Last week I had to hastily exit Topshop in a fit of despair after realising a pair of shoes I had been absent mindedly coveting were in fact an exact replica of the ones I'd tried and failed to procure by begging my Mother to buy me circa 1996.
Just a couple of days later I was watching Little Mix on the X Factor (I have literally no excuse for this) and realised that, if you squinted, they looked EXACTLY like the Spice Girls in about the same year. Furthermore, they were wearing what was essentially office wear as stage garb a la nineties pop group Eternal. And there's a Bridget Jones sequel. The evidence all points to one thing - the nineties are back.
Of course, I've known for a while, but I've been in denial (that rhymes - rappers take note). And one of the main reasons I've been trying so hard to ignore the resurgence of the decade that bought us centre parted hair and heroin chic is because of the beyond-tedious trend of faux-lesbian public displays for affection, otherwise known as female celebrities pretending to get off with each other.
Everyone's at it - Rita Ora and Kate Moss, Cara Delevingne and Sienna Miller, they're all practically leaping on each other's lips as soon as a camera's vaguely pointed in their direction and it gives me the rage. As I read an interview this week with Mel B from the actual Spice Girls, commenting on the kissing techniques of the other girls in the band, I was trying to work out what offends me about it so much.
Was it, I wondered, because it's an affront to genuine lesbianism? Well, no. I always think of sexuality as being a fairly fluid thing and if you're me (and I am) you aren't immune to feelings of lust towards your lady friends, particularly after a few Chardonnays. There is of course the argument that these acts are more often than not undertaken for the pleasure/titillation of surrounding male witnesses but, if I am honest, I can't bring myself to be irritated by that, either.
Was it, then, because it's so desperately attention-seeking? No. Celebrities court attention. That is what they do. To derive offence from their propensity for making a spectacle of themselves is akin to bollocking the Court Jester for wearing a stupid hat.
Then, it dawned on me. I was offended because of the expectation that the images capturing the girl-on-girl snog action would cause offence. The accompanying captions in tabloids always use phrases like 'cheeky', 'sexy' and 'shocked' (usually in relation to 'onlookers' who seem distinctly nonplussed).
We're currently experiencing a culture where female pop starlets are constantly trying to 'out-do' one another with more and more elaborate acts of plastic sexuality (see - Britney, Miley) and this whole 'kissing your gal pal' trend plays into it in a distinctly unoriginal and, dare I say it, boring way.
So to women in the music industry I say this - Crystal Renn (plus size supermodel) once famously spoke about the 'fashion pendulum' which swings wildly between trends so that heels become higher and higher until the model is essentially walking 'on point' like a ballet dancer and there's no more height to add. When that happens we revert to the flat gladiator sandal once more because the heel has nowhere left to go.
Performing in your pants/licking metal items in an act of questionable hygiene in your music videos/snogging your band mates for the paps represents a twelve inch heel, complete with platform sole, in the field of attention-seeking.
Therefore, ladies, if you want to be truly 'shocking', if you REALLY want the public to sit up and take notice, I'm afraid you are going to have to make like a gladiator sandal and say something interesting.
- More about:
- Ballet Dancers
- Fashion Models
- Girl Bands
- The Spice Girls
- X Factor