From the Daily Mail ;-
‘Forgive me for being blunt, but if a generation of our young womanhood has taken to binge drinking, Saturday night sluttishness and “happy-slappings”, I blame the Spice Girls. There are one or two other factors, I dare say, such as the cult of consumerism, the decline of religion, easy credit, alco-pops, morning-after pills and the rest: but, if we’re going to look for scapegoats, Posh, Ginger, Sporty, Baby and Scary are, surely, obvious candidates.
Though some will no doubt disagree, and argue that the Spice Girls are simply a slice of bubblegum pop history, I believe the aspirations and attitudes of these five women go hand-in-hand with the decline of our culture over the past decade. Think back to those brilliant, suggestive, addictive pop songs of ten years back, when they swept across the nation’s playgrounds: “Well it’s a Saturday night, You know the feeling is right, Don’t you know we’ll get so high.”
Yeah! Grope, vomit, whoops: aren’t we having fun?
A decade on, the message has seeped deep into the culture, with the results plain for all to see on every High Street on, yes, any Saturday night. At first blush, of course, it was hard not to be seduced by those five perfectly branded young women. They were brash and sassy, and seemed to be driven by an unstoppable energy and a spirit of independence that defied the male race.
Looking back, alarm bells should have been ringing loud and clear. But, then, hindsight is a wonderful thing.
What we thought was the ultimate triumph of feminism was, in fact, its death knell. Girl Power was a sham, and its five proponents nothing more than desperate wannabes, not much better than today’s reality TV stars, desperate for a quick fix of fame. Now they’re on tour again, soaring above the world in their specially chartered Boeing 747, along with their crëches and their entourage.
But this time around the image they project is obviously and entirely contrived, with all that youthful zest replaced by weary cynicism. The difference between those five breezily-sexual, energetic, bouncy girls singing about Girl Power ten years back and the five sugar-coated, air-brushed, painfully-thin, desperate mums-on-tour is clear to see. Seeing them strutting about the stage in weird Bacofoil-style corsets – like trussed-up festive turkeys – in Canada this week, I found myself wishing this reunion had never taken place. I was embarrassed for them.
I also feel embarrassed for myself.
And for feminism and for Britain, whose flag has become far too synonymous with Spice Girl glory ever since Geri wore that dress nearly a decade ago. I’m embarrassed for them because, despite the fact that they already have so much, they are still desperately clinging on by their brittle, lacquered acrylic nails to the fame which they so craved when they were young, and the hunger for which, it seems, has still not sated them. All the riches and fame in the world wouldn’t be enough to feed that hunger.
Somehow, they make rather a pathetic spectacle, these Spice Women (no longer Spice Girls) clinging to youth, celebrity, a tiny bum, and the fading memory of a fabulous and fortuitous meeting with the then zeitgeist, when they sang about friends and love – and all the little girls (and the big ones, too) sang along. It all seemed so empowering at the time: the idea that girls should take charge of their own sexuality.
But did anyone stop to think what would happen next?
Now, with the dubious privilege of hindsight, we have the answer. For a start, we are now living in the Age of Easy Couplings. What chance did formal sex education have when faced with the catchy lyrics – written by men, of course – that told young girls to indulge in such things as “weekend love” and encouraged “playing games”? What it did of course was to separate love from sex.
The Spice Girls killed romance.
Their singable, suggestive lyrics took away the innocence of the playground – or at least what was left of it. And it’s never coming back. They turned difficult love into temporary sex, and reduced female aspiration to a series of consumer choices. They turned little girls into paedophile bait, and in doing so they helped destroy our concept of childhood.
And why am I embarrassed for myself? Because I admit I once rather liked the Spice Girls. Five seemingly enthusiastic, hard-working young women given names that sounded as if they had been plucked from a range of lipsticks by their Pygmalion manager, Simon Fuller. The Spice Girls didn’t, honestly, have much talent of their own, except for Mel C with her lovely voice and her songwriting skills. And she’s the one who has aged best, looks most human, is still most likeable. The others, as time goes on, seem to have dieted and airbrushed themselves into what they think men want: fearful of turning back into the naturally pretty, unpretentious young girls they originally were before the pop industry cast its greedy eye on them.
With the Spice Girls came the “Because I’m worth it” culture. Implicit in this was the idea that all men were idiots – crass bumbling fools: an idea reinforced and exploited by ad agencies trying to sell, for example, cars to women. “Dump the boyfriend, the car’s more fun” ran the slogans. But however much one laments the damage they caused, at least the Spice Girls had their moment – their desperately longed-for appointment with destiny.
I don’t think that will happen this time round.
Ten years on, those bouncy, slightly unkempt girls are wives and mothers. In readiness for their money-spinning world tour, they have been hammered into a kind of robotic perfection, every curve calculated and every move choreographed. But every smile seems false; every gesture of togetherness suspect. Look long and hard and it seems as if at any moment the lacquer is about to crack and peel.
With their tumbling hair, spiced-up smiles and carved cheekbones, the girls who once raged about Girl Power now seem desperate for male approval. They may brandish the whips and tight leather costumes of the S&M dungeon on stage, but the act just comes across as risible. Victoria, the bad-tempered one who won’t smile, can’t smile, pouts her mouth and squeezes her tiny frame into bondage gear.
But in the end, it’s just embarrassing. The attempt at eroticism doesn’t work.
For all the lighting tricks and clever camera angles (or, indeed, perhaps because of them), it remains as sexy as secondrate soft porn. Each to their own, I suppose; except they’ve got five children between them. Sexy strip-teases, I ask you! Of the five of them, two are married (one of those for the second time and not to the father of her baby), one is a single mother, and two have long-term partners. 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.
In the cotton mills 150 years ago, toddlers crawled about the dusty factory floors. Now it’s on the aircraft floor, up and down the aisle. What’s the difference? Not a lot, except these working mothers have a lot more money and wouldn’t starve if they put their feet up and stayed at home for the rest of their lives.
I’m saddened for the feminist movement because Posh, Ginger, Sporty, Baby and Scary were once meant to be Girl Power role models – independent, sexy, high achievers. And now look at them. There’s a feminist country-and-western song by Deanna Carter, “Did I shave my legs for this?” in which a young wife heads for the door, tired of her couch-potato husband. Similarly, faced with what has become of the Spice Girls, I am inclined to say “Did I take off my wedding ring for this?” – which I did, back in the Seventies, out of fellow feeling for the way any woman over 30 was made to feel inferior if she didn’t have one.
All those old gestures seem pointless in retrospect. The inheritance has been squandered.
So I’m embarrassed for the feminists, clinging on to the dream of a proud, equal, serious society, where justice ruled and lasses didn’t throw away their hard-won equality in the pubs and clubs, puking up their resentments on the shoes of paramedics trying to help them out of the gutter. Those little girls who first listened to the Spice Girls ten years ago are the ones who are now running up vast credit card bills on designer shopping they can’t afford.
They are the ones who are anorexic or bulimic (just like Geri was).
They are the ones who are fuelling a rise in sexual diseases the like of which we haven’t seen for generations.
And I’m embarrassed for the nation because, thanks to Geri’s famous Union Jack dress, worn back in the heady days of Blair’s New Cool Britannia, and worn once again on stage this week, the Spice Girls remain “our” representatives. Just like them, we’re clinging to one-time glory, to the time when British Airways really was the world’s favourite airline, England could beat Croatia at football, and the Spice Girls were the biggest pop group on the planet. But I’m afraid the world will yawn and sneer at this attempt to resurrect past glories. ‘
How very like a feminist to blame the social decay that has resulted from feminism on a pop band!
After forty years of brainwashing women about entitlement without responsibility, legitimised by lies and exaggerated half-truths of victimhood, we can now see the resulting effects on western society described above.
Perhaps you should look a little closer to home, Fay!