That’s what radiated from Wembley Arena last Friday night. Acceptance was circulating. Comradery was shown through an unprompted offering to take a picture or sing a duet with a stranger. Glitter floated on the buzz of excitement and smiles filled the faces of all that basked in this personification of Girl Power.
Yes, it’s just a concert. It’s trivial, even. It’s just a lot of drunk women and gay men singing to songs that are far beyond their best before date. Except it’s not.
Spice World, when removed from it’s lack of material and sometimes patchy vocals, is an example of how far women and feminism has come.
Undeniably iconic, the Spice Girls embody ‘Girl Power.’ When you boil down what they have done and do, they represent courage, power and equality. For some time now, we have entered a new genre of feminism. The third wave. (My new boss has enlightened me on this topic.) A period of time in which it is more extreme and controversial to say: ‘No, I’m not a feminist’ than it is to voice your concerns over gender equality. The radical actions of the Suffragettes no longer hold negative connotations, we celebrate the passion, the vigour and the indisputable awareness that equality should be the norm.
Of course, it would be ignorant to allude that the Spice Girls have solved issues of inequality. Far from it, around the world women are still being stripped of their rights and controlled by government and patriarchy. We can however, acknowledge progress. Something as small as four, forty-year-old women performing in an industry which is often unaccommodating to age and uninviting to women, is progress.
I grew up watching the Spice Girls like so many others, the way they flirted and controlled interviews. The way they wore and said anything they wanted. Their lyrics that said things like ‘Don’t go wasting my precious time, get yourself together and we’ll be just fine.’ What a message for a teenage girl, I’d have avoided so many dick heads if I’d have spent less time singing into my hairbrush and more time listening to those lyrics.
Feminism is such a broad word or concept. It changes and shifts depending on culture and geography. It is no longer just a female pursuit but one that most men now accept and champion. It tackles issues that are not only chained by legislation, but through a train of repetitive cultural norms. The political correctness, the man-hating connotations, the desire to have doors held open for you whilst you smash glass windows IS EXHAUSTING.
And when it comes to politically correct feminism, I’m the biggest hypocrite. I don’t think ‘free the nipple’ as an Instagram phenomenon is a form of feminism – largely due to the sexualisation of the female form – which is beyond any single woman’s control. But at the same time, I hate wearing bras and I believe that if you want to get your tits out and expect not to be hounded then you make complete sense and you DO YOU. I don’t want a relationship because I think a boy in my life at the moment would fill my head and take up time and energy which I’d rather put toward achieving my dreams and goals. BUT I arrange dates because I feel lonely on a cold, quiet evening and jump to the conclusion that a boy might make me feel better. I don’t want to succumb to the pressure of having a bare vagina, but I know for a fact I’d desperately want to fit a wax in before a date JUST IN CASE.
It’s exhausting, confusing and makes you feel slightly inadequate. At Spice World however, I didn’t feel any of those things. There were no politically fuelled statements, no well researched arguments, it was just a feeling. A feeling of support, togetherness and hope for a future in which ‘Girl Power’ can have real affect on important things. Which we’re already seeing! Things are happening, we’re all learning and growing. Fighting prejudice one day at a time and embracing the ‘Guilty Feminist’ that lives in all of us. Spice World actually made me think, who’d have thought it.
I’d like to leave you with these clunky yet inspiring words from Baby, Scary, Sporty and Ginger – RIP Posh, shame on you for not burying your pride and accepting the fact that you’re part of an iconic girl band who have the power and the platform to sprinkle empowerment.
Also, my gorgeous cousin bought me the tickets as a present for Christmas. Standing there with my two cousins, singing songs which we sang throughout our childhood and the whole way there at the top of our lungs in an Uber, was the charry on top of the cake. Shout out to Thor the Uber driver for coping with our pitchy 3 bottles of wine deep ‘Wannabe’ rendition. That’s a true male ally!
We’re the Spice Girls Yes indeed,
This Girl Power is all we need,
We know how we got this far,
Strength and courage in a wonder bra.