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Formative (years) Flashback Friday with Spice World

Do any of you have cats? I have one, his name is Inman (as in Cold Mountain) and I love him a stupid amount. I think it has to do with the damn biological clock, which I officially believe in after hitting thirty a couple years ago. I have no desire to have human children, but I baby the shit out of my cat child. I acknowledge my insanity. What I haven’t yet come to terms with is that my little monster is deep in a gremlin phase. Usually, he’s really well trained. He even hikes! But he’s not even two, and every once in awhile he pushes boundaries just to see if he can. For months, he wouldn’t even think of trying to jump on the dresser where we keep the TV. Then all the sudden, he wants to try to get at the window behind the TV. So yesterday I got home from running my errands and was in the middle of a few chores before I sat down to bless you all with a Throwback Thursday article on the Spice Girls, and when I was performing my last chore (stirring the compost) I heard a noise from the house. I turned around and there was the dastardly gremlin, somehow behind the television and behind the blinds, the entire length of his body stretched from windowsill to the top of the frame, scratching at the window begging to come outside and stir compost with me. I said “Inman, your dad is going to be mad that you’re behind the TV” when he suddenly looked behind him before jumping down and out of sight. Though I couldn’t see what happened behind the blinds, somehow I knew. I dropped the shovel, ran inside, and there it was….the television had flipped 180 degrees and was sitting with its top on the floor. I righted the television and put it back on its spot, there was no visible damage and I thought maybe, just maybe, it would all be ok. I hit the power button and was immediately dismayed. The TV was totaled.

I did not purchase this television, my boyfriend brought it into the home. I was mortified at the idea of telling him when he got home – “Hey honey, remember that when we moved in together, you brought the TV and I brought the cat? Well, what I brought just destroyed what you brought. Love you!” (Spoiler alert: He wasn’t even mad, he was just bummed/disappointed…so basically it was the worst!) The point behind this story? The hours I intended to spend working on this article were instead spent biting my nails and waiting for Edward to come home so I could deliver the news with a whiskey drink and a donut. Somehow, the idea of continuing about my day as usual seemed completely inappropriate. I thought I would push this article back to next week but then it occurred to me – this is my blog. I can do whatever I want! So I’m going to write about the Spice Girls and call it a Flashback Friday, or we can all just admit that every day is a good day to talk about the Spice Girls. Are you ready to take a dive with me? Let’s do this!

You may have noticed, faithful readers, that I have made some major improvements to this site recently. I am proud to announce that Reviews for no Reason has gone legit – I own the domain name now, and I cleaned up the look of the place. I was amazed to discover while remodeling that this blog has twenty three followers! Some of you are strangers to me, though I suppose you’re intimately aware of the inner workings of my psyche (I have never been accused of holding back). The reason that I did all this is because I fucking love writing this blog. I love pop culture, I love examining it and holding it up to a critical light. I love diving deep into the tiniest details of media and reading in between the lines. This blog is my passion project, and there are few things I am more passionate about than my formative years spent with the Spice Girls.

The Spice Girls are engrained in my DNA, just like my hazel eyes or the shaming of southern christianity. It’s not something that I think about every day, but it is always a part of me. It was a wandering road that led the Spice Girls to the front of my mind again (Bowen Yang as the iceburg that the Titanic hit > Bowen Yang’s interview on Sam Sander’s podcast > listening to the most recent episode of Las Culturistas), but I am glad that I got there in the end. Bowen and Matt were lamenting on the latest episode of Las Culturistas that there is nowhere to watch Spice World anymore, and they’re not wrong. It’s not even available for rent on YouTube or Amazon. But you know who does get to watch Spice World whenever they want?! People like me who still have DVDs and laptops that still have DVD drives!! Just last week my brother was telling me that DVDs and DVD players were obsolete, but who’s laughing now, Steve?! (Probably him, he’d likely chew off his own leg to get out of watching Spice World)

Clifford, the band’s manager, opens the movie by saying that the girls are like five lionesses, chewing at his leg. This not only creates a brilliant segue between my rambling and actually talking about the movie, but it also defines exactly how I want to be perceived by men. I want to be fierce and majestic, and I want to be mildly unapproachable. This desire must come from the part of my DNA that’s fused with formative memories of the Spice Girls.

So many of the men in this movie, including Clifford, are all representative of different factions of the patriarchy. Alan Cummings, while a show stealing member of the B cast, represents all the men that coattail strong women to try to make a quick buck. Clifford is the well meaning almost ally. The staff at The Daily Event represents all the men that are not in that “not all men” category (but I bet they love that phrase) – they’re out to harm women for their own gain. Chief is clearly the Weinstein behind the operation, pulling the strings as if women are puppets instead of humans. None of these patriarchal symbols are actually capable of truly harming the Girls, in the end. Their story is one of capital G Girl Power, in which the power of femininity triumphs over all in the end.

Their victories and successes don’t come from their ability to play the game better, but rather from their determination to love each other and stay true to themselves above all else. Multiple times throughout their movie, the Spice Girls walk off or take over when they feel that things are getting out of hand or when they’re not having any fun – contractual obligations are moot when it contradicts their desires. Though they were born in the era that manufactured bands and meticulously manicured them like a Bonsai Tree of pop stardom (N*Sync, The Backstreet Boys, and 98 degrees were other memorable machine-made success stories) the girls continue to remind us that life should just be really, truly fun. Spice World nods at their origin story while still expressing an individuality and a depth to the girls that other manufactured bands of the time did not have. In a time when Justin Timberlake couldn’t sneeze without permission, Geri was screaming feminist truths and no one dared to tell her that it wasn’t allowed.

Honestly, Spice World will probably never be appreciated outside of its time. It captured all of the goofy girl power energy of their era and portrayed it perfectly on the screen. From the meta moments to the cameos, Spice World truly stands out as one of a kind. The movie balances tacky and charming so effectively, and it’s refreshing to see something come out of the manufactured era that still appears to value individuality. (Then again, maybe that’s how we all ended up in the black hole of being consumed by social media while thinking that we control it #basicbitchconspiracytheory #2). While the movie will only ever land for the right people, I personally am glad that it exists. It captured a part of my life where I was silly and special, and kept it in a time capsule for me to revisit whenever I need to.

I wish I could shake off my adult glasses when I watch this movie, I really do. I hate that I’m putting up the girl power morals that I learned from the Spice Girls against the reality that they were a manufactured experience. (though without my adult glasses I would not appreciate that MEAT LOAF is in this movie and somehow I NEVER realized it – my Meat Loaf obsession was several years after the Spice Girls disappeared) Maybe it’s ok to put aside my cynicism every once in awhile and just enjoy myself. For ninety minutes I can bask in the purity of my youth and marvel at how well I turned out because I believed in Girl Power. Seriously, when Mel C told me to “want a man, not a boy who thinks he can” I thought of my dear Edward, who lost his television at the paws of my gremlin and barely made a fuss.

Hopefully one day, Spice World will be accessible to all, because everyone who wants to see it, anyone who needs to relive it, deserves that opportunity. Until then, BRING BACK THE DVD!!! And don’t forget to trust it use it prove it groove it, show me how good you are.

Categories: Movies Musical Artists Uncategorized

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nikkiraejensen

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