LM5: Little Mix’s Powerfully Feminist Album is a Call for Unity and Love

Opinion

By Mira Eashwaran

Feminism: the seemingly perpetual battle for women to reach complete gender equality. It is omnipresent in aspects of our everyday lives, from women experiencing the gender pay gap at work, or girls in elementary school shoved into a box of wearing pink and skirts, to even the sexual harassment women experience all the time. Catcalls, wolf-whistles, and violating stares now suffocate feminists and women, and continuously try to impede the process of equality.

The music and fame business is infamous for mistreating women, from powerful men like Harvey Weinstein or the body-shaming Kesha experienced as a teen. However, the industry features plenty of strong-willed, intelligent women who stand their ground and are not afraid of making waves. The UK girl group Little Mix stands as a conspicuous example of such bravery. The girls met on the X Factor in 2011 and went on to be the first group to win the talent competition. The group has had four UK number one singles, the most Platinum certifications for a UK girl group, breaking the previous Spice Girls record. The four girls (Jade Thirwall, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, Jesy Nelson, and Perrie Edwards) have had a successful career in the music industry.

The National Manthem

This album speaks to a mature feminist awakening. The first song on the album, The National Manthem, is a thirty second piece that describes a “goddess” as a “bad b*tch”, with the girls ending by singing that “thou shall be faithful and honest.” This song effectively sets the scene for a power charged album.

Woman Like Me (feat. Nicki Minaj)

“Woman Like Me” is a quintessential track for Mixers around the world. It details the older ideals of what a woman should be (quiet, polite and knowing her place) and debunks that with confidence and distinct personality traits of the girls. The track is an uptempo piece, with slivers of reggae and modern pop slipped in. The lyrics detail how the girls wonder how someone could “fall for a woman like me”: four business savvy, talented women who wear their sexualities on their sleeves and promote love and peace. The track features the iconic rap queen Nicki Minaj on the third verse, proud and confident in her feminism.

Strip

“Strip” is a song filled with body positivity and self love, the music video featuring the four girls with no makeup and showing off their bodies for who they are. The track embraces female sexuality and encourages women to love their bodies, race and femininity. The video features an emotionally charged shot of all four girls nearly naked on camera, their bodies covered with demeaning words that they have been called during their time in the industry. “Strip” is an anthem for people everywhere to love themselves and feel beautiful in their own skin.

Fierce in Fashion

(from left to right) Jesy Nelson, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, Jade Thirwall, and Perrie Edwards pose for their new album LM5’s cover.

Joan of Arc

“Joan of Arc” is a track that goes back to hip-hop roots, featuring an uptempo drum beat that embellishes the girl’s confidence in their sexuality and their comfort with beauty and men. They allude to Joan of Arc, a famous French heroine during the 100 years war. The song includes a distorted male voice saying, “Oh, you’re the feminist type?” and a sassy response of “Hell yeah, I am!”

The group refer to themselves as goddesses, and features difficult soprano vocals by Edwards. They own their right to love, rapping that if they’re loving someone, it “’cause they can” and they “put my own rock on my hand.”

Woman’s World

In this emotionally charged song, the girls detail the work and pay gap between men and women. They point out the insanity of women being paid differently because of “the way her body’s made.” Thirwall takes over at the pre-chorus and debunks the man’s world, singing that they should “try living in a woman’s world.” The girls bring light to the fact that they always have “shouted to be heard,” and powerfully address the disparity between the genders. They reassure listeners that they will keep fighting for women’s rights in a passionate ode. They reaffirm that women are more than their bodies; we have brains and we will keep fighting.

With this new album, Little Mix has simply reaffirmed what the music industry already knew: these girls are four insanely talented, confident women who aren’t afraid to love themselves and love others. These ladies have executive produced a musically riveting, lyrically inspiring album that will stand to be the symbol of an iconic musical era in women’s activism.

Calling Out Catcalling

Opinion

By Maya Cornish

ODYSSEY Newsmagazine News Editor Maya Cornish shares her experience about catcalling, and how it has the opposite effect of enticing women by making them feel objectified.

I was at my internship one day, and one of the tasks I had to do was clean the front glass doors. I was wearing a t-shirt and jean shorts, and to reach the lower half of the doors I squatted down. I thought nothing of it.

Behind me there were two guys walking by. They were young, late twenties to early thirties in casual clothes. In the reflection of the glass, I saw them take a small notice of me and continued walking, but then both stopped in their tracks.

It was almost like a cartoon, the two of them walking backwards and craning their necks to get a better look at me. One said to me, “Nice a**!” before he and his friend continued walking away.

I have been catcalled, touched and critiqued for what I wore and how I acted many times before and after that event. And I am not the only one. Girls and women alike share in this experience, being objectified with unnecessary comments in inappropriate situations.

This should not be considered normal in our society.

According to a study by anti-harassment group iHollaback and Cornell University, “85 percent of U.S. women have reported experiencing street harassment for the first time before age 17.”

There are some women who enjoy the attention. As New York Post writer Doree Lewak says, “For me, it’s nothing short of exhilarating yielding an unmatched level of euphoria.”

For most women, though, the unsolicited attention does not provide them a feeling of “euphoria” and instead one of discomfort.

In an email, 23-year-old Sophie Sandberg, who runs Instagram account @catcallsofnyc and has experienced catcalling herself since age 15, says “[women who use catcalling as a form of empowerment] may have internalized certain misogynistic ideas that their worth is tied up with their physical appearance, their body and their sexuality.”

Catcalling certainly won’t stop if women continue to stay silent when it happens. And fighting back (like insulting the aggressor) will only create tension, potentially escalating the situation. What needs to happen is a dialogue between people to educate how street harassment is inappropriate in any circumstance.

Women are not objects for male pleasure. And until men understand this, young girls will continue to equate their body with crude descriptions from strangers on the street.