I have a confession: I freaking love the Spice Girls. They were my favorite band in the 90s and they were my very first concert I ever attended when I was 11. My best friend and I were taken by our moms and it would have been the perfect night had my best friend not been allowed to bring her “boyfriend” at the time who spent the whole concert talking about how underrated Missy Elliott was.
In retrospect, I have to say I’m pretty impressed by the Spice Girls. I know some conservative people complained about the skimpy outfits but frankly, that’s a little irrelevant in the face of how much positivity they promoted. The message of “girl power” was pretty empowering to me as a young girl and because I was a big fan of theirs, I was constantly showered with messages that I should love myself because I’m kickass as I am and not to let anyone tell me otherwise just because I’m a girl. Looking back, I also rather like the fact that they wore sexy outfits. Yeah, I acknowledge some of it was marketing, but I liked the fact that they embraced who they were without feeling like they had to change. In the 80s, menswear for women was very popular–we’ve all seen regretful photos of huge shoulder pads (or wore them ourselves) and pantsuits that were designed to make women look more masculine. The Spice Girls embraced their femininity while still demanding respect as people, which I absolutely love.
Looking back on the Spice Girls as an adult, I feel pretty proud that they were some of my role models as a kid. Granted, they did lead me to make some unfortunate footwear decisions (i.e. giant platform flip flops) but I think on some level, the affirmations I received from both their music and their comments in the media contributed to my foundation in terms of deciding that as not only a woman but also as a person, I deserve respect and I need to be proud of who I am. I also like that they enforced the message that women should be vocal about what they want and not have to be quiet or subservient just because they’re women.
Think about their biggest hit, “Wannabe”–they’re basically telling some guy that they’re not going to put up with his bullshit because they have standards:
Is it a cheesy pop song? Duh. Does it have an empowering message that a lot of us need to hear sometimes? Definitely. Settling for some loser who’s rude to your friends is clearly not worth it.
Now that you’re feeling flush with girl power, are you wondering which Spice Girl you are? Click here to take the quiz.