Leigh-Anne Pinnock says Little Mix were told to avoid labelling themselves as "feminists" because it was "too controversial".
The girl group – who found success when they won the 2011 series of UK talent show ‘The X Factor’ – have recently released several singles which praise female empowerment and strong women, but 27-year-old Leigh-Anne has said they were discouraged from doing so when they begun their careers, as ‘X Factor’ producers deemed it inappropriate.
She said: "At the beginning we didn’t use the word feminist. We were actually told not to just in case it was too controversial. To be fair, we were really young. I don’t think we were as clued-up as we are now on things. Now we’re proud to say we’re feminists. We are a lot wiser. Things that happened back then really make sense now."
Leigh-Anne claims the ‘Woman Like Me’ hitmakers were even told they wouldn’t do well on the show as no girl group had won before them, and although they didn’t realise how "bad that was" at the time, they now know it’s wrong to "put all women in a box".
Speaking to Glamour magazine, she added: "At the beginning, when we were on X-Factor, we were told, ‘girl bands didn’t do well!’ and we were nearly not going to get through. The producers didn’t want to put us through because they were saying, ‘what’s the point, they’re not going to achieve anything, they’re not going to do well, they are a girl band!’ But Tulisa actually stood up for us and we proved them wrong, right? We won the bloody show! We proved them wrong. At the time, we didn’t think too much into it but now we realise how bad that was. You can’t put all women in a box like that. Who’s to say we weren’t going to win? Who’s to say we weren’t going to do well? It is these things that made us realise we need to speak up more and speak about what happened to us then."