Nineties girl band All Saints have revealed they were victims of ‘rampant sexism’ during the height of their fame.
The band had an impressive run of nine top ten singles during their career, but in an interview with the BBC, they spoke about an incident which took place during the taping for an episode of Top of the Pops, reports The Independent.
The group say that they were asked to take off their tops – so they could be shot from the shoulders up – to give viewers the impression they were performing in the nude.
“The vision was that we looked naked and we didn’t want that vision,” said band member Natalie Appleton.
Melanie Blatt highlighted the fact that even now, female artists are pressurised to sexualise themselves in ways they may not feel comfortable.
Because [Top of the Pops] was such a huge show, we were told ‘if you don’t do it, you don’t get to go on the show’.
In the end they had to compromise with the producers, agreeing to drop their tops to their armpits so it would look like they were topless – but were then labelled as being ‘difficult’.
The band also spoke about the double standards they have experienced in the music industry and also popular culture’s attitude towards female artists.
A lot of Britpop groups would act very arrogantly and stroppy – but that was never seen as a negative thing.
We weren’t half as bad – but if we didn’t want to smile one day, or we weren’t interested in doing an interview, we’d be labelled as stroppy cows.
When questioned about the incident a BBC spokesman said they couldn’t comment on an alleged incident from 20 years ago, adding:
Today we seek to ensure that everyone working at the BBC does so in an environment in which they are comfortable.
It does seem as though things have improved over the last two decades – the band have a new album, Red Flag out and Natalie admitted there has been no ‘master plan’ and no one ‘forcing their vision’ onto the band.
But, as ever with issues involving the portrayal of women in the media, there is still plenty of room for improvement.