Spice Girls feminism

// 21 December 2007

The concept of ‘Spice Girls feminism’ has been resuscitated recently – perhaps unsurprisingly, given the group’s own reunion.

Check out this snippet from the Today programme, split into two sections put together by different journalists. The first section is quite dismissive of the need for feminism nowadays, and doesn’t acknowledge at all that young women are feminists, but the second section has a much more lucid take on ‘raunch culture’.

The most eye-opening thing about the segment is the wide disparity between how girls and boys interpret it when girls dress in what can be considered a conventionally sexy way. While the girls say that it empowers them, helps them get ahead at in workplaces that are otherwise meritocratic and equal, the teenage boys interviewed for the package say things like:

“The first thing that comes to mind is she’s a ‘ho’,” one says. “The first thing, with girls like that, I see them as like easy targets – you can get their numbers, do whatever.”

In other words, these boys at least are harbouring a much more chauvinistic world view than girls. Which is a dangerous dynamic in a culture where rape is endemic and unpunished, and juries are still likely to take the view that girls and women ‘had it coming’ if they happened to be going about their business in anything other than a floor-length, loose-fitting smock.

Well worth a listen.

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