The plight of the modern girl band seems to have taken a back step. Long gone are the days of girl power and the group revolution. You only have to look at this year’s series of X Factor in which all the line up consists of men and boys (if you can call some of them that).
I’m not saying we haven’t come along way: female singers like Adele and Amy Winehouse – who are valued for their voices and not the size of their breasts – have been topping the charts for a few years now and this is largely thanks to the Spice Girls. Despite all the commercialism that went with them (the Coca Cola, Walkers and Doll merchandise) they did make a difference in both British and American music.
Boy bands after 1998 seem to have largely disappeared as girls realised that it was ok to like and support each other; to even want to be one another. Girl bands then evolved: The sweetness (and sickliness) of the Spice Girls then evolved into the more grown up All Saints who dressed like boys but were more grown up and more sexualised. British solo singers went from strength to strength and more women bought records made by women. It was ok to like girls at last!
And then we came full circle – and the girl band formed claws – but also grew tails – the Pussycat Dolls were born and seemed to jeopardise a lot of what their forerunners had worked for: so called irony was actually just a strip act.
And now we are back to the pre- Spice Girl stage where boy bands like One Direction have taken America and Britain by storm. It seems both mothers and daughters are suckers for a floppy fringe and a pubescent dance routine. There isn’t anything wrong with this but let’s not ignore our strong female bands either.