First of all, can I say that I love pop music? Because I do. I adored it as a child and continue to have a lust for a great tune with proclamations of love in its lyrics. When the seven inch single, the ultimate sound carrier of the three minute pop song was eclipsed by CDs, a little piece of me died.
I still have those 7” singles from my teenage years, no one can ever accuse me of being a music snob. You didn’t have boy bands in my day (1980s) but I really don’t mind some that have emerged in recent years. Westlife and Boyzone are an absolute NO, but JLS I think are pretty cool.
I don’t get offended by X Factor winners, because I am not their target audience. Singers and groups who win the show are for younger people. I’m far too long in the tooth and I’m fine with that.
One Direction did well on X Factor I believe -I really don’t watch it, sorry. I can’t pretend I’m a huge fan but I don’t get distressed when one of their songs comes on the radio.
Until now, that is.
On Sunday night I was on Twitter, and read a tweet about the new One Direction single, Little Things. The tweet contained language I couldn’t possibly repeat here, but let’s just say it expressed some dissatisfaction at the song’s lyrical content.
I thought it was a case of the Tweeter being a musical snob, but I thought I’d check out the lyrics anyway before I commented back.
I searched online, and I couldn’t believe what I read.
‘You’ve never loved
Your stomach or your thighs
The dimples in your back at the bottom of your spine
…You never want to know how much you weigh
You still have to squeeze into your jeans’ (Syco (c) Ed Sheeran, Fiona Bevan)
I beg your pardon?
We hear much of the time, don’t we, about girls having a bad body image from a younger age these days. How primary school girls are worried about their weight and telling their parents they need to diet. That children these days are growing up too quickly.
So, why on earth is a boy band whose prime market is prepubescent and teenage girls, singing a song about girls feeling fat? Not loving themselves? Having ‘dimples’ in their back?
I have a friend whose seven year old daughter’s bedroom is wallpapered with posters of One Direction, the child sings along to their songs on the radio – and knows the lyrics by heart. Normal and healthy enough behaviour for a seven year old, you may think. Absolutely. I’d agree with that.
But not if the lyrics she is singing are so appalling.
We live in a society ever obsessed with celebrity. Girls and young women shouldn’t be spoon fed such messages by their pop idols.
Little Things shot straight to number one in the charts on Sunday. Good for the One Direction. I’m very happy for them.
But it’s not good for the body image of thousands of seven year old girls across the UK who take such a negative message about body image on board.