30 jul 2020

How the Spice Girls became icons of the girl power movement

“Wannabe” by the Spice Girls is turning 25 in 2021. To rise to the occasion, the British girl group announced Channel 4 is shooting a multiple parts documentary entitled “Girl powered: The Spice Girls”. This new project should focus on the trajectory of the five singers and how they became influential figures of pop culture and 90s feminism.

What was going on in the world in 1996? While a young Will Smith was starring in Independence Day, Prince Charles and Lady Diana were getting a divorce and the Nintendo 64 was getting its first start, the Spice Girls were making a real splash in the music industry with the release of their single Wannabe. With over-the-top and varied outfits, the five singers nicknamed Posh, Baby, Scary, Sporty and Ginger Spice embodied a wider spectrum of femininity, becoming front-figures of 90s feminism. While the year 2021 will bring the 25th anniversary of the worldwide hit, Wannabe, Channel 4 announced they will be making a multiple parts documentary on the Spice Girls, following the trajectory of their career. Entitled Girl Powered: The Spice Girls, this new project will unveil unseen footage of the girl-group as well as exclusive interviews.


From the start of their career in the 90s, the Spice Girls embodied a new type of feminism and became true figures of the girl power movement. “[Girl power] is being able to do things just as well as — or even better than — the boys, and be what we want to be”, explained Mel C — alias Sporty Spice — at the end of the 90s. By embodying different archetypes such as the sporty one, the posh one, the ever young one, and wearing printed shirts reading “Girl Power!”, the Spice Girls proved just how much the fight for equal rights applied to each and every woman.


By firing their manager in 1995 — because his artistic proposals imprisoned them in a childlike image — The Spice Girls imposed their vision of a modern and free woman. With lyrics such as: “I’ll tell you what I want, what I really want/if you want my future, forget my past/don’t go wasting my precious time”, the girl group inspired a whole generation of women that, every time their idols came together, showed unreal commitment and support. In addition to this new series — which release date is still to be announced — Channel 4 also said that four out of the five original members of the group may come back for an exceptional tour across Europe, Australia and the United-States. In November 2018, almost twenty years after the group had broken up, the Spice Girls had announced a series of nine exclusive shows in the United Kingdom, triggering waves of hysteria. The fans fought tooth and nail over the tickets, breaking the country’s sales record.