As a child of the 90s, I’m VERY familiar with the term “girl power,” my understanding of it to be a phrase coined by the Spice Girls who pretty much dominated the later 90s. Everywhere you went it was “Girl power! Yay women! Look at my little Gucci dress!” You can’t tell, but I imitated Victoria Beckham when I said that.
But now that we’ve escaped moved past the 90s and are well into a new decade, where do we stand with girl power? What do we think of “girl power” as?
I asked a few of my friends to help me out with answering this question. These are women from completely different backgrounds, ages, education, etc.
What is “girl power” to you?
Brittany - “Girl Power” to me is independence and confidence, but knowing how to use those to your advantage. For example, It’s good to be independent, but not to the point where you’re too stubborn to ask for help when you need it (I know this because I AM stubborn!) I don’t necessarily being physically “powerful” is required (although it can, and that’s probably the first thing that comes to our minds) – I think the best kind of girl power is something that anyone can employ.
Meghan - Girl power for me is all about empowerment. It’s about teaching girls that they are important and that they should not be afraid to do whatever they want to do. It’s about knowing who you are as a woman and being proud of that: whatever that is.
Doing some research on “girl power” and what it exactly is, I found out that it wasn’t REALLY started by the Spice Girls; they just helped bring the phrase to mainstream culture. Girl power actually first came about in the early 90s as part of the “riot girl” movement, all-girl punk bands and groups. In fact, the definition of “girl power” was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2001: Power exercised by girls; spec. a self-reliant attitude among girls and young women manifested in ambition, assertiveness, and individualism. Although also used more widely (esp. as a slogan), the term has been particularly and repeatedly associated with popular music; most notably in the early 1990s with the briefly prominent ‘riot girl’ movement in the United States (cf. RIOT GIRL n.); then, in the late 1990s, with the British all-female group The Spice Girls
So what does that mean for us today as women trying to empower future generations of girls?
Over the next several days, I want to look at what Girl Power is, what it means to us and our future generations, and what goes into making women powerful. I want to explore different writers, different issues, different books and different themes that both help and hinder us as women. I want to share some of both mine and your favorite female heroes, trailblazers, characters – the people who helped shape us.
I hope you’ll join me this week in sharing your stories about girl power, join in on the conversations, and help to pass along the girl power torch to younger generations.