Wednesday, April 17, 2013

"Blah, Blah, Blah... Girl Power, Feminism, Whatevah"

First of all, let me just say that I really, really, really loved every comment I got about my last blog post. Whether you posted something on Blogger's comments, on Facebook, sent emails, or even shared your thoughts through old-fashioned face-to-face conversation, I really appreciated everyone.

I know my opinion isn't the only one, nor the right fit for everyone, but I love engaging in discussion and want to elaborate on my opinions. However -- and that's a big however -- before I do that, I wanted to lay the groundwork for what I think it means to be a feminist.

I know I joked about the "F-word," but I really do think feminism has gotten too much bad press. For starters, many people think it is an attack on the family, which I absolutely do not believe. I had so much respect and love for my own mom growing up and I know it was because she was an intelligent, empowered, successful, educated woman. Not in spite of it.

But I don't think all intelligent, empowered, successful, educated women fit into one mold. I think the majority of women would agree that all women should be able to do whatever they want to do -- whether that is to stay at home to raise a beautiful family, or become the president of the United States.

Despite this common agreement, there are still so many awesome women who preface their gender opinions with "I'm not a feminist, but..."

I can't speak for everyone, but I assume people feel the need for this preface because feminists have a reputation for being angry, frustrated, cold, and generally unhappy people. Not exactly the first person you would invite to a dinner party.

It is for this reason, I really hope you have had the chance to watch the cinematic masterpiece of "Spice World."

If you didn't watch it between the years of 1997 and 2000, you will probably never ever see it. In the year 3000, when people are finally digging up all those time capsules, they will find the "Spice World" VHS and probably watch it then, but you really can't watch it in 2013.

Even I, a die-hard fan of the Spice Girls who memorized every song down to the zig-a-zig-ah,  recorded many impromptu music videos on the family JVC, and even performed as a Posh Spice lookalike in a Wasatch Elementary talent show, cannot watch "Spice World" from start to finish anymore.

It's not because they just so happen to run across extra terrestrials:

Or because they deliver this baby without the help of anyone except what looks like a school nurse:
Or even that their plush, double-decker tour bus jumps Tower Bridge:

Where they really lost me is when they are balancing atop said bus in THESE shoes:

So, yeah. Unless you watched "Spice World" at a sleepover, on a sugar high, in the 90s, don't bother. I'm just here to say you did miss out on some serious Girl Power messages like this one:
Seriously powerful stuff.

Some Spice Girls critics (I know what you're thinking; "How could anyone be critical of the Spice girls?!") have said that the Girl Power movement was just to put mothers at ease when their pre-teen girls were obsessed with a girl-band who seemed to be promoting the if-I'm-wearing-boots-I-don't-need-pants movement. But I don't think we should be quite so harsh to Girl Power.

Girl Power was all about the camaraderie between girls, and dare I say, women. It was about feeling strong and being who you want to be. Even though the Spice Girls were not the ideal role models, at least they got the ball rolling. I mean, if four British girls can stand on stilts on top of a moving bus, (Posh was driving, of course, otherwise it would be five) what can't girls do?

But the best part about Girl Power is that it didn't take itself too seriously, unlike its ultra-serious older sister: Feminism. Now, I am the first person to say that women should be taken more seriously, and take themselves more seriously. But Feminism as a whole needs to lighten up a bit. By taking a little advice from Girl Power, Feminism can be more approachable, gain a larger following, and make more changes in this world.

I know my logic has been tangential at best, but this is my plea to start using the "F word" more. If you think women are smart, capable, strong, beautiful, and divine, call yourself a feminist. If you think women have just as important a role in this world as anyone else, call yourself a feminist. If you are proud to be a woman, call yourself a feminist.


Jordyn said...

Okay...this is so legit. I never really thought about it before, but the secret theme of the '90s was totally feminism--just re-packaged in cool, fun, Lisa Frank colors and Gwen Stefani bindis. You are a genius! GIRL POWER 4EVS

Katie Taggart said...

Alex, I LOVE all your posts!