Why the Spice Girls Were Important as F*ck For Feminism
Most of us remember the Spice Girls for exactly what they were—a global girl-group phenomenon. We all knew every word to “Spice Up Your Life” and every ’90s baby was taxed with the almost impossible (but vital) decision—who is your favorite Spice Girl? Whether it was Baby, Sporty, Posh, Ginger, or Scary—you couldn’t go wrong—each member had her own persona and embodied commendable female qualities. Obviously the British bubblegum pop was catchy as hell, but it’s important to note that their contribution to the world transcends leopard print crop tops and platform boots.
The Spice Girls’ slogan was “Girl Power”—they sang about it and they embodied it as a unified group. Their lyrics embraced sisterhood, self-love, and lifting up one another. At a time when feminism was not easily digested by the mainstream, and was almost nonexistent in pop culture, the Spice Girls made it consumable and accessible for the masses. The stigmatized bra-burner stereotype was effectively replaced with pink-mini-skirt-wearing “feminists.” In other words, feminism was no longer held to any rules (or any labels for that matter); instead, it was purely about supporting your home girls. In an old interview, Scary Spice explained the meaning of Girl Power: “It’s about spreading a positive vibe, kicking it for the girls. It’s not about picking up guys. We don’t need men to control our life. We control our lives anyway.” Sisters before misters, anyone?
Sure, we can argue that the Spice Girls’ message of Girl Power was just a product of commodification—a brilliant marketing scheme with the ultimate goal of making money off of an audience. But even so, what’s wrong with showing love for your fellow females? Spreading an intrinsic message of female empowerment in a consumable way is pretty dope—and not to mention, crucial for young generations.
Today the gender equality discourse is woven through all angles of the pop culture, and, needless to say, we all owe a tip of the hat to our ’90s pop queens.
Images via Pop Sugar and Glamour UK
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