the night away to it?
My daughter loves singing and dancing but right now she wants to be a teacher when she grows up. Little Mix and other musicians create entertainment and give joy to her life in the space between school, homework and sports; and long may it continue.