It is a truth universally acknowledged that whenever women unite in television observational documentaries or entertainment shows to achieve a purpose, their steps will be dogged by Here Come the Girls, sung by Sugababes. You know exactly the song that I mean: “Da da da da da da, da da da da da da, here come the girls…” and so on, forever and ever until the last syllable of recorded time.
Here Come the Girls (or just Girls, as Sugababes called it) is a suppurating bubo of a song, made famous by a series of witless television adverts for Boots. The “girls” in these commercials are dim, materialistic thumb-heads who reject thoughtful Christmas gifts in favour of three-for-two tat and who invade a restaurant and ruin the enjoyment of other diners.
These ads are sexist, not just towards women but to men. You must have seen the flu one, a conspiratorial, smug thing where two sniffling women discuss buying remedies for their ailing menfolk. The implication being that men are all weedy cry-babies who don’t have proper flu at all. Men are hopeless, aren’t they, is the nudging subtext. They make a big deal of having teeny little colds. They don’t suffer like women do. But women still have to carry on because everyone depends on us, don’t they? Boo hoo.
And all to the background of Here Come the Girls. Oh, if only this excrescence was confined to these commercials. But its spores have spread throughout television, where it is festering and growing as the infection takes hold.
Does your programme feature more than one woman doing something positive? Then play Here Come the Girls on the soundtrack as lazy shorthand aimed at pin-brains who can’t cope with the fact that women can be serious and grown-up and have purpose and enthusiasms. Or can be called “women”.
In this week’s Village SOS (Wednesday BBC1) three women decide to rally local support, secure lottery funding and revamp their ailing village pub. This involves serious money and vast amounts of expertise. And guess what? Yes, as the women start their campaign, here’s Here Come the Girls (sung not by Sugababes this time, but by Ernie K Doe. The better, original version, not that this helps).
The effect is immediately belittling and infantilising. Look, how cute: girls doing something important when they could be baking cup cakes.
This creeping canker has to be destroyed. It’s a way of bringing us all – men and women – down a peg or two. Yes, gents, this kind of thing includes you. Every time The Boys Are Back in Town plays over Men In A Group Doing Something, you too are victims of this kind of patronising pap. To the barricades! Accompanied by Here Come the Girls, of course…