7. Girl Power
All in all, this has been a pretty major week. We’ve had the highs, lows and inevitable mud bath of the Glastonbury Festival. For an event that focused on the issue of climate change it is ironic that whilst its performers sang, the country was subjected to record downfalls amid unseasonable storms.
For many people, their top event of the week was the swearing in of Britain’s first new Prime Minister in 10 years. Gordon Brown has had a very busy first week, and it would seem that some elements have seen fit to mark his entry to office with a series of terrorist attacks in the UK. Thankfully no innocent members of public have been hurt, but clearly Gordon Brown’s first cabinet has had a full in-tray, right from the off.
Speaking of the new cabinet, it has been frequently commented that his is no Blair’s Babes’ government – the Prime Minister’s first cabinet reshuffle has seen the number of women in cabinet reduced from 8 to 5. So perhaps Gordon isn’t too interested in Girl Power.
Thank goodness then for our top event of the week (terrorist attacks notwithstanding); the reformation of the Spice Girls.
Watching the Spice Girls lining up for interviews, still mouthing their ‘Girl Power’ slogan has been a rather surreal experience. Now, as ten years ago, I find myself asking the same question. What exactly is ‘Girl Power’?
Ten years ago, for the Spice Girls it seemed to represent a feisty attitude and a catchy slogan and… not much else really. And, in fairness, that’s probably fine for a pop band. After all, the Spice Girls did not invent the 90’s concept of ‘Girl Power’, but it was due to their global domination of the world of pop music that they quickly became its most powerful proponents.
The concept generally represented an ideal of assertiveness and self-empowerment for young girls and women during the 1990s. At the time, this was easy to take for granted as a straightforward sub-strand of feminism and gender equality.
However, when compared with the IT girl, WAG phenomenon that so many aspire to today, Girl Power begins to look like a revolution whose comeback would be quite welcome.
By Peter Muriuki