Little Mix Slammed for their Outfits in Debut Performance of ‘Shout Out to My Ex’

I was embarrassingly excited for Little Mix’s debut performance of ‘Shout Out to My Ex’ on The X Factor results show last Sunday evening.

The performance was, in my opinion, empowering and incredibly ‘feel good’. The chorus is catchy, the whole performance was delivered with high energy and it powerfully projected a message of independence. I also liked the subtle nod to the LGBTQ community. The female back-up dancers were sporting tops with ‘exes’ names and the selection included both male and female names.

Simon Cowell tweeted that it was ‘one of the best performances ever seen on @TheXFactor.’

However, the praise on twitter was short lived as trolls began to comment on the girls’ appearances rather than their performance. One male tweeted that ‘Little Mix [were] dressed like strippers #Xfactor’ and he was not alone in his opinion. Another male said ‘I do like them but why do Little Mix always look like they've fallen into an 80s' prostitute's wardrobe in the dark?”

Also, in a recent interview, former Spice girl Mel C revealed that she thought the singers were becoming ‘too provocative’ and ‘raunchy.’ She said, ‘I loved [Little Mix] on the X Factor. I just thought they were so different, but they are getting more provocative. To me, they were kind of the closest thing to the Spice Girls we’ve seen. They are all gorgeous and great singers, but they weren’t sexy and it’s got more and more that way.’

Little Mix’s performance is something I was intrigued to watch, and judging by this explosive response on twitter I was not alone. The X Factor is a show that would always excite me as a child, particularly when I had the opportunity to ogle at One Direction every Saturday night (don’t deny that you were a diehard One Direction fan too once). However I will admit that in recent years the X Factor has become very ‘samey’ and frankly, quite boring… until the controversy of Sunday night.

The song ‘Shout out to my ex’ is rumoured to be about lead vocalist Perrie Edwards’ split from the 1D superstar, Zayn Malik. The couple’s engagement came to an abrupt end in 2015 following a single text message (ouch!). As the rumours turned out to be true, the girl band responded by singing a powerful, Taylor-Swift-level-break-up-anthem that certainly did not disappoint.

I personally think it’s appalling that the sole focus of Little Mix’s performance has fallen upon their outfits and not on the fact that they soared to the top of the charts and have continued to stay there for 2 consecutive weeks. Little Mix don’t fall into the skinny, tall, generic female popstar stereotype; they are different shapes and sizes. They also promote ‘girl power’ and are uplifting and refreshing. In my eyes they are very good role models for young girls today.

Controversially, the X Factor has seen many topless, male back up dancers in its time which have been aired and enjoyed without comment (which can be seen below in 2 Shoes’ performance of ‘Raining Men’).

I think it’s disappointing that there is a continued double standard for male and female performances. Little Mix’s outfits were a costume which contributed to the performance as much as the lighting or dancers did. The focus should have been on the uplifting and commendable performance rather than their appearance.

Watch their performance here:

Edited by: Amy Hawthorne