Little Mix - “Competition”
On Little Mix Being Or Not Being “Feminists”
A few months ago, Little Mix caused a bit of a flurry when they were asked whether they were feminists and answered no. From the interview in question:
"I wouldn’t say we’re feminists: we don’t hate our men," band member Perrie Edwards told Confidential.
"We love our men," added Jesy Nelson.
"Everyone loves boys," continued Edwards. "We’re just very passionate about girls sticking together and the sisterhood of things.”
The obvious rebuttal here is “I’m not sure they’re totally clear on a definition of “feminism” and given that it’s a word that’s been maligned and associated with “hating men” for decades I can understand why they think of it that way.”
Here is my actual rebuttal: I do not care what words Little Mix use to define themselves. I do not care if they say they are feminists. (Actually, I think there are a lot of very very good reasons that someone might not want to define themselves using that particular word. Though, I mean, the above quote is not one of them, probably.)
The reason I do not care is because regardless of how various descriptive words are applied by various people, songs have specific and pointed content and, in this case, that content is something I can call, for my own life and my own purposes, feminist. “Yeah you’re such a gentleman / you always open doors for me / but you see us kinda different / it’s like you always have to be / the first one to open his mouth” is a statement I’d describe as pretty openly “feminist” and I don’t really need Little Mix agree with that before I can say it. I don’t need Little Mix to agree with that before it can matter, or before it can have impact. I guess it’d be cool if Little Mix agreed with me about word choice, but ultimately it’s more important to me that a lot of girls are listening to a song with the lyric “you don’t have to come first / second is okay cause / you ain’t ever beating me” than it is for the singers of that song to define that sentiment with the same word I would.
I do not need someone else to call it feminist for it to express ideas that I would call feminist. I do not need someone else to call it feminist for it to be a part of my feminism. And other people do not need to agree that it’s feminist, or to even like the word “feminist,” for its content to be valuable to them. The song exists. The song can belong to you.