By HOLLY ROYCE

Last night I was watching X-factor and waiting with baited breath as they flashed up sneaky segments of Hayley Sillar, the girl from Coffs Harbour. I was sweating up a storm as I waited to see our home grown star shake her money maker on national television.

And yet today I have woken up with a giant rage ball in my stomach, because the response to Hayley’s performance on social media, proved that women are some of the worst perpetuators of sexism. How? By slut shaming.

Here’s a taste of Hayley’s courageous performance:

Now, Hayley’s performance could have been received in two ways:

(1) The audience could have admired Hayley for being a vivacious, strategic performer and thought “I am inspired by her confidence, I am going to incorporate some of that into my day and love myself more”.

OR, the way it went down.

(2) Where the audience called her a slut and applied negative connotations to the terms like self-love and confidence.

Screen Shot 2013 08 07 at 11.08.05 AM 290x385 2 very different reactions to this X Factor performance.

Holly Royce

I first met Hayley in high school. I didn’t always feel confident in being myself, but Hayley always did and people LOVED her for it. Hayley is honestly one of the people in my life who made me realise that if I could love myself for the big old weirdo that I was, other people would too.

Something felt a bit off about the way her whole performance was portrayed on X Factor last night – for example, following her performance was the suggested hashtag – “#sassymuch? Or #toomuch?”  It was like the starting pistol for slut shaming season had been fired.  Looking at twitter only confirmed what I had already suspected.

Hayley’s performance photo currently has more comments than any other performers photo on the X-factor Facebook page. “Slut” says one. “God, she loves herself,” claims another. “That looked more like an audition for a strip club.”

And probably the worst sorts of comments are these: “How could she do that in front of her father? If I was her father I would be so ashamed.”

Needless to say, I have it on very good authority that her father and entire family are actually very, very proud.  They are proud because they have a confident, friendly and happy daughter/sibling who is following her dreams.

I am positive if Hayley saw any of these comments she would laugh them off.

Ladies we need to get our shit together and support one another. Take a page out of Tina Fey’s book next time you’re going to call someone a slut, and just don’t.

—-

Mamamia’s Deputy Editor Lucy Ormonde was also watching X-Factor last night and had a different reaction to Holly. Here’s what she had to say about Hayley’s performance.

By LUCY ORMONDE

photo 3 290x385 2 very different reactions to this X Factor performance.

Lucy Ormonde

OK, so I don’t usually watch X-Factor (I’m more of a Masterchef girl myself) but I was at home with my flat mates and some friends last night, it happened to be playing in the background and I found my watching some all of it.

And, yeah, Hayley’s performance caught my attention.

And not in the way it caught the attention of the men around me.

To be honest, I felt sad. Sad that young women feel like they have to dress in short shorts and tight tops and kick their legs around a stage in order to get someone’s attention. I think it’s sad we live in a world where some girls  assumes her singing and dancing talents alone are not enough to get her through to the next round.

Going by the judge’s reaction to her performance (particularly the male judges) and the way her act was sold by the creators of the show on social media (#sassymuch?) – it might not have been. Would Hayley, dressed simply in jeans, a t-shirt and sneakers, singing the same song and showing off her dance skills have gotten though to the next round?

What’s happened to us as a community when this kind of super-sexualised performance is stock-standard to sell a song and dance routine? What’s happened when young women are made to feel that wearing anything but a tiny strip of material won’t be enough to warrant attention? What’s happened when My Little Pony has morphed from a horse into a two-legged woman with a box gap, who wears short skirts and over-the-knee boots?

When you compare Hayley’s performance to Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines video clip, Miley Cyrus’ We Can’t Stop or almost anything from Rhianna, it’s mild. G-rated even. But how long until young girls start thinking that this is what singing is about now?

I’m wishing Hayley the very best in the rest of the competition. She’s a beautiful, obviously talented girl. I agree with Holly that the reaction on Twitter was disgusting and deplorable, but I  just hope – for her sake and for other young girls out there – she makes it through on her singing ability and not just for her “nasty” performance (as one judge commented last night).

What do you think of Hayley’s performance? Was the angry response fueled by how X-Factor pushed her performance on Twitter? Do you think there is too much pressure on young singers to be ‘sexy’?



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