The news of the Spice Girls’ reunion can serve as a reminder for the importance of female friendship.
On the day that social media timelines buzzed with news of the Spice Girls’ reunion, I sat in King’s Bush House building with three of my closest female friends. As we chatted over our laptop screens between sips of always-necessary coffee, we exchanged advice on the topic of summer internships. Cover letter templates, links to online opportunities, and stories of job acceptances and rejections were exchanged with smiling sincerity.
The reason for this? According to a 2006 peer-reviewed journal on the role of gender and friendship ‘the friendships between girls tend to be more intimate, affectionate, supportive, encouraging, and involved than the friendships between boys’ and include more discussion of identity and disclosure of information.
A mishmash of different personalities, we ourselves could be qualified as an ambitious, powerful girl group of our own.
Perhaps I could be Posh. After all, I wear plenty of leather, pride myself on my fashion sense, and attend the same university in New York City as Brooklyn Beckham. The youngest member of our group might be Baby Spice, and our resident prop on the KCL women’s rugby team akin to Sporty Spice. Our savvy leader, divulging helpful wisdom and advice in times of need, might fulfil the role of Ginger Spice, much like Gerri Halliwell’s role in the band.
But the Spice Girls’ version of ‘girl power’—uplifting and credited as the primary introduction to feminism for an entire generation of young girls, yet branded as ‘feminist-lite’ for its surface-level and contradictory approaches to gender equality—doesn’t completely compare to the serious feminist movements unfolding today.
Acclaimed lawyer and journalist Jill Fillipovic explains in her publication The H-Spot: The Feminist Pursuit of Happiness that ‘the history of movements for women’s rights has hinged on women befriending each other, challenging each other, and working together.’
This feels exponentially fitting considering the present push for equality. While patriarchy persistently plagues society, inflicting women with the gender wage gap and systemic workplace harassment, having a close group of likeminded women in your corner is crucial for success and support.
The women that I choose to surround myself with inspire me—and female role models putting their money where their mouth is, so to speak, are making headlines worldwide. In January 2018, the BBC’s Carrie Gracie resigned as the media organisation’s China Editor in January 2018 after discovering she was paid exorbitantly less than her male counterparts. When she criticised the corporation for violating equality laws and labelled the pay culture as “secretive and illegal,” she received public support from other women including former British deputy prime minister Harriet Harman. American actress Jessica Chastain recently allied with Octavia Spencer to help her re-negotiate a fair and larger paycheck five times its original size for her respective role in their upcoming project.
Multiple studies have attested to this importance of inter-female relationships; Harvard Medical School, UCLA, and other prestigious institutions have shown that women who have strong relationships with other women react better to stress and live healthier lives.
With this in mind, the news of the Spice Girls’ incoming reunion can serve as more than just a happy occurrence for millions of girls and women. It is also a reminder of how female friendships add that special spice to everyday life.