Recently I asked a group of second-year girls who their favorite music group was. All of them replied, ‘Little Mix’.
Up until recently I knew very little about Little Mix – I knew they were born out of X-Factor and that they were four young women who sang run-of-the-mill pop songs. Last summer however, I joined the gym and was introduced to the world of music videos through the 7 screens that entertain gym-goers. One of the groups that appear regular on Capital TV, streamed in the gym, is this group Little Mix.
Suggestive Lyrics, Provocative Outfits
I was embarrassed when I first saw them – so much so that I took a quick glance around me to see if anyone was watching me watch them. Their revealing outfits, suggestive lyrics and provocative movements are not only distasteful and inappropriate, they are also dangerous.
Little Mix song lyrics include ‘Photograph with no T-shirt on/Why you making me wait so long?’ (‘Touch’), ‘For tonight I’m gonna get my mind off it/Don’t care that someone’s got his hands all over my body’ (‘No More Sad Songs’) and ‘Forget that boy, I’m over it/I hope she getting’ better sex/Hope she ain’t fakin’ it like I did, babe’ (Shoutout To My Ex’).
Given their huge popularity among teenagers, Little Mix are playing an aggressive role in the sexualisation of young girls. It is worrying that parents are allowing their children access to these lyrics and music videos. It may be, of course, that they do not realise, or care to realise, what an effect such role models are having on their children.
Sexualisation of Teenage Girls and Boys
Children imitate what they see. Young girls think that if Little Mix singers can wear almost nothing in front of millions of viewers, they can do the same. Drive by the local teenage disco in your town and observe the girls – they will be wearing incredibly provocative clothes and heavy makeup. Some of them will be carrying the ridiculously high heels they force themselves to wear and may be walking the streets barefoot. Whether they understand it or not, they are portraying a blatantly sexualised message through their behaviour. They are also posing a huge risk to young boys who will interpret their dress and actions to mean sexual behaviour – and many boys will not feel able or ready to respond. They may be mocked by the girls, and feel abnormal, insufficient, uncool. If they are not enthusiastic about sexualised culture, they run the risk of being ignored and being labelled ‘gay’ or ‘unmanly’. This is happening in our schools among our young people and we are simply fooling ourselves if we do not acknowledge it.
Groups such as Little Mix are normalizing adult sexual themes to children and are a root cause of the problematic sexual behaviour we see in our communities today, both urban and rural. Parents have a duty to allow their children to develop and mature without complex adult themes thrust upon them. Parents have a duty to enable their children to mature in a state of innocence, and, as much as is within their power, to restrict and ban access to sexualised behaviour and attitudes.
Never before have we had so many children and young people that are anxious, depressed and lonely. 62% teens have reported that their mental health is average/poor and a recent article in the Irish Times reported that the number of teenage girls being hospitalised for eating disorders had doubled over the past 10 years. There is no doubt that the rampant sexualisation promoted by mainstream groups – such as Little Mix – is playing a major role in the depression and negative self-image from which so many of our children suffer today. We need parents to step up, take responsibility and make those tough decisions that will save their children.
Groups such as Little Mix are ruining the innocence and potential of our 14-year-old girls, and while teachers can do their best, it is up to parents, ultimately, to do something about it.