"Girl Power" – yay or nay?

// 23 August 2007

spice_girls_9.gifIt’s ten years since the Spice Girls stormed the charts and stole the phrase “Girl Power” from the band Shampoo. And some people are fating this as a cultural landslide…

Sex expert Tracey Cox says: ‘Girl Power didn’t just leave its mark; it had a massive impact on a whole generation of women. They’re far more independent and confident because of it. The fiercely independent, angry, career-driven woman has gone. Back then, we figured the only way to beat men was to act like them. Now, we’ve relaxed. We’ve won the war and we’re celebrating being women. We’re also taking back what we lost along the way: motherhood, marriage and babies.” From Metro

Of course Cox’s definition of “winning the war” is one where victory means being paid less than men, having to work harder for the same recognition, still being treated as sexual objects first and humans second, routine harassment, exclusion from the upper echelons of powers and so forth. So given all that – yippee we won an imaginary battle which isn’t and was never a zero sum game between “victors” and “losers”. So much for their expert.

Thankfully there are some voices in the wilderness (well kind of) including Saira Khan, runner-up in the first series of BBC1’s Apprentice. She currently presents BBC1’s Beat The Boss (see here for comment on gender stereotyping in that show) and has her own skincare company.

‘The battle isn’t over – and it won’t be until men and women get paid the same. But women are laying down more rules and men are having to adapt. Some men are threatened by this. I’ve been out with men who earn less than me – we tried to pretend it wasn’t a problem but it was. I know lots of men who wouldn’t dream of going out with someone like me; I’m loud, confident, independent and I earn good money, which means I don’t necessarily need anyone.From Metro

So, where was I? As the Metro (that bastion of incisive journalism!) goes on to report 75% of women in a survey said they were “profoundly affected” by the Spice Girls and it reports, from the same survey, that 75% of car purchases are made with the woman’s input and 70% of women have travelled alone. DollyMix asks whether the feminists amongst us feel the same.Oh yes, did the Spice Girls change our lives… Well Dollymix found the majority were nay’s, although there was a single reported “yay”:

Yay. I was the perfect age for the Spice Girls to start tearing up the charts, at age 11, and fully embraced their Girl Power attitude. I can honestly say I wouldn’t be the woman I am today if it weren’t for them and their kick-ass, sassy, independent girls-can-do-it-for-themselves attitude.From DollyMix

But mostly it runs the gamut from the Spice Girls replicated objectification for women to the most profound effect was on my footwear (platforms apparently). For more responses see here.

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