UNILAD Voices is a new series where our writers argue in favour of an opinion they’re truly passionate about. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Now more than ever, we need positive female influences who can cut past the crap and stand up for what they believe in.
Enter: Little Mix. The group released their fifth studio album LM5 on Friday (November 16) and with it, the music video for their single Strip.
A song which empowers women, the video portrays them at their most vulnerable – naked, makeup-less and covered in insults they have been branded with over the years since they shot to fame in 2011.
You can watch the video below:
The group – made up of members Perrie Edwards, Jesy Nelson, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, and Jade Thirwall – regularly use their platform to encourage people to be true to themselves and embrace their inner (and outer) beauty.
And this music video is no different; the opening shots show close-ups of the girls’ faces, visibly recoiling in an attempt to brush off the hands of the makeup artists surrounding them.
The screen then cuts to each of them naked, with minimal (if any) makeup on, while the lyrics make clear the point they have been trying to make for years – that self-love, body positivity and confidence are so much more worthwhile than superficial beauty.
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Take off all my makeup cos I love what’s under it Rub off all your words don’t give a fuck I’m over it Jiggle all this weight, yeah you know I love all of this Finally love me naked Sexiest when I’m confident. Thank you for being part of this incredible journey with us. #LM5 featuring #Strip is coming Friday 16.11.18 The girls x
They drive their point home in the chorus:
Take off all my makeup cause I love what’s under it / Rub off all your words don’t give a f*ck I’m over it
Jiggle all this weight, yeah you know I love all of this / Finally love me naked / Sexiest when I’m confident
Further emphasising the judgements they have faced throughout their careers, the only things covering their bodies are words. Not just words, but body-shaming, slut-shaming, all-round-shaming insults.
Words such as ‘ugly’, ‘fat’, ‘slutty’ and ‘talentless’ are emblazoned across the bodies of Perrie, Jesy, Leigh-Anne, and Jade – making clear the obstacles they have faced throughout their seven years in Little Mix.
But Piers Morgan opted to brush past this, instead expressing his so-called outrage at the group’s decision to lay themselves bare yesterday morning (November 19).
Talking on Good Morning Britain, which he hosts alongside Susanna Reid, the presenter said:
Oh god these people. What is empowering about this? I mean seriously – get your kit off, airbrush yourself to within one inch of your lives and put a bunch of horrible words on yourself.
What’s the point of it other than using nudity to sell albums? It’s stripping off to sell records. It’s using sex to sell records – that’s it there’s nothing else to that. I don’t get it.
It’s at this point Susanna stepped in to give her view – that Little Mix are attempting to hit back at bullies and promote body positivity.
Obviously, Piers had something to say about this and interjected, saying:
On their naked, airbrushed bodies that have now got attention for them all round the world, in almost every TV and news print vehicle….
Here’s a great idea girls, if you want to really empower yourselves, get naked and put the words ‘slut’ all over your body.
First of all, I want to make it clear that Piers has no say whatsoever in what women should or shouldn’t do to empower themselves. Why should he?
Has he ever, as a woman, had to fight his way to the top of an extremely male-dominated industry? Has he ever been slut-shamed because of the way he dresses? Has he ever been told he isn’t good enough, simply because of his gender?
Because Little Mix have. Time and time again, the group have had to fight back and defend their actions – whether it be for the way they look, the way they talk or the songs they sing.
You only need to look at Piers’ reaction to see why this video was very much needed; it is so much more than four women stripping and the fact that I even have to argue that point is a sad reflection on society itself.
Yes Piers, they got naked for a music video. Yes, their lyrics reinforce how sexy they feel when they’re confident. And yes, they feel sexy naked. So what?
It’s so typical that a person who’s notoriously known for his old fashioned notions of masculinity would completely miss the point Little Mix are so clearly making. Take a step back Piers, and realise that this video is so much bigger than your small mind.
The fact they’ve had to get naked to draw attention to an issue that should be getting attention anyway, is such a shame. And Piers missed that with his severely misguided comments.
Proving my point, Little Mix enrolled the help of inspirational women to shoot the video. Women who are body-positive, sex-positive, feminist icons and basically just incredible.
Explaining their decision, the group wrote:
We’ve [loved] sharing these amazing women’s stories & we have a surprise. We invited them to be part of our #Strip music video cos this song is about empowering people to be who they are
Among these women were Nimco Ali, founder of Daughters of Eve – a non-profit organisation that works to end female genital mutilation, and Maxim Magnus, a transgender woman and role model in the LGBTQ community.
We’ve ❤ sharing these amazing women’s stories & we have a surprise 👀 We invited them to be part of our #Strip music video cos this song is about empowering people to be who they are. Thanks @Rankinphoto for bringing our vision to life in partnership w/ @YouTubeMusic OUT FRIDAY! pic.twitter.com/lgegy6XHKg
— Little Mix (@LittleMix) November 14, 2018
Also starring in the video were Megan Jayne Crabbe, who promotes body-positivity and speaks openly about her experience with eating disorders on her Instagram @bodyposipanda, and journalist Bryony Gordon, a mental health and body positivity campaigner.
The single is just one of the many feminist anthems on LM5, with members of the group saying this is ‘the album we’ve always wanted to make.’
Speaking to Billboard, Jade explained:
For this record, I guess we were just feeling a bit more ballsy. We’ve gained confidence as writers over the years, and for this album in particular we definitely wanted to have strong messages about female empowerment and being a woman.
And the album reflects this statement to a T, with Joan of Arc, Woman’s World, and Wasabi (to name just a few) all emphasising the importance of female empowerment.
In an interview with Attitude, Jesy hit back at those who criticised the way the band dress, stating that they should be allowed to feel confident no matter what they wear.
You should be able to be whatever kind of woman you want to be. You should be able to wear what you bloody want to wear and rock it with confidence. As long as you feel good about yourself, that’s all that matters. It just annoys me. We’ll wear a leotard and they’re like [pulls a face].
But I’m thinking, ‘Do you say that to the people at the Olympics: that they’re too provocative?’ No, you don’t, but because we’re dancing, ‘Oh, you’re too sexy!’
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@jesynelson takes the throne as @littlemix lead out new December issue with four collectible covers – available digitally and to order globally now! 🏳️🌈 __________________________________________ Photography: @zoemcconnell Styling: @JosephKocharian Hair: @aaroncarlohair Make-up: @heidnorthmakeup @jesynelson wears @prettylittlething @kay_ldn @chris_reid @peforman in @balmain and @moschino #littlemix #jesynelson #attitude #lgbt #pride #pop #music #ally
So Piers, in answer to your question: ‘Why don’t we stop pretending that getting your kit off is feminist empowerment?’, I have this response:
Why don’t you stop pretending that the only thing you took from this video was four women ‘getting their kit off’ and admit that there’s a much more profound message behind it?
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).