In Defense of the Spice Girls

We thought they were stupid, plastic, and bad for women. We were wrong.

Illustration by Minna

In the late ’90s, there were few people on earth I hated more than the Spice Girls. I was not alone. The Spice Girls had plenty of fans—usually very young girls—but most adults simply could not stand them. They were so peppy! So poppy! So perky! So…ugh. An article in Jane magazine contained the line “One of the bigger tragedies of 1997, in my opinion, is the success of prefab pop stars the Spice Girls.” Roger Ebert was forced to review their movie Spice World, and was not pleased: “Let’s face it, the Spice Girls could be duplicated by any five women under the age of 30 standing in line at Dunkin’ Donuts.”

But this was nothing compared with what the Spice Girls got from feminist media. In the Bitch Magazine anthology Bitchfest, the Spice Girls are mentioned at least twice, and not in happy tones: Rita Hao worries that “the Spice Girls end up pushing a vision of femininity and feminism that re-creates women as rather dim.” Rachel Fudge grumps that “Riot Grrrls had already been loudly proclaiming the revolutionary power of girlhood…when the prefabricated, plasticized Spice Girls hit the scene prattling about ‘girl power.’” She also more or less credits them with ending Riot Grrrl itself. So: the Spice Girls were stupid, plastic, bad for women, and made Bratmobile cry. And if all of that was too subtle and understated for you, check out this article by the feminist Fay Weldon: “How the Spice Girls Have Killed Feminism, Subverted Morality, and Embarrassed Us All.”

Friends, sisters, Lady Gaga fans: I am here to tell you that we were wrong. It is time to mount a defense of the Spice Girls. Because here’s the thing: although we didn’t know what we had in those five perky, themed-outfit-wearing British ladies at the time, girlhood wouldn’t get such good publicity for at least another decade.

I get why people disliked the Spice Girls. It wasn’t just that their songs were often annoying and generic; it wasn’t just that they represented the unwelcome shift from the authentically guitar-bearing artistes of the early ’90s to the synthetic pop vixenry of the late ’90s (and, uh, now). There were plenty of reasons to be worried.

For starters, the Spice Girls were sold to us as a group of friends, just goofing off and making top-selling singles together. But they were actually a carefully selected group of strangers chosen, after hundreds of auditions, by entertainment managers Bob and Chris Herbert. They had endless merchandising and sponsorship deals, and were involved with everything from Pepsi ads to Polaroid ads to Barbie-style Spice Girls dolls. Everything about them—including their Scary/Posh/Sporty/etc. nicknames, which they came up with in collaboration with a magazine editor—was under the control of men or corporations. Geri Halliwell (“Ginger Spice”) almost didn’t make it into the group, because she looked older than the other girls; when they asked her age, she reportedly said, “I’m as old as you want me to be. I’ll be 10 with big boobs if you want.”

So. Not quite so Girl Powerful, then. All this behind-the-scenes male control, all this manufacturing and marketing, all the seductive, boy-friendly posing and pants-free tank tops at awards shows…well. It wasn’t hard to conclude that the pro-girl message was a big ol’ con.

That’s what I thought, anyway. Until I watched the movie Spice World, and came across the scene of Sporty Spice in full-on drag, gently caressing Baby Spice’s butt. Also notable: the scene where Ginger Spice scares off a potential date by talking about “feminism”—she actually uses the word feminism!—and her friends all laugh. At him.

Yes, the Spice Girls were created to cash in on “feminism” and “girl power,” at a time when those things were popular. Yes, the “Girl Power” slogan ripped off Riot Grrrl—although, actually, the Spice Girls ripped off girl groups like Salt-N-Pepa or TLC far more than they did Pacific Northwestern indie culture. But do you know what it looks like when someone “rips off” girls being empowered? Well, if the lyrics to “2 Become 1” are any example, it sort of looks like…girls being empowered.

Are you as good as I remember baby, get it on, get it on
’Cause tonight is the night when two become one…
Be a little bit wiser baby, put it on, put it on
’Cause tonight is the night when two become one

OK. I’m going to make you a promise, right now. If Taylor Swift EVER writes a song in which she expresses how much she wants to bang some dude, but also sings about refusing to bang said dude until he puts on a condom—for that matter, if Taylor Swift ever sings about wanting to bang a dude, and includes lines like “are you as good as I remember, get it on, get it on,” rather than “it was enchanting to meet you,” or “today was a fairytale,” or “you are an elf from the vale of Lothlorien, will you shower me with pixie dust from your unicorn’s hooves, by which I mean let’s do it”—I will personally buy a physical copy of Speak Now. And I will eat it.

Of course, not all Spice Girls songs were subversive. In fact, their most famous song is straight-up terrible: “Wannabe,” which basically happened after hours of the Spice Girls singing, fake-rapping, and making up words at random were spliced together into something that sounded sorta-kinda like a song. Aside from being one of the most annoying things you’ll ever hear, it’s also impossible to erase from your memory: to this day, if I ask another girl roughly my age to “tell me what you want, what you really, really want,” she’ll promise to “tell you what I want, what I really, really want,” and we’ll go back and forth for a while, and then it will just end up that she wants to “zig-a-zig-haaaaa.” I don’t know why I keep asking.

The main “girl power” message from “Wannabe” was just “if you want to be my lover, you gotta get with my friends.” A lot of girls were not too thrilled with this message. Why weren’t the Spice Girls singing about something more substantial? Why this silly, lightweight, feel-good message? Why didn’t somebody answer the question of “tell me what you want, what you really, really want” with “better domestic-violence laws”?

Well. Leaving aside the question of whether the Spice Girls were effective policy makers, let me just contrast “if you want to be my lover, you gotta get with my friends” with this message of female solidarity, from another, more recent girl group:

I know you like me
I know you do
That’s why whenever I come around she’s all over you
And I know you want it
It’s easy to see
And in the back of your mind
I know you should be home with me
Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me?

Yeah. Feel bad about making fun of “zig-a-zig-haaaaa” now? Because I do. “Wannabe” was lightweight, shallow, and deeply goofy. But at least it was about liking other girls, not about hating them, being “hot,” and getting into mud-wrestling fights with other ladies for the sake of The Most Important Thing In Life, A Man.

There was lots of giggling, with the Spice Girls; there was lots of hugging; there were a lot of bright, colorful outfits; there was a lot of hyper, bubbly silliness, and sometimes it would just wear a cynical person right out. But the Spice Girls weren’t for cynical people. They were for very young girls—sometimes girls who were still in grade school. (Those Spice Girl dolls weren’t selling to 22-year-old gender-studies majors. At least not unironically.) And in the moment that those girls were starting to figure out what “girlhood” meant, to them, they were relying on an image of ladies having fun together and supporting one another. Maybe they were even reading interviews in which those ladies said things like this: “Just because you’ve got a short skirt on and a pair of tits, you can still say what you want to say. We’re still very strong.”

That was Baby Spice, who said that. Baby! The meek, cutesy one! We didn’t get another pop star willing to say stuff like this—or to dress up in drag and romance her bandmates—until Lady Gaga.

But we all kept complaining about the Spice Girls—especially us feminists. And eventually, they broke up. Big victory, right? Well, no. Because the Spice Girls were not replaced by other, more serious girl groups. They were replaced by Britney Spears. And Christina Aguilera. And others like them, setting the trend of iconic, sexy, solo pop superstars that persists up into our current day of Swift, Gaga, and Beyoncé. The Spice Girls had told the world, “If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends.” And the entertainment industry responded with, “Lose the friends. Then we’ll talk.”

We were wrong about the Spice Girls. We were wrong about whether they “killed feminism” by not representing our favorite kind. We were wrong about their not having a message. We were wrong about their not being unique. We were scared that the Spice Girls would make feminism too mainstream and commercial. Well, good news: feminism is totally unpopular now, hurray! But I’m going to take this moment, right now, to apologize—and I hope you’ll join me.

Mel C., Mel B., Emma, Geri, Victoria: Ladies, I am sorry that I complained so much about you. It was OK for you to be poppy. It was OK for you to be peppy. It was OK for you to be perky. It was even OK for you to make “Wannabe.” Because you did all those things, and you also told girls that they matter, and that sticking together was more important than anything else. You told girls that they—as a group, not as a collection of sexy, boy-loving loners—could, however briefly, take over the world. That was a good thing to do, Spice Girls. And we haven’t seen anything like it since.

In my defense, though, those Pepsi ads were rrrrreeeeally annoying. ♦


  • freya2770 November 10th, 2011 3:32 PM

    I’ve read everything on Rookie and nothing has struck such a chord with me, or been so STRAIGHT-UP HILARIOUS as this. The bit about Taylor Swift is gold, GOLD!!

  • Laia November 10th, 2011 3:32 PM

    Love the Spice Girls always & forever.

  • Bajenna November 10th, 2011 3:33 PM

    I think Shakira is an underestimated feminist solo act. She is not as loud as Gaga, but definitely more influential around the world.

  • puffytoad November 10th, 2011 3:37 PM

    The Spice Girls were really popular when I was in 4th and 5th grade. I thought they were really annoying and refused to listen to them though, lol. I went to a birthday party where everyone was playing “what’s my favorite Spice Girl?!?!?!” and I couldn’t guess because I didn’t even know their names!

  • EveyMarrie November 10th, 2011 3:48 PM

    I am in love with the Spice Girls. I had a tee when I was younger and ate their lollipops like crazy just for the stickers.

    I reunited my love with them lately as I downloaded their two albums and can’t stop listening haha <3


  • doubleshiny November 10th, 2011 3:55 PM

    I never really appreciated that these were good role models for young girls. Girl power? What a great thing to hear every day on all media. I was 14 in 1994 so I was kind of old for the Spice Girls but God what I wouldn’t give for them to be around now rather than Ke$ha and her ilk. My sisters are seven, I would much prefer them to be going around yelling ‘girl power’ than ‘brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack’.

  • insteadofanelephant November 10th, 2011 4:12 PM

    this is fantastic. i actually wasn’t allowed to listen to the spice girls whenever they first came out. seems like my mom was with the initial reactions to the gal gang. but i totally fell in love with them as i secretly listened to their music and made up dances to all of the songs. GIRL POWER.

    instead of an elephant

  • mangachic November 10th, 2011 4:20 PM

    Wow. I’ve been humming that song for five years and I just found out who sang it. Thank you Rookiemag, I was always too lazy to look it up but now I can at least have more than 2 lines stuck in my head.

  • MrPhoenix November 10th, 2011 4:35 PM

    Maybe I’m just super ignorant….or maybe I was just four? I didn’t know they’d ripped off their “Grrrl Power” slogan, but it still doesn’t reeally matter does it? What matters is they were screaming it, so I did too. With screaming-hot-pink halter tops.

    I’m a cynicalangsty 17 year old now and I still love the Spice Girls. Because as a toddler it didn’t matter who told them to tell me…during my most formative years those powerfull women told me GIRLS RULE.

  • glitter and gold November 10th, 2011 4:39 PM

    The Spice Girls aren’t very popular with people of my age group (actually, a lot of people are like, Who are the Spice Girls? And I’m like, Idiots.)… but me and my friends listen to them. A lot. Because for all of the super-poppy, easily mockable songs, there are some that are actually good. There’s a reason I can go around singing the words to “Who Do You Think You Are?” with little regrets…

  • Toilets November 10th, 2011 4:46 PM

    My earliest ever memory: making my best friend cry by telling her that she would never be a Spice Girl.

    Ohhhh, the nostalgia! Great article.

  • WitchesRave November 10th, 2011 4:51 PM

    This reminds me of the other day when I was critising my mum for buying me The Pussycat Dolls CD (The one with Don’t Cha) when i was 9 years old, I mean seriously?!!!?

  • carolilja November 10th, 2011 4:55 PM

    And congratulations on realizing how great this group was.
    Wen I was 10, 11 years old, Specie Girls were my LIFE. I still have the scrapbook I worked on every friggin’ day back then, collecting magazine clippings and stickers and postcards and every thing I could find with a spice girl on it.
    The “girl power” message really got through to me and my friends, we were PROUD to be girls, we felt strong and happy when we dressed up as our favorite spice girl and sang their songs. I’m thankful that these women were the hyped kid idols of my tween days as opposed to purity ring-toting Disney clones.

  • definatalie November 10th, 2011 4:56 PM

    In 1998 I was a first year visual art student and was so into the Spice Girls’ feminism that I based a lot of my art practice around them.


  • dogunderwater November 10th, 2011 5:21 PM

    I loved this! My friends and I all shelled out for tickets to their reunion show and it was a total blast — but the best part was just being surrounded by other twenty-somethings. Everyone was dressed up like the 90s or their favorite Spice Girl and with a pack of their best chick friends. It was a nice space to be in, where hanging out with your best lady friends was the best and most exciting thing you could be doing. Nostalgia~

  • Pinkwitchcraft November 10th, 2011 5:26 PM

    I love the Spice girls, and I admit…. Wannabe is my guiltiest pleasure of all time..

  • ButterflyFeminist27 November 10th, 2011 5:30 PM


  • asleeptillnoon November 10th, 2011 5:47 PM

    I became a fan when I was 9 and never stopped loving them. They were my role models. They made me felt proud to be a girl. I felt empowered by their songs and the fact that they were all different and looked like the best of friends. Seeing them in concert is on my bucketlist :)

  • macipisi123 November 10th, 2011 5:53 PM

    aww no love for girls aloud?

    i know they never made it in the usa, but they were musically and lyrically much better than spice girls, weren’t as annoyingly perky, also nicola is being a bit amazing now, though not that many people seem to care. :c

    either way, this is great. i guess adele would agree as well, as she seems to always talk about loving them when she was little xD

  • Kiri November 10th, 2011 6:04 PM

    I think it says something that the most widely visible example of empowered femininity in my lifetime was/is one of the ones most frequently, viciously attacked as “frivolous” and “fake”.

    Great article.

  • Robyn2000 November 10th, 2011 6:07 PM

    The Spice Girls were originally put together by the Herberts, but once the five of them realised they had something special, they set their sights much higher and eventually ditched the Herberts and signed with Simon Fuller, and that’s when things started to happen.

    They were always a lot more involved in things that people wanted to believe at the time. Also check out their smart move of cowriting their songs – that’s where the money is.

  • lyndsey November 10th, 2011 6:50 PM

    the spice girls were literally the reason i had friends as a child. i sought out louise, a girl at my urban australian elementary school, who was forming a spice girls club and in need of a ‘scary spice’, and they gave me the part. the five of us were inseparable after that. they totes spiced up my life.

  • darksideoftherainbow November 10th, 2011 6:51 PM

    i was a spice girls maniac. i had ones of those clear plastic tote bags with their image cheaply printed on it, a coin purse in the same style, cassettes, you name it but nothing, NOTHING was ever as good or has even come close to being as good as their lollipops. the stickers were great but that lollipop was phenomenal and among all my friends who loved the spice girls, those lollies were the thing miss most. mmm, i can still taste them

  • wissycosh November 10th, 2011 6:59 PM

    The only thing that came close to beatlemania’

  • giov November 10th, 2011 7:00 PM

    loved this article. I was totally in grade school when they came out and spent my tween years being either sporty or scary spice. I am actually quite concerned with Taylor Swift and her messages, I mean, it’s freaking 2011, do young girls really need that?

  • blueruin November 10th, 2011 7:21 PM

    Hey! Cool article
    I was a fan of the Spice Girls, I think I was just in their target age when they became popular.
    I love what you say about people being afraid that feminism would become mainstrean and commercial. I agree, but It’s a tough one, I mean, you’re always afraid that your ideals and certain things you really believe in (whether it is a book, some cool band, a way of thinking…) is going to be distorted into something different just because some record label wants to make money or because someone wants to be cool, and use it for their own beneffit and not really respect what it is about. That part I totally get and that’s what i think may have happend with the feminists in the Spice Girls era. They were mad that feminism was being used solely as a marketing tool and a way to make money.

    But on the other hand, and this is why I say I agree with you, something becoming mainstream does mean more people are gonna know about it (duh), and so maybe there were many girls out there who were just repeating the songs and not really caring about feminism, but then again it got the message of ‘Girl Power’ to a bunch of girls that might have not been exposed to it otherwise. I live in Venezuela and the Spice Girls got quite popular; I didn’t know about Riot Grrrls back then…and yeah, maybe having one of your first approachs to feminism from a group like Spice is not ideal, but hey, it’s a start.

  • stephaniejean November 10th, 2011 7:36 PM

    In 4th and 5th grade my friends I went to a birthday party and we all pretended we were a different Spice Girl (this is the same group of girls that pretended our classroom calculators were cell phones and we were Cher, Dionne and Ty and Amber.) I also had a Ginger and Sporty Spice doll (as well as a Cher Horowitz doll, god I was really into these two things, and I wasn’t even allowed to watch Clueless yet.) Even back then I knew the Spice Girls were kind of dorky, but being the shy, naive and overly-protected child that I was, who otherwise only listened to The Beatles and Disney songs, they were a way for me to start to relate to my friends and classmates.

    When the Spice Girls got “back together” a few years ago, my uncle worked on the tour and I got to go backstage and sit VIP at the show. I was a little embarrassed and I had to go alone cuz he couldn’t get more than one ticket. It was seriously an amazing experience (I saw the whole Beckham clan!) but I wish I could have brought a friend from my generation to share in that fun with me. I will always and forever love the Spice Girls. And now their music is just so campy and fun.

  • Hanbanan November 10th, 2011 7:45 PM

    YES! Thank you!

  • Pashupati November 10th, 2011 8:49 PM

    Wow. I didn’t know all that.
    I used to listen a lot to the Spice Girls as a 5-years-old until 10, and even these days when I want to party alone. I actually didn’t really listen to the lyrics, and just learned recently it had something to do with feminism, but didn’t know all the story.
    Interesting, though, I never saw the clip.
    As for “mainstreaming” feminism, maybe it would just address the “surface” of feminism, but wouldn’t that make it easier for more people to discover what feminism is more profoundly, encourage them to think about it and ask questions? I mean, making it less of a all-we’ve-got-is-to-avoid-talking-about-that subject. Though I see how it could be trivialized in the eyes of some, and maybe the racism, cissexist, ableism, -isms issues in some feminist circles would be more propagated due to the mainstreamization. (I hope this word exist.)

  • amythecat November 10th, 2011 11:04 PM

    i was ginger spice in my 4th grade talent show. 4 other friends of my were the rest of the members. the spice girls were my first favorite thing!

  • newtypelady November 10th, 2011 11:14 PM

    There’s only one thing wrong with this article: I don’t think Taylor Swift would write a song about the elves of Lothlorien because I don’t think she reads books. That’s the only way I can think that she would believe “You were Romeo, I was a scarlet letter” was an acceptable lyric.

    PS: I saw Spice World in the theaters. Girl Power!

  • Anaheed November 10th, 2011 11:15 PM

    You guys! I like Taylor Swift! #confessions

  • brianne November 11th, 2011 12:20 AM


    That line has ALWAYS bugged me. I kept trying to figure out how it made sense and just had to give up.

  • Raindrops November 11th, 2011 4:54 AM

    Oh God, the SPICE GIRLS!!!!!!
    I was a total fan when I was three years old, and my mother taped so many videos with me dressed as Baby Spice hopping on a trampoline singing all their songs.. And apparently I always asked my parents why they hadn’t called me Emma… Those were good times :D
    Girl Power!!!
    You Rookie writers really rock with your GREAT articles! Thank you for making this website my favourite one!

  • Filia-Zissy November 11th, 2011 9:19 AM

    “Spice Girls, Spice Girls wasn’t that a band with Victoria Beckam or so?” I wondered. I was born 1995, so I’m a bit too young to really know the Spice Girls. But when I read the lines from Wannabe I could sing along! Well it’s feel good music and to be honest there’s a lot of music with no message now.

  • Lylou November 11th, 2011 12:40 PM

    Girls at my school love to drop Spice World quotes into conversation to confuse the boys. GIRL POWER!

  • cancercowboy November 11th, 2011 1:01 PM

    weeeeeeeell, every cloud may have a silver lining, but the past doesn’t get that much better just ’cause the present sucks.
    so they’re merely stupid and plastic ;)
    fun fact: Lianne Morgan got kicked for being too old when the band was still called Touch and in testing phase

  • ollyfrancis November 11th, 2011 1:30 PM

    You know a “zig-a-zig-haaaaa” is an orgasm right? What’s more substantial than that??

  • Margie November 11th, 2011 2:29 PM

    WOW. wannabe was a great song, and i honestly think that having that girl band in my early years (i was about 3 when wannabe came out) really influenced me to be the feminist i am right now.
    I live in the uk, so i didnt have those american RnB girl groups

  • neelybat November 11th, 2011 6:16 PM

    i loved the spice girls. even though i had need envolved in punk and riot grrrl, even though the songs where cheesy and sort of bad, i still skipped highschool to go see the movie on opening day. also, the spice girls where the gateway drug of choice for a whole pack of middle school girls that rode my bus to and from school.

  • Hedwig November 11th, 2011 9:24 PM

    To be honest….I’m in love with Wannbe and the music video for it…….

  • TeresaJ November 11th, 2011 10:23 PM

    I was in the latter part of my high school career when the Spice Girls were big, and I loved them unabashedly! Didn’t love Spiceworld, but I loved the soundtrack, and I agree that their message was solid – manufactured or no.

    The fact that the music industry would even think that manufacturing that message would sell is pretty telling as well.

    Who said that feminism has to be heavy and serious all the time? Feminism is simply “the radical notion that women are people.” :) That’s an idea that should permeate every aspect of society, not just academia and serious debate circles! It’s an idea that should ring out from poppy music and crappy shallow movies! It should ring out from silly pop culture! It should come from everywhere! And we shouldn’t shut it down just because it doesn’t come in wrapping paper we like.

  • FashionHauties November 12th, 2011 12:09 AM

    It’s sort of funny. I know lots of people who hated them until they realized this.

  • amralise November 12th, 2011 2:06 AM

    love love love this article, i remember being 8, 9, 10 and being ALL ABOUT GIRL POWER because of them
    this summer (after much convincing) i got my ten year old sister to watch spice world with me, and she immediately latched on to the songs, dancing and of course the clothes, but she surprised me with how perceptive she was to the overall message of girl power, and friendship never ends etc,
    now she spreads the spice girls gospel to the 5th grade (only after asking if any of them were still alive! making me feel ancient at 21)
    anyways, really enjoyed this, i was too young to have experienced riot grrl but having the bubblegum version was/is massive fun

  • bemboozled November 12th, 2011 4:46 PM

    I saw a response to this article on tumblr that really hit home for me and I thought should be in the comments here.

    “In Defense of the Spice Girls →
    The article above is certainly an interesting addition to the Spice Girls/feminism discussion – however I will take issue with the whole, “we hated The Spice Girls because they were a manufactured group controlled by men.” The Spice Girls were five women from several walks of life who at ages as young as 17 made the decision to go after their dreams. They were smart businesswomen. Once they made it into the band and realized that Chris Herbert was bent on turning them into something they didn’t want to be: (a sexy five-some in matching sequin gowns), they packed up their shit and left. They stole the master recordings of their songs, to ensure that they’d have control of their work. Each girl took charge of a different aspect of managing the group (Victoria was in charge of finances!), and for months, they hustled on their own, going from management company to management company to try and get a break, until they finally met Simon Fuller. Their personas were their own ideas and creations. Yes, they had about a bajillion endorsements, from Pepsi to Chupa Chups to Polaroid – but guess what? They were a pop group, not some underground indie band – and in that respect they pretty much smashed it. They became one of the biggest girl groups in history on their own terms and if that isn’t ~girl power~ I don’t know what it is. “

  • not_gold November 12th, 2011 8:02 PM

    Just loved this article but I never had thought of Spice Girls under this perspective. I was 10-11 years old when they hit the tops and i first heard them, and their message of girl power really got into my head. Later I started searching for feminist stuff, and went totally rock’n'roll and found out about bikini kill, Hole, Bratmobile.

    Their songs were silly and I didn’t understand them clearly (i hadn’t studied english by that time), but the good message came through and I followed it.

    I guess they represent a lot for girls from my generation and I really wish young girls today could have a band like that to rely on. I must say I believe Rookie can play that part nowadays.

  • amelia November 13th, 2011 9:16 AM

    yea. i mean, there’s not much you can find wrong with ‘if you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends’. Treating this as the basis of the Spice Girls, we should have worked out how wrong we were ages ago! haha great article:)

  • kelsey November 13th, 2011 3:28 PM

    “The Most Important Thing In Life, a Man.” BAHAHAHAHAHAHA! YESSS! Oh gosh, legitimate lol.

    I’m glad you wrote this, because in my heart of hearts I sorta thought the same thing.

  • Alexa November 14th, 2011 12:19 AM

    I’ve been thinking about this type of thing a lot the last couple days. I think I’ve decided that activists have a right and maybe even duty to criticize the way others go about advocating for things if they think it isn’t the best way. However, I think that no activist has a right to say that others should be excluded from activism or any form of political expression. I think that even if you don’t agree exactly with somebody’s methods, you should still realize that they at least care enough to TRY to do something, or are at least making SOME positive change.

    • bemboozled November 14th, 2011 1:43 AM

      I totally agree! Although I would like to hear your opinion on Sarah Palin calling herself a feminist, and the reaction of different feminist communities. Like, many of her policies and things she has said are so anti-woman/anti-feminist (at least in my opinion), so how can we reconcile with her perceived desire to be considered one (although that may be for PR reason)?

      • Alexa November 14th, 2011 7:04 PM

        Yeah, that’s where it gets a little foggy… Maybe feminist groups should publicly invite her/ pressure her to support more things that are truly pro-woman, like pro-choice options. That way, they can try to include her, while also making a point to the world that they think she’s being hypocritical…?

  • Sonja November 14th, 2011 10:14 PM

    this is revelatory.

  • damali November 16th, 2011 2:25 AM

    i am a feminist who loved the spice girls from the very beginning….still love wannabe and still love Mel B!

  • Grove November 16th, 2011 10:43 AM

    Sorry, but I love the Spice girls! I was 6 years old 1997, and I honestly think they were great role models. I probably wouldnt have liked them as much had I been a teenager at the time; it might be more of the nostalgia of Spice girls imagery that always makes me feel happy, but at least they weren’t seen falling out of nightclubs with no underwear on, or swearing ect. I recently bought a whole load of spice girls photos off eBay – best day when they arrived! I remember my friend bringing hers into class, and being so jealous! Next on my list is a girl power t-shirt.

  • Ash November 16th, 2011 10:58 AM

    Oh my goodness! When I was a girl, I remember my classmates and I would make up dance routines to the Spice Girls. In the parking lot of our parochial school which doubled as a playground.

    Ginger was always my favorite. I think it was the union jack dress. I even had the Ginger doll! My sister had the Sporty doll, but she really wanted the Scary doll. That caused some tears, let me tell you!

    I miss them. I think there’s an ever-present longing for them deep in my heart, which this article has thrown into sharp relief. :(

  • youngwildandfree November 27th, 2011 9:42 AM

    get in! this is so true it’s unreal:’) so glad i found rookie, about time there was a girls magazine we could laugh with<3

  • SunshineJilly November 27th, 2011 7:30 PM

    I miss it so much.

    Everything past the age of 15 becomes about men.

    In your 20s it seems as if you only hang out with your girlfriends at a bar in pursuit of a man.

    I want to jump around belting out “Stop” to my Con Air brush with my best girlfriends whilst dancing around in our training bras.

    The good ol’ days…

  • Kallieish November 28th, 2011 5:08 PM

    This is a great article. So interesting to think about it in this context. Of course, I loved them. My dorky little fourth grade self ADORED them and my friends did too. We spent hours together practicing high kicks like sporty and jumping on a trampoline singing along, pledging to be friends forever. I also just realized how uncomfortable music that pits girls against other girls makes me. Sheesh. Thought provoker right here.

  • Thatu December 4th, 2011 9:41 AM

    I was about 8 and didn’t even speak English when the Spice Girls ruled but I do remember how strongly I took the concept of “Girl Power” and how important it was to be a strong girl and not take crap from boys. To be honest, as a young girl, it was them who made me know I’d be a feminist someday.
    There, I said it.

    Amazing article, by the way.