If you’ve been living under a rock (or aren’t well-versed in the internet, reality television, pop culture, or the latest pop hits), you probably haven’t heard of Fifth Harmony. The girl-group, formed on the second season of The X-Factor USA in 2012, were the underdogs – five strangers thrown together in a few hours by the judges to become one powerhouse of vocals and compete against other singing groups that have been together for years. Since then, Fifth Harmony has risen above skepticism and being written off by fans of the show by finishing third on X-Factor, being signed to two record labels (including Simon Cowell’s Syco Music), winning an MTV VMA in 2014 and being nominated for another in 2015, releasing an album and wrapping up their nation-wide album tour later this year. Made up of five gorgeous women of colour, each member of Fifth Harmony is constantly preaching equality, female unity, and self-confidence within their music, interviews, and online social media presence.
The five fabulous girls are:
Ally Hernandez – 21 years old – Mexican
Normani Kordei – 19 years old – African American
Camila Cabello – 18 years old – Cuban
Lauren Jauregi – 19 years old – Cuban
Fifth Harmony have released 4 singles since their stint on X-Factor (you may remember hearing Miss Movin’ On on the radio a few years ago or recognise the catchy saxophones from their current single Worth It ft. Kid Ink). Not only are their songs catchy and make you want to get up and shake what you’ve got, but behind every song on their debut album Reflection is an empowering message about loving yourself, making inspiring women your role models, empowering women of all shapes and sizes and staying true to yourself. Deezer.com reviewed Reflection and interviewed the girls, applauding their pro-feminist themes in their songs: “Inspiring girls to love themselves and follow their hearts is a major theme on Reflection, and in Fifth Harmony’s overall mission as a group.” Dinah says, “Nowadays so many girls are really harsh online and always bringing each other down, so one of the things we try to do is help bring them back together.” And as the group’s evolved and grown since forming in summer 2012, their girl-empowering message has become even more nuanced and true to life. “We’re all about girl power, but this time we’re showing our vulnerable side too,” says Normani of Reflection. “We want to girls to know that it’s okay to have your soft moments—it doesn’t mean you’re not strong.””
The entire album is one big girl-power anthem, dropping bombshell lyrics such as “Boy I ain’t talking ’bout you, I’m talking to my own reflection” mid-way through a song about praising a mysterious figure (whom you first assume is a male) saying they’re “looking fresh” and “you can get it any day you want, and can’t nobody ever tell you no” in their single Reflection. Their first album single BO$$ praises women in power such as Michelle Obama and encourage girls to be their own boss and that females are just as worthy, if not more so, of being CEO’s and world leaders – and Brave Honest Beautiful detail how all girls can aspire to be as great as the likes of music legends Beyonce, Madonna and Rihanna. Worth It speaks for itself – as does the rest of the album.
Constantly encouraging girl power, womens rights and equality, Fifth Harmony are feminist role models for all females to look up to. Not only do they sing praise for their idols being independent ladies, they also openly speak their minds on feminism and unity frequently in interviews, shutting down sexist questions and attempts at the media to twist their words into cat fights and girl vs. girl comments. Constantly being slagged by sexist comments on social media ranging from their outfits to their choreography on stage to who they are rumoured to be dating, the girls don’t let it get to them and keep on preaching self-confidence to their fans (and haters).
Youngest 5H member Camila Cabello made a video in response to controversy surrounding the costumes in the BO$$ music video, stating “Part of the whole stand that we’re making with woman empowerment is the fact that society has a lot to say on what should make women feel good and what does and doesn’t look good, and they think they have a right to tell us… at the end of the day we’re the only ones who are entitled to our bodies and you’re allowed to wear whatever makes you feel good and confident. We’re not encouraging all women to dress like that – we’re encouraging all women to dress how they want to dress in order to feel confident and good about themselves.” Rounding up the video by saying “Girls, we gotta stand firm on that (feminism)!”, the message that these girls are putting out to society and young girls who look up to them in such an understood and mature manner is something that all feminists can strive to reproduce. Taking a page out of Fifth Harmony’s book of empowerment and supporting them for all that they represent is taking another step towards gender equality.