Female with an attitude

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T he posters - catchphrase, "Buy girls, bye boys" - are deliberately combative. Polydor Records, which oversees the potentially short-lived career of the female Pop Rivals winners, Girls Aloudis trying to stir up a good old pop ruck between their act and One True Voice, the male "rivals" voted for by viewers in the reality pop series with a gender war twist. Both bands release their debut singles today, and it's a foregone conclusion that one of them will be the Christmas one. Because the bookies favour the boys, Polydor has come out swinging literally: in an interview in last week's OK!

It's Blur vs Oasis with less body hair, and as that 90s slanging match proved, everyone enjoys a pop grudgefest. In no way, of course, is the campaign an attempt to kick up interest in a format - reality-pop - that the music industry knows to be on its last legs. Nor has it anything to do with Polydor and One True Voice's label, Jive, having committed to a hefty spend back when Pop Idol was flying high. All right, it is. But you knew that. Since the advent of reality TV and its first casualties, Hear'Say, every viewer has Female with an attitude to discuss the minutiae of marketing like a pro.

What used to be concealed from the public for reasons of decency is now common knowledge. The slug-out between Girls Aloud and One True Voice is a last-chance saloon for bothreality-pop and the Christmas -one tradition.

Female with an attitude

Tragically, the latter has become a shadow of its former cut-throat self. Paul Williams of the trade magazine Music Week says: "The race for the Christmas one isn't much fun now. There used to be five or six contenders and you'd trace their progress week by week.

Female with an attitude

Now you know who it will be, and the single goes straight in at one. That said, who cares who wins, as long as it's not Westlife? Despite all this, Girls Aloud could, in my view, overcome these dismal beginnings and be the first girl band to matter since the Spice Girls - and not simply because the current batch, such as the remarkably lifelike Atomic Kitten, are so beige they're screaming to be annihilated by anyone capable of expressing opinions.

The five Jennys from the block of Girls Aloud do seem to possess something beyond a need to validate themselves through fame. Nearly a generation younger than the Spices, they've grown up with the girl power aesthetic, which was always more than just a label from which to hang product endorsements.

Female with an attitude

In music, it's nigh on impossible to find such a female outside the gynaecological realm of hip-hop at the moment, and it's about time pop reclaimed the territory. Who knows anything about even the widely liked Sugababes except that one of them is called Mutya? The initial proof of their intentions is the single, Sound of the Underground, an icy confection very different from the normal run of girl-band things.

Female with an attitude

It is being championed by Radio 1's Jo Whiley, who usually throws her weight behind tuneless indie chancers, and others in the industry are enthusiastic. It must be said that One True Voice are unwittingly colluding by releasing a Bee Gees cover version that does their inherent gormlessness no favours. But no matter. There's a groundswell of support for Girls Aloud is it too late to change that name?

It would be nice if what fans aspired to was not the dumbed-down blonde Topshop fillies of Atomic Kitten but a female act with attitude and opinions. It's not as ideal as, say, "attitude, opinions and musical genius", but it's a start. If the band can sing, which this lot can, it's a bonus. To put it more zingily, "Buy girls, bye boys". If Girls Aloud make it, and then manage to keep the public's goodwill - even harder, as former Polydor labelmates Hear'Say can attest - they'll have the chance to add their tuppence ha'penny worth to young girls' lives.

Their handlers' line is that they want girls "to want to be them". That may sound like another zappy soundbite, but being the girls other little girls want to be is a responsibility.

Female with an attitude

Will they live up to it? This article is more than 18 years old. Caroline Sullivan. Mon 16 Dec Reuse this content.

Female with an attitude Female with an attitude

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Sexual knowledge and attitude as predictors of female sexual satisfaction