Little Mix have a new song coming out, it is called “Black Magic”, with which I have 2 quite separate and specific issues with (besides the genre, I confess they are somewhat of a guilty pleasure). The first with the video, and the second with the song itself.
The bigger issue, with the video, is probably something more people can relate to, and care about. It is in the style of a 90s sitcom based in an American High School, seems harmless enough. The girls play 4 nerd/geek types that get picked on and ignored until they find a book that teaches them magic (more on that, in the second half). The first thing they do? They conform. They change the way they look and dress to match the styles of the ‘cool’ kids, and strut back into school with short skirts and fancy clothes. Everyone looks at them, and they boy they like starts to notice. (See the images at the top for the transformation, also notice the mysterious disappearing glasses) They also start taking revenge on one of the cool girls by magically making her fart in front of everyone.
Is this what they want to tell young girls to do? After spending the early part of their career battling against those that ridiculed one of the band members for her size, and championing the ‘be yourself’ attitude, they release a video telling their target audience (school age girls), that in order to be happy, they must conform. This is something I shall be actively teaching my daughter not to do. (One of my proudest moments with my daughter was coming home to discover that my wife had taught her which of my socks had Wolverine on.) Also, taking revenge makes them no better than those attacking them. Just because they are different, doesn’t mean you can pick on them. Just because they did it to you, doesn’t mean you can do it to them.
Don’t get me wrong, if my little girl grows up loving handbags and shoes and wants to hang around with other girls using ‘whatever’ and ‘like… so… totally’ as every other word, then so be it. As long as she is happy and enjoying herself, and not doing it just to ‘fit in’
Zachary Levi (of Chuck fame) said this: “If someone calls you a nerd, the correct response is thank you.” “Being a nerd means you are excited by something. Jocks are just sports nerds. Girls into hair, makeup and clothes, are just fashion nerds. If we accept them like that, then they can accept us.”
I am so happy that the stuff I am into is becoming cool and accepted. There is a danger within the geek community that we shun those who only like these things because of the films and shows coming out now. I know I was guilty of this. I have a t-shirt with Gambit (an X-Man) on it. I used to enjoy wearing it as a test. It would separate those who knew the X-Men from the books or cartoon, from those who had only seen the films (as Gambit is not in them). This is wrong, we should be embracing those who have only seen the movies and show them the books. ‘Oh, you liked the Avengers movie? Cool… Here are a stack of stories just as fun.’ Or, ‘You know the writer and director of that also did a cool show called Firefly, that was cancelled after one season… DAMN YOU FOX!!!’ *Runs and hides in the corner crying*….
Ahem…. The point is, treat others as you would like to be treated. There is no better way to freak out someone who is being mean to you, by being nice to them, and be yourself. Changing to fit in will not make you happy. You’re friends should be those who share your interests, or at least accepts them as part of you, and like you anyway.
This is already quite a long post, but I want to touch briefly on my second point. Little Mix’s use of magic.
I enjoy stories with magic. I have played a game for years called “Magic: The Gathering”. I watched Buffy when I was younger. I will read stories to my child that involves magic. I am not against ‘magic’. My issue is the blasé attitude to magic in the song, again aimed at suggestible young people. In the stories I enjoy, the magic is used either in very clear fantastical settings and there are consequences. Also, the term ‘black magic’ references the darker, more sinister magics (or a box of chocolates, I know which I’d prefer). I am not saying that as a direct result of watching this video kids will rush out and summon all kinds of creatures and hell beasts. What I am saying is, I do believe there are forces beyond our understanding, and dabbling in such things without any understanding can lead to consequences we may not understand. Also, messing around something like this and seeing what can be perceived as results, can lead to delving deeper into something you shouldn’t.
So there you go. There are lots of artists who have videos and songs that I wouldn’t want my daughter watching and emulating, I never thought Little Mix would be one of them.