‘World’s greatest girl band’ in royal reunion

Pop princesses: A bashful 13 year-old Prince Harry meets three of the Spice Girls in 1997.

Should we admire the Spice Girls? With a reunion (sort of) underway, the 90s stars may perform at Prince Harry’s wedding. Some say their message of “Girl Power” is needed now more than ever.

The Spice Girls were one of the greatest pop groups of all time. They sold over 85 million records, notched nine UK number ones, and defined a generation. And soon they could reunite at the most talked about event of the year: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding.

Whilst appearing on a US chat show, Mel B (aka Scary Spice) claimed that the “five Spice Girls” had received invitations. But she would not confirm if they would perform, joking that she would be sacked if she revealed any more.

A reunion of sorts had been confirmed earlier this month with each band member set to earn a reported £10 million from endorsements and TV projects. However, no concerts have yet been arranged.

Therefore, fans wanting to hear their most famous single “Wannabe” sung live may be disappointed.

This was just one song the band used to spread their ideas of “Girl Power” to the world. The slogan is described by one journalist as a “rallying cry against oppression and gender inequality.”

And some think this idea is more vital now than ever. As the Time’s Up and #MeToo campaigns lead the fight against sexual abuse, the tag #GirlPower has lit up social media, being shared millions of times.

So should we admire the Spice Girls?

Old spice

Hardly, some say. Their vague and derivative slogan “Girl Power” is not exactly groundbreaking. And rather than empowering women, nicknames like Sporty Spice present female identity as a bland succession of stereotypes. What is more, this “reunion” is clearly just a cynical money-making ploy.

Nonsense, others respond. Their success can be measured in money made or records sold, but the intangibles are what count — for example, the joy their music inspires in people across the world. For this alone they deserve a second chance in the spotlight.

You Decide

  1. Overall, is pop music feminist?

Activities

  1. Make a list of your favourite musicians — whether they are famous pop groups, obscure singer-songwriters, or old rock bands. What messages do you think their music communicates? Are their ideas mostly positive or negative?

Some People Say...

“Spice Girls is about unifying the world — every age, every gender, everyone.”

Geri Halliwell

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
This would not be the first reunion that the band have attempted. After splitting up in 2000, the group reunited in 2007 for a world tour and also performed at the 2012 London Olympics.
What do we not know?
We do not know what shape this latest reunion will take, however it is extremely unlikely that the group will tour. Some think they will avoid musical performances altogether.

Word Watch

Scary Spice
All members of the group had alter-egos and nicknames. Emma Bunton was known as Baby Spice, Geri Halliwell was called Ginger Spice, Victoria Beckham went by Posh Spice, and Mel C was called Sporty Spice.
Girl Power
The band did not invent the phrase. It was previously associated with the Riot Grrrl movement in America — an underground feminist group known for their punk style.
Inequality
For more on this view see Arianna Davis’s piece in Become An Expert.
Derivative
Something which copies or is based on another source.

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