In 1996, a band of five women released their soon-to-be hit single “Wannabe,” rocking both my childhood and the entire pop industry.
Victoria Adams (Posh Spice), Melanie Brown (Scary Spice), Emma Bunton (Baby Spice), Melanie Chisolm (Sporty Spice), and Geri Halliwell (Ginger Spice) founded Spice Girls over 25 years ago — and they’re still going strong.
Their debut album, Spice, sold 23 million copies globally and made the Spice Girls one of the bestselling female music groups of all time.
Why the Spice Girls were a big hit — and a target
So, if this band was a hit a quarter of a century ago, why are we still talking about them? Here’s why the Spice Girls were hugely successful in the ’90s and why they’re making a comeback.
They were fashionable
Maybe the Spice Girls had too many sparkles, cargo pants, and piercings for today’s beauty and makeup standards, but back in the day, I took all of my fashion cues from the Spice Girls. We didn’t really have the internet yet, it was pre-eGirl, so fashion came from celebrities on TV and in teen magazines. So yeah, an entire generation of women got their looks from Posh Spice.
You know how people like to talk about ’90s girl power? Spice Girls probably started the entire trend. Their unique brand of feminism told young girls like me that we could be whatever we wanted to be — which was still pretty revolutionary for the time. And it didn’t hurt that the Spice Girls were vocal about sexist BS in their interviews, too.
Spiceworld: The Movie
Spiceworld was 100% ridiculous, but I watched it over and over again with my friends. Again, this was before YouTube, so if I wanted to hear from Baby Spice, I had to rewatch my Spiceworld VHS, which I was happy to do.
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Honestly, I didn’t know the Spice Girls’ real names until I was an adult. Their nicknames were definitely part of their draw, even if they were assigned by a journalist who couldn’t bother to learn the women’s names for an article.
Like any good music group, the Spice Girls’ drama and controversy made them even more sensational. They didn’t always get along and, in 1998, just two years after forming, Ginger Spice left the band. Spice Girls got by without her before disbanding in 2000, but I pretty much stopped listening when Ginger left.
And keep in mind that there were plenty of people who didn’t like their Girl Power message. Media outlets, record label execs, and parents thought the band was too revolutionary and in-your-face.
Of course, that only made me love them more.
— Spice Girls (@spicegirls) November 14, 2021
Present day: Why we love the Spice Girls again
Spice Girls was a big, big deal in the late ’90s. But why is Gen Z — people who didn’t grow up with this music — blaring “Wannabe” on TikTok?
@roxteenoficialJuntamos essa música icônica com o ##NatalRoxter e olha como ficou! 🎄⭐️ ##roxteen ##roxter ##pravoce ##foryou ##foryourpage ##dance ##natal ##feliznatal ##fyp♬ Wannabe – Spice Girls
Stop right now — here’s why the Spice Girls are back:
- The Spice Girls generation grew up: I had to beg my mom for Baby Spice’s lip gloss collection back in the day. But now I have big-girl money and I can spend it on whatever I want. Once you hit 30, you’re desperate for anything that reminds you of a time when your back didn’t hurt all the time. My fellow millennials are happy to spend top dollar on ’90s nostalgia now that we can afford it, and that includes all things Spice Girls.
- Nineties fashion is back: Why hello, crop tops and Lisa Frank shoes! Where have you been?? Fashion from the ’90s is back in full force, which is giving a new generation access to cultural icons from that era, like the Spice Girls. Who wouldn’t want a piece of iconic ’90s girl power culture?
- Spice Girls reunions: Spice Girls reunited in 2012 and 2019 to perform, and I’ve never been happier in my life. These reunions def generate more interest from new and old fans alike!
@spicegirlsWhat an honour it was to close the ##London2012 Olympics on this day 9 years ago with one of our favourite performances 🇬🇧 ##throwback♬ Wannabe – Spice Girls
I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want. And that’s for more Spice Girls, thank you. Those crop tops in our closets will probably go out of style again, but the lure of the Spice Girls should last for another 25 years, whether you’re an OG fan or you just discovered them.