In solidarity with people who choose to work on bank holidays, my daughter and I went to a Little Mix concert on Easter Sunday. We ate way too many chocolate eggs in the Uber and arrived at the O2 three hours early for the matinee performance. (Not because I’m insane, but because that’s the time it said to get there on the ticket). We used the time to queue – a beloved pastime of British children like mine – for merchandise. We branded ourselves in T-shirts and wandered around observing the thousands of other mums and six-year-olds dressed exactly like us, many of whom were in full drag make-up.
There were also clusters of glittery, miniskirted tweens and a lone licensed vendor standing among them shouting: “Ice cream! Ice cream!” like something out of How To Catch A Predator. As they’d been instructed to do outside school gates or in a parking lot, the girls avoided him. I was so proud. That’s right, young ladies, he only wants one thing: £5.50.
The first support act were JAGMAC, a group of six siblings whose parents had a lot of unprotected sex in the 90s. Kids are savvy social media experts now. Between songs, the cutest one would say: “Hey there, beautiful people, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram! Please tweet us and we’ll reply to EVERY MESSAGE, please!” I’m pretty sure they Snapchatted some of their own show. Look, I’m a very old woman. JAGMAC are working it and I’ve added them on MySpace.
Full of eggs and oestrogen, the whole place lost their sh*t when Little Mix came on. Perrie, Jesy, Leigh-Anne and Jade levitated in harnesses and silk pyjamas, which were promptly snatched off by their all-male dance troupe. In varying cuts of barely-there matching costumes, they twerked and climbed all over the boys. I’m about as liberal as they come and even I had to take a moment to decide how I felt about an arena full of small children watching such a relentlessly sexual performance.
I watched as one of them mounted a dancer and thought: “Well, at least she’s on top!”. I laughed out loud when they donned small capes for modesty to sing a ballad, presumably because people are more emotive if they think you might be wearing underpants. In its entirety, the show is a feminist piece. I cried maternal tears throughout. I get it. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to look and feel like a grown woman when I was young. That’s one reason why it’s important to hold adults who take advantage of that fully accountable. These are babies looking up to talented, beautiful, powerful older girls and fantasising about what it might be like to be them one day.
So even though it felt a bit like Ass Wednesday, Pussover, The Res-Erection, Palms-on-the-floor Sunday (too far), my kid walked away from that concert feeling like a boss. I love Little Mix and I always have. They’ve got some great messages. And no underpants.