We’ve partnered with Simple who’ve teamed up with Little Mix to take a stand against online hate and bullying, wipe away unkind words and empower everyone to #ChooseKindness. We caught up with Little Mix about the campaign and their experiences with online hate.
DTL: Obviously, you guys get a lot of crap in the press about what you wear and your message, have you found the same online?
Perrie – ‘It’s always online. The majority of the stick that we get comes from social media, from people behind their computer screens, their phone screens. In comments section of articles and stuff, it’s just all the time.’
DTL: Who’s got the best clapbacks to that kind of stuff?
Leigh-Anne – ‘Jade definitely! She always knows what to say!’
DTL: A lot of young people deal with online abuse every day – what would you say to them?
Perrie – ‘It’s really hard because when people are being cruel online, it’s hard to deal with. When you are not that kind of person and someone is acting that way, you just don’t know why someone would want to say something nasty or cruel. You just have to stay confident in yourself, and maybe try to talk to someone close who will listen to you.’
DTL: Did you ever used to look at negative comments online about yourselves?
Jade – ‘Oh yeah. I think we’ve all been guilty of looking at the comments, and I think at one point we used to obsess over it, and that’s obviously a really unhealthy way to live your life. It’s how you start to get more insecure about yourself, and over the years we’ve really learnt how to not let that negativity in, and how bad that was for us. It’s now kind of out of sight, out of mind – we try not to read it any more. It’s great that Instagram lets you block words and things you don’t want to see. It helps us surround ourselves with much more positive stuff.’
DTL: The photoshoot you guys did for ‘Strip’ deals with a lot of this – what would you say is the worst thing anyone has ever said to you that you remember?
Leigh Anne – ‘I think for me if anyone has ever said ‘you are not good enough’ or has questioned my ability. Like if you do a bum note and people comment on that, or you miss a dance move. It happens! But it does really stick in my mind because it’s just questioning if you are good at what you do.’
DTL: Recently, you guys have started to talk about your struggles with mental health – What made you want to start talking about it?
Perrie – ‘I think it’s because we’re in a good place right now, and when you are in a good headspace, you can talk about these things a little easier. Hopefully, it will just help someone else out there who has gone through the same thing.’
DTL: Why is talking about it so important? How can we all start talking about it more?
Jade – ‘I think the more you talk about it, the more everyone does, it starts to normalise it. It becomes a less taboo subject to talk about and in doing so, helps a lot of people. I think for a lot of time, mental health wasn’t really spoken about enough, and could escalate because no one spoke about it.
Jesy – ‘Yeah and I think the more you talk about it, it’s like a weight being lifted off your shoulders. I think especially with social media, we have this huge platform which we want to use to talk about this kind of stuff and be positive. I guess we hope it would help combat some of the negativity online as well.’
DTL: Do you think the stuff you’ve had to deal with online has contributed to this?
Jade – ‘I think one of the main reasons I wanted to talk about it more is, you come out the other side of dealing with this stuff, and when you’re in a better place you want to. Also I think we are being listened to more, and people are starting to take notice and understand how much of an impact big artists can have, and we hope it can only help.’
DTL: What do you think can or should be done to deal with online abuse? How can we make the internet a more positive place?
Perrie – ‘In real life, rather than online, if you see somebody in the street, you’d be more likely to compliment them than scream at them. We think a compliment goes a long way. We just believe in making people feel good about themselves. Instead of tearing somebody down and throwing negative stuff at them 24/7; pick them up and make them feel amazing! It’s the same online, reach out to people and let them know how great you think they are instead of being negative.’
Leigh Anne – ‘More needs to be done by other people to combat it too. Like there should be more moderation from platforms and stuff. And maybe bigger consequences for people that do it often, because the consequences for those that go through it can be huge, the biggest.’
Jade – ‘Yeah the effect that it has on people’s mental health can be massive, and there seems like there isn’t enough being done by everyone at the moment to stop it from happening.
DTL: What would you say to someone who posts the negative stuff online?
Jade – ‘The majority of the time, the people are spreading hate online have a lot of issues themselves in their personal lives. It takes a lot of energy to go out of your way to be awful to somebody else, so obviously the root of that is them feeling crap about themselves. So, they need to talk to someone, get some help, find a way of channelling all that energy into something positive.
Jesy – ‘It’s so much easier to be kind’.
DTL: What do you think they can learn from the #choosekindness campaign?
Perrie – ‘I think, just be kind. That’s the vibe. I don’t think a troll really realises what impact they have on people when they say something nasty, even if it’s in passing for them. The impact of it really has to be understood, and the campaign will hopefully do that, and empower people to be kinder.’
DTL: In the spirit of #choosekindess, what’s the kindest thing anyone has ever done for you?
Leigh-Anne – ‘The kindest thing, for me, would be the girls and how they are such a positive support system in my life. When I come to work, I know I have three friends to come to. That’s a really nice feeling.’
Watch how Little Mix wipe away unkind words and check out the video from the #ChooseKindness campaign below
We’ve teamed up with Simple who have teamed up with Little Mix to tackle online hate. For more information on #ChooseKindness, click here.