Constructing Femininity the Popular Way Dafna Lemish Introduction The Spice Girls—a British manufactured all-female pop group had an unpre- cedented success in the global popular music market of Their first single "Wannabe" was the biggest selling debut single ever and was number one in the charts of 32 countries Dibbens.
I wrote the essay below inexploring the idea of the Spice Girls as a popular culture phenomenon and their cultural politics. As a case study to argue the intrinsic relationship between popular music and cultural politics, this essay will focus on the Spice Girls and their first album Spice.
Cultural politics is a broad sweeping term that can be used in relation to many conflicts in society. It is a concept which recognises society is made up of different viewpoints and refers to the ways in which co-existence is maintained Opie In other words, a system of negotiation between different belief systems must be found for this co-existence to operate.
Furthermore, within this system, a dominant — or hegemonic — group usually emergences and this position can be challenged. Popular Music provides a medium for this negotiation to take place.
He suggests we use pop songs to create for ourselves a particular sort of self-determination, a particular place in society The Spice Girls is one of many examples of bands that could be considered subordinate and therefore compete for equality. The primary and most palpable reason for this consideration is that the group consists of only females.
The Spice Girls, by definition, oppose these widely held stereotypes. It is in this way that the Spice Girls are noticeably political.
The place that the Spice Girls have in history is very significant in relation to the message that they conveyed. They followed on from the Riot Grrrl movement, personified by Alanis Morisette, which had its roots in punk.
This movement was characterised by a portraying a sense of womanhood that challenged sexism Schilt7. However, to conclude at this point is to understate the significance of the Spice Girls: It is a show of strength and perseverance in the face of stereotypes that expect women to be weak and subordinate.
The similarities to feminism are actually articulated in the book: By extension, this sisterhood that the Spice Girls promote is inclusive of the audience that participates in their music. The political aspect to this challenge is evident in the liner notes to their first album.
They return the male gaze: They set out rules that subvert the stereotypical roles in modern relationships.
In the song Melanie C sings: While it is socially acceptable for any male to have a sexual history, negative discourse surrounds the non-virgin female. The Spice Girls were constructed as being five different types of the same facet of society.
They assumed five unique personalities and adopted pet names: In doing this they create a definition of womanhood that is diverse and varied.
One can be physically active and outgoing like Sporty Spice, wild and loud like Scary Spice or elegant and sophisticated like Posh Spice. Outlined above is a number of ways in which the Spice Girls can be seen to be a political.
He argues that the experience of popular music is an experience of identity Firth, The Spice Girls construct a feminine space and legitimise various modes of femininity, and in doing so create a community with their audience in which their principles are upheld.
The space in which they created is a challenge to hegemony. Therefore there is a political element to their message, one which attempts to reconstruct culture through a 90s form of feminism. Conference and Workshop Papers.The Significance of Chronology in Commodity Feminism: Audience Interpretations of Girl Power Music.
Rebecca C. Hains. including Popular Communication and Girlhood Studies: Spice World: Constructing Femininity the Popular Way. Dafna Lemish. Popular Music and Society. Published online.
Here is where the political aspect of gender is evident with the Spice Girls’ progressive portrayal of femininity. In popular music “[t]he construction or performance of gender is influenced by and also influences specific social and cultural contexts” (Cohen , ).
Think of how the Spice Girls were marketed in the ‘90s, “Spice World: Constructing Femininity the Popular Way.” Popular Music and Society 26 (1): 17– McRobbie, Angela. Request PDF on ResearchGate | On Feb 1, , Dafna Lemish and others published Spice World: Constructing Femininity the Popular Way For full functionality of ResearchGate it is necessary to.
“Spice World: constructing femininity the popular way” in Popular Music and Society. Opie, Brian. “Introduction to Literature and Cultural Politics.”.
Through their image in music, print and visual texts, the Spice Girls construct a particular feminine space, representing models for adoration, inspiring young girls’ fantasies, providing legalization for various modes f rites of passage into the world of femininity.