» Sporty Spice
Happy International Women’s Day everyone.
Instead of talking about the heavy stats floating around, I wanted to share the beginnings of my feminist tendencies. As silly as they were, the Spice Girls were part of it. Wait! Just hear me out.
The Spice Girls: their voices are nothing spectacular, and there’s certainly problematic stuff about the characters they represented (Baby spice and infantile fetishism? ”Crazy” spice who wears lots of animal print and also just happens to be black? Yeah, uh, yikes). Nevertheless, they were the first pop stars that I really latched on to, mostly because they were the first ones I heard sing about something other than yearning for boys.
“Wannabe” was this ecstatic song that oozed a kind of self-possession I didn’t have as a young girl. And its packed with essentially feminist notions of female autonomy, independence and individuality.
- It privileges friendship and not abandoning other relationships for a romantic one (if you want to be my lover, you gotta get with my friends, make it last forever, friendship never ends)
- not holding a woman’s past relationships, or the amount of them, against her (if you want my future, forget my past)
- stressing that a relationship is about reciprocity (if you wanna be my lover, you have got to give, taking is too easy, but thats the way it is).
Today, there seems to be little doubt of the meaning behind “I really really really wanna zig-a-zig aaahhh” but to my 11 year old self, it was sufficiently vague to mean anything. I figured sex had something to do with it, of course, but I chose to interpret it differently, which the song allowed (unlike, say, “2 become 1”).
I appreciated that each spice girl represented their own distinct personality, which in turn allowed me to identify with them. As a young tomboy, Sporty spice was naturally my favorite. Whereas in real life my tomboy-ness ostracized me from my female classmates, with the spice girls it was just a different way of being that was still accepted. In fact, each spice represented very different traits and styles, and yet were still pals. It was incredibly important for my young self to see that acceptance as a possibility.
Support each other, ladies! Learn how you can get involved or join an action group. Read up on women in history and learn about WOC and transwomen who have contributed (and continue to contribute) to the world. Take this day to think about what it means to be a woman, or, if you’re not a lady, what the women in your life mean to you.
Girl Power is about a lot more than feeling empowered, its also about respecting each other and encouraging us all to move forward.