This is part one of a two part series inspired by What Would The Spice Girls Do? By Lauren Bravo. So about two pages in I’d already decided I wanted to write a blog post about this book, mainly due to the fact that it’s all about the girl power generation, how we grew up and the future of girl power. Which we all know by now is a topic I feel very passionately about!
The book as a whole was so familiar, nostalgic even, but it was like reading my past thoughts and feelings through a pair of grown-up glasses, such as seeing Geri’s (in)famous Union Jack dress as problematic rather than powerful (cheers Brexit). It’s full of opinions, memories and quotes from girl power ambassadors that could’ve easily come from my very own brain, it’s just so millennial of me to keep saying how damn relatable the whole fuckin’ book is!
“Within the first few seconds we all recognise Mel B’s cackle at the start of Wannabe and as Lauren Bravo wrote, ‘it’s like a siren that reminds us of everything girl power makes us feel and what we can achieve.”
So one of the most vital messages that struck a chord with me throughout reading was the theme of friendship… I often read and hear things about people struggling to make friends as they grow up, and I believe that’s due to the lack of ‘manufactured’ friendship making moments. For example; school, college, university, jobs, hobbies, clubs etc. Specific instances that kinda force people together and they end up forming bonds, getting to know each other and wanting to spend time together.
Do you think that makes a friendship less valid or valuable? Fuck no, that’s dumb. So why do people think that being a manufactured girl band makes the Spice Girls less powerful? Fuck knows! (Well, most likely toxic masculinity and toxic ‘feminism’, but we’ll move onto that in part two…)
“There are a thousand arbitrary ways to form a bond with somebody, but it’s what you do with it that counts. Assembling for a cause, presenting a united front, or just being able to stride out of each toilet mini-conference emboldened by the knowledge that there’s someone to hold your hand, your handbag or your hair back for you when you need it.”
The second thing that resonated with me to the point where I felt the urge to write about it was sex. I’ve wanted to introduce sexual topics into my blog for a while but never been sure how to broach the subject so here feels like a good place to start!
“The Spice girls made the whole business of relationships and sex sound so much less tortured than everyone else did. Nina from The Cardigan’s was a love fool. Natalie Imbruglia was cold and ashamed, lying naked on the floor. The Spice Girls were dancing round the desert with laser guns.”
Having focused a lot of my personal photography work around consent, I have a lot of thoughts and feelings about the difference between when things are ’empowering’ and ‘exploitative’ when it comes to sex and relationships. It can teeter on a knife’s edge. We as women have fought for the right to decide for ourselves where that boundary lies, and yet it can also be difficult to know truthfully which we’re feeling and when.
Even as an adult finding that boundary is difficult to the point I cannot even fathom what it feels like to a child or a teenager in that position. Sometimes it look like one but feels like the other and it has the power to change minute by minute.
Sex and consent are not subjects to be taken lightly, but it’s also supposed to be fun, that’s why it’s important for icons such as the Spice Girls to not shy away from the topic!
So yeah, I guess what I’m trying to say is that there’s a lot to learn in unexpected places! Keep ya peepers out for part two!
“Call it nonsense if you will, but we know differently. Apart from “zig-a-zig-ah”, in hindsight, that might have been bollocks.”