Spice Girls and the Rise and Fall of Girl Power
Girl power was the freedom to make a scene, make no sense, join together and make something irresistible, spectacular, unproductive, joyful, and to radically claim one another.
Tell me what you want / What you really, really want. / I’ll tell you what I want / What I really, really want.Spice
would come and go, girl-friendship was forever.
Tiger BeatBop Teen
This is not what I was banking on. This was not supposed to be the yield of the revolution.
Spice World: The Movie
Hard Days Nightwere
Nothing is forever!”
I’m giving you everything / all that joy can bring / this I swear. Barbarella
You take an inch /I run a mile Can’t win, you’re always right behind me.
Spice World: The Moviethat’s
Unhappy with the direction their manager was pushing them, they eluded signing a contract and instead banded together and stole the master recordings—literally, by breaking and entering in the dead of night.
In 1996, at the height of their fame, the Girls visited South Africa with the Royal Family. In Johannesburg, they posed for press pictures with Nelson Mandela. Dozens of different shots emerge on a cursory image search: them and Mandela, yukking it up, and in each one he is grinning, laughing, with a little kid’s glee. That day he is quoted, by the BBC, as saying about the Girls, “These are my heroes!”
Adrian Shirk is the author of And Your Daughters Shall Prophesy, a hybrid-memoir exploring the lives of American women prophets and mystics, named an NPR ‘Best Book’ of 2017. She's currently working on a manuscript about utopian communities. Shirk was raised in Portland, Oregon, and has since lived in New York and Wyoming. She's a frequent contributor to Catapult, and her essays have appeared in The Atlantic, among others. Currently, she teaches in Pratt Institute’s BFA Creative Writing Program, and lives on the border of the Bronx and Yonkers with her husband Sweeney and Quentin the cat.
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“The show’s characters of color appear rarely, briefly, subordinately, and often end up dead.”