Sophie Heawood: Lily, I love the music, but you are no feminist

Share
Related Topics

Last year, a friend of mine received Lily Allen's album as a birthday present from her dad. This father hadn't been around much in his daughter's life, but he'd heard that
Alright, Still was the sort of CD that a girl might like for her 21st birthday.

"Thanks, Dad," said my friend. "Lily bullied me at school actually... But, um, yeah, thanks."

Oh, the perils of popstardom, especially when you've been to 11 schools, as Lily has well, you're bound to have offended somebody, somewhere. But as Lily has grown, so have her insults, with fellow famous women now bearing the brunt of the insults previously reserved for her fellow schoolgirls.

All of which makes her a very peculiar judge for the Orange Broadband Prize for Literature, as was announced last week. Because the Orange is an award given by women to other women and if there's one thing Lily doesn't do, it's sisterhood.

Sure, she has helped other people with their careers Kate Nash got a record deal after a leg-up from Lil. And Lily is full of praise for how far her mother, Oscar-nominated film producer Alison Owens, has come in a man's world. But standing shoulder to shoulder with other women in a united front? I'd be surprised if she even makes it through the judging process without falling out with the rest of the panel.

It's not that the 22-year-old is lacking the intellectual credentials to be a judge, as some critics claimed last week. I've met Lily and she's clearly extremely intelligent. Her godmother, the novelist Susie Boyt, says that Lily is a keen reader and grew up in a house full of books great. The prize's founder, Kate Mosse, says they chose the pop star because "we always try to seek a broad selection of ages and experiences". Also great.

It's not that I don't like Lily's music I gave her album a five-star review when it came out and I stand by that, because it's a brilliant record that caused a sea change for women in pop. But, like Thatcher with her all-male cabinet, Lily would like to be the only one.

Go on YouTube to find the Channel 4 clips of Ms Allen judging a battle of the bands competition on mobileAct Unsigned. Watch the boy band come on, see how she flirts with the lead singer, takes his phone number, says the band are great. Watch the girl band come on, see how Lily's demeanour turns cold. "I want to say no, because you're good-looking girls, but yes you're through," she says grudgingly.

Sent backstage to mentor the girls, it gets worse. Lily picks on one individually, asking "Is that dress from Kate Moss at Topshop?" The girl blushes yes and looks ashamed. Lily sneers and turns her back on her. It's painful to watch such clichd, textbook bitchiness.

Allen is notorious for starting media battles with Girls Aloud, her gripes being largely that she thought Nicola was too ugly, Cheryl too pretty, and Sarah, whose looks might be classed as somewhere in between, simply "vile". Getting Lily to front the Orange prize is a bit like asking Jeremy Clarkson to run a petition for cyclists' rights, or seeing if that nice chap Herod can pop round to judge the Bonny Baby competition.

Of course, looked at from another angle, the Orange is all about pitting women against other women something she excels at. Not to mention that you only have to like one novelist out of 30 which leaves you with a good 29 others to slag off. Perhaps Lily will be in her element after all.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Software Developer (Java /C# Programmer)- London

£30000 - £45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A global investment management fi...

Senior Network Engineer-(CCIE, CCNP, Cisco, London)

£65000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Engineer-(CCIE, CC...

Senior Network Analyst - (CCIE, Cisco, CISSP)

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Analyst - (CCIE, C...

Senior Network Engineer-(Design, Implementation, CCIE)

£60000 - £80000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Engineer-(Design, ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letters: The West flounders in the Middle East morass

Independent Voices
David Tennant as Hamlet  

To vote no or not to vote no, that is the question... Although do celebrities really have the answer?

David Lister
All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition