The Spice Girls have killed feminism

// 5 December 2007

Spice Girls

I’m struggling here, so if anyone can shed any light on what exactly Fay Weldon’s argument is in this piece from the Daily Mail (of course), I’d welcome their assistance.

As far as I can work out, young women in this country have gone to hell in a handcart because of the Spice Girls’ pernicious influence. That’s the only part of the article I can make any coherent sense of, because the rest of it is a jumble of “it is so sad that Girl Power was a sham” against “their entire basis of being was appalling”, “the Spice Girls let women down” against “women should be ashamed of the Spice Girls”. It’s a mish-mash of a hatchet job on the Spice Girls, with random mentions of “feminism” and “feminists” shoehorned in. I’m utterly flummoxed by this particular extract:

According to the rumour mill, chickenpox has struck on the tour. It must be dreadful in that 747. Well, what did the feminists think would happen? That these girls wouldn’t have messy relationships and have to drag their kids round the world so they could go to work? At the end of the day, a working mother’s a working mother.

Say what now? Have I missed some concerted campaign criticising the Spice Girls for allowing their children to get chickenpox? (Incidentally, though Weldon asserts that the Girls have five children between them, I’m fairly sure they have seven, but am willing to be corrected on that.)

Weldon’s aside, “They [young British women] are the ones who are anorexic or bulimic (just like Geri was)”, is simply cruel. Of course, it’s all Geri Halliwell’s fault that girls develop eating disorders; she set the fashion, the others just follow. No mention of the fact that Halliwell’s colleagues have also suffered from eating disorders (Mel C has certainly spoken about her body image problems), or discussion of the idea that the Spice Girls were just as much victims of media or societal pressure as opinion leaders and trendsetters. But of course, that would detract from the idea that they are singlehandedly responsible for the terrible decline in society’s standards.

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