Women Take the Stage: A&E’s Tribute To Women’s History Month

It’s No Longer “His” Story As Women Reclaim Their Still-Ongoing History

The “Power” of Little Mix

By Kriti Vamshidhar

In April of 2022, Little Mix will be taking their final tour before hiatus —aptly named the Confetti tour for a grand finale to their 11 years together. Fans will be blessed with the experience of having Jade Thirwall, Perrie Edwards, and Leigh-Anne Pinnock perform live one last time—a celebration of not only their chart topping fifth studio album, but of all their accomplishments throughout their career.

Through a decade of creating dreamy music, Jade Thirwall, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, and Perrie Edwards have achieved more than they ever could have imagined as teenagers auditioning for the television music competition X-Factor. Little Mix, one of the biggest pop bands in the world, has had an incredibly versatile impact on the industry, paving the way for women’s respect in the music industry while producing earworm after earworm (in case you don’t know what an earworm is, it is a good thing! Their music never fails to get stuck in my head). And leading up to both Women’s History Month and the last tour Little Mix is going to take before they take a break, these three unbelievably talented women deserve to be recognized.

From left to right: Leigh-Anne Pinnock, Perrie Edwards, and Jade Thirwall

Over the course of their career, Little Mix has made history. In 2021, they were the first girl group to ever win the Brit Award for Best British Group. And their impact on the music industry was emphasized during their thank you speech, where Leigh-Anne Pinnock called out the “white male dominance, misogyny, sexism, and lack of diversity.”

She then went on to say how proud she was that the group had stuck together, stood up for themselves, and started using their voices for social change and equality. And this award wasn’t just monumental for Little Mix themselves—as Jade Thirwall said, it was also monumental for the past British girl groups that were passed over for men time and time again.

As a group, songs like “Salute”, “Strip”, and “Power” have empowered women across the globe to be confident and comfortable in their own skin and believe in the strength that they have—no matter the obstacles in their path. No one could be a better example of this than Little Mix—despite the racism and sexism they have experienced throughout their career, they never gave up. 

As a group, songs like “Salute”, “Strip”, and “Power” have empowered women across the globe to be confident and comfortable in their own skin and believe in the strength that they have—no matter the obstacles in their path.

During Women’s History Month, it’s crucial to recognize the hard earned respect and success Little Mix has fostered throughout the years. From being told by their record label to “flirt with important men” in order to be successful, to being criticized for their costumes just because they were comfortable in their own bodies, they’ve had to shatter so many obstacles in their way. And the group has gone above and beyond to break these barriers—not only have they overcome their own struggles, but they have actively been calling them out so that no other female performers will have to go through what they did.

One of their most iconic songs, “Wings,” has an incredibly powerful lyric that goes ‘Don’t let what they say keep you up at night, And they can’t detain you ‘Cause wings are made to fly’. The perfect example of taking your own advice, Little Mix has used an insane amount of hard work, dedication, and passion to  solidify themselves as the best girl group in the UK, if not the world. 

The Winningest Woman’s Win For Trans Women 

By Arabela Damarillo

Decades ago, seeing a trans woman on television almost seemed unthinkable. What little representation there was…well, didn’t count as representation for how damaging it was. If a trans woman wasn’t some predatory “man in disguise,” she was a tragedy for cisgender people to shallowly pity. More than anything, this phenomenon represented the image of perfection that television executives laid upon the masses. No one outside the “norm”—code for cisgender, heterosexual, etc.—could expect any shred of respect from film and television. And that’s just the way it was. 

Amy Schneider made Jeopardy! history as the first out transgender woman to qualify for its prestigious Tournament of Champions

Even now, Florida has been under fire for the “Don’t Say Gay” legislation it recently passed (which would teach gender nonconformity and non-heterosexuality in schools) because…oh no! It made a cisgender straight white guy uncomfortable! Thanks a lot, Governor Ron DeSantis.

In spite of modern day struggles, however, there is no denying that what we see on TV is a reflection of our ever-changing society. Groundbreaking strides in visibility are becoming increasingly normalized, allowing for marginalized voices to not only survive, but thrive.

Enter Amy Schneider.

The beauty of the trivia game show Jeopardy! is that it allows your average person to answer trivia in the form of a question for cash…and a chance at small-scale fame while they’re at it. For years, the prestigious title of Jeopardy! millionaire reserved itself for men: current part-time host Ken Jennings, the notorious James Holzhauer, and Matt Amodio, to name only a few. 

Then, on November 17, 2021, a software engineer from Oakland stepped onto the panel, bringing up only a string of pearls, a modest yet charming smile, and a staggeringly bright intellect. No one knew she would rise to glory as a 40-day champion…and a hero to LGBT+ nerds all over the country. 

Schneider with host (& widely considered Jeopardy! GOAT) Ken Jennings

But then, Amy Schneider kept winning, and not just for herself. When I saw the clock strike 7, I rushed downstairs to experience her triumphs with her. I screamed when her wagers fell flat and applauded on my feet when she won more…and more…and more! I’m not even ashamed to say I cried a little when she finally got dethroned this January. 

What made her different? Well, aside from a brain and buzzer instinct that won her more than a million dollars, Amy Schneider’s down-to-earth disposition ended up winning America’s heart. In an interview with People, Schneider herself stated that “a lot of the most meaningful [support]…have been actually from parents and grandparents of trans people, saying that it’s made them feel better about the life that their loved ones are going to have.” In playing a game so many people love, Amy Schneider managed to humanize the trans, queer experience in a world that loves to “other.” 

In playing a game so many people love, Amy Schneider managed to humanize the trans, queer experience in a world that loves to “other.”

Schneider came home a millionaire, and she left the Jeopardy! community with far more important lessons than a war that lasted 2,100 years (what is the Third Punic War?). 

Women can have deep voices. Women can have Adam’s apples. Some women need years to realize that they are indeed women.

Because women can be trans and because of the contributions trans women have made, they will continue to make history. So thank you, Amy Schneider. You’ve changed the game for us all, and we are so grateful.