About 7 years ago, I was heading out to lunch with 2 of my coworker friends when the conversation turned to popular music.
As we climbed into my friend’s car she said, “You know, the Pussycat Dolls are just like the Spice Girls.”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa!” I practically smacked her over the head with my purse. “Pussycat Dolls are NOTHING like the Spice Girls!”
My friends exchanged a look between them, probably wondering if I was going to go off on one of my rants.
I fell in love with the Spice Girls in high school, and my friends assigned each other “spice” names based on our personalities (I was Baby Spice). I had all their CDs, unauthorized biographies, TV specials, their hilariously awful movie Spice World, and everything.
I even went to their reunion concert in 2007, and I loved seeing them perform for the London Olympics last year. They’ll always be a part of me, even though I still have no idea what “zig-a-zig-ah!” means.
By the time we pulled into the parking lot of the local pita place, I had gone over all the reasons why the girl group the Pussycat Dolls from the mid 2000s was nothing like the girl group the Spice Girls from the mid 1990s.
The biggest reason, of course, was that the Spice Girls promoted sisterly bonding, or “Girl Power.” Pussycat Dolls were all about competition and outdoing each other (usually in very little clothing).
Unlike the Pussycat Dolls, the Spice Girls had no lead singer, and their whole shtick was equality among girlfriends.
And as for the men in their lives, the Pussycat Dolls reveled in cattiness by singing, “Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me?” while the Spice Girls put friends first by singing, “If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends.”
It’s the difference between building up women with positivity…or cruelly cutting them down out of jealousy.
“I just meant they were sexy lady singers,” my friend rolled her eyes at me and focused her attention on the menu.
I don’t know why the idea of how women treat each other gets me so riled up. Maybe it’s because I’ve been burned by so-called friends in the past and every day I see women judging and backstabbing each other.
As a naïve (and virginal) 16-year-old, I honestly believed that women could support each other to make our lives more beautiful and happy. I noticed things started to change once dating and sex crept into our consciousness.
Then it became all about one-upping each other: who was prettier, who was more successful, who had the best car/house/job/partner.
And while many women in my life were outwardly friendly, their loyalty could turn on a dime…and I’d often be left wondering what went wrong.
So, does girl power exist? Or is it imaginary like unicorns and fairy godmothers?
I still believe in girl power, but as of this writing, I have no close girlfriends. No one to invite over for pizza and a chick flick. No one who’ll troll the aisles at Target with me for hours on end.
We finished our falafel sandwiches and dumped our trash in the bin.
“The Spice Girls were a manufactured group too,” said my friend, who incidentally stopped being my friend 3 months later. “They weren’t really friends.”
Yeah, I knew that too…but it felt real.
Do you believe in girl power?
Do you think women can support each other without jealousy?
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