Is Little Mix’s Black Magic Video Sexist?

I’ve realised lately that I’ve been using my tumblr to make blog posts about book reviews, feminism, pop culture, and my opinions about what’s going on in the media – which doesn’t really make sense at all when I have a ready-made blog right here. Yes, my focus here has always been travel, and there’s still a lot I can write about my adventures, but there’s also a lot to talk about while my travels (and my bank account) are on hiatus.

So over the next couple of days, I’ll be importing some of my older tumblr posts across to rachelrtw, and from then on, using this blog as a place to discuss pretty much anything that comes to mind. I know that’s not really the point of blogs; I know we’re all supposed to have our ‘niche’ and travel was supposed to be mine – but I’m not doing this for an audience, I’m doing it for me, so why not?

Here’s the first.

Is Black Magic Sexist?

I’ve heard a lot of rumblings recently that Little Mix’s new Black Magic video is thoroughly sexist. I was shocked and disappointed – I’ve always associated Little Mix with the Spice Girls; a modern day ‘girl power’ girl band promoting equality, feminism and refusing to hate on other women – a British Fifth Harmony. So I watched the video and, trying to keep my inner Little Mix fangirl at bay, came up with the following thoughts.

The main objections are that:

1) They’re perpetuating the idea that you have to change to make a guy like you.

2) They degraded the popular girl just because she was popular, a la T-Swizzle before she found feminism circa 2013.

3) The song is about manipulating guys with magic but only girls get manipulated in the video.

Here’s what I think:

1) Although the whole thing is sparked when the girls are ignored by a cute guy and all the guys are admittedly suddenly very interested in the Little Mix girls once they’ve cast their spell, none of the girls actually pay them the slightest bit of attention despite their new-found power. Instead, their focus all their attention on having fun with their friends. That’s actually a pretty damn feminist message if you ask me.

2) It’s clear from the scene where the popular girl pushes past the others and gives them a dirty look that we’re supposed to dislike her due to personality and rudeness, not because she’s pretty and popular. This isn’t a recreation of ‘You Belong With Me’; she’s clearly a bit of an asshole.

3) Alright, you’ve got me, fair point with this one. The girls make themselves hotter after being ignored by a guy, but when they witness more popular girls being unkind to a geeky guy, they use their magic to make the girls kinder, not the boy hotter, too. But wouldn’t you say that’s actually a better use of the magic?!

In conclusion, the video is problematic, but perhaps not quite as bad as I thought it would be. All that said, I do think it’s important we’re aware of the media we’re putting out there and consuming, even with – especially with! – stuff that’s just supposed to be cute and fun. In fact, it’s great that we’re talking about this at all because I feel like no-one was starting these discussions about Britney videos way back when. There’s no way this would have been a normal discussion or a common reaction to a music video even just a couple of years ago. Thanks to celebrities like Emma Watson and social media projects like @everydaysexism, we’ve really come such a long way in such a short space of time: feminism has a voice in the western world and the media it produces, not just in far-off battles. So if you think it’s sexist, please DO keep talking about why and continuing the debate.

Here’s the video – what do you think?


One thought on “Is Little Mix’s Black Magic Video Sexist?

  1. The huge irony for me is LM begin the video as totally adorable, book smart nerds who feel they need to use magic to turn into sirens to get the guys. Then they basically end up as bitchy as the girl that dissed them. They show concern for an unpopular guy but also -crucially- show no interest in him either, all 4 are only gunning for the most popular alpha male. They show NO concern for other girls, which would have been a nicer idea. We’ve mostly all known a queen bee at school, or bullies, but the message here seems to be purely about getting guys attention and showing other girls up, rather than believing in yourself and your own strengths/talents. I mean I don’t think it’s a horrible video, it’s vibrant and fun on one level and the concept lends itself to the song. I just think the whole thing reinforces the idea girls have to look pretty and be manipulative to get anywhere. A better idea would imo have been to keep the nerd girls as nerds and just get up to a few tricks. Rather than change themselves into party girls to ‘fit in’.

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