Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Spice Girls Revisited

As an ardent fan of only "good music" and a true progressive feminist, I have to openly admit: I still love the Spice Girls.

It has been 10 years since Geri left the band. I remember watching 9 and 10 year old British girls crying on TV. I was 15 and I remember thinking how pathetic it was that 9 year old girls thought their lives were over because Ginger left the group. I was just leaving my pop music stage, opting for artists like Beck and Fiona Apple.

But I loved the Spice Girls. They were so crazy and their music was fun. And they had this mantra of Girl Power that I liked. They even had the 10 Golden Rules of Girl Power:
1. Be positive
2. Be strong
3. Don't let anyone put you down.
4. Be in control of your own life and your destiny.
5. Support your girl friends,
6. and let them support you, too.
7. Say what's on your mind.
8. Approach life with attitude.
9. Don't let anyone tell you that you can never do something because you're a girl.
10. Have fun!

But with 10 years of perspective and maturity, I realize that Spice Girls were a source of conflict instead of empowerment.

They were a fabrication, entirely fake, including their nicknames. All of it was to make money, and I knew it. As much as I consumed their happy music, I knew I was being fooled.

More conflicting, though, was their sexuality. They oozed it, flaunted it, waved it in front of all our faces. Unlike teenage Britney, they knew exactly what they were doing. They were all in their 20s, young and beautiful with no reason to keep covered up. The feminist in me understands but can't quite applaud.

They had legions of young fans. Very young fans. Pre-pubescent fans who didn't understand that blatant sexuality. As a teenager, I was uncomfortable to see the little kids I babysat emulate the Spice Girls. I didn't know how to process the Spice Girls' message - how could they?

I still love Wannabe. I still know most of the words of Say You'll Be There. I admit this 10 years later, still wondering what's appropriate and how feminism can practically adapt to our media-saturated society.

1 comment:

Heather P said...

Gina, I love the spice girls, aswell. Very good points. I remember thinking they were not a band for children. Let us not forget my favorite spice girl's alt name "Sexy Spice." They are fabrications of different fetishes. Yet, I love them as well. I love their songs. I had the dolls. I was upset when Ginger left the group. I wanted to be them for Halloween last year, maybe this is our year. Anslee can be posh, you can be sporty? ehh?