Trickery and Self-Esteem Issues: Thanks, Spice Girls

Who do young girls/women idolize these days? 

I genuinely don’t know. Sure, there are women that I would consider idols for various reasons. Usually, these reasons have nothing to do with physical attributes.

If I had to guess, I would say that the women most looked up to TODAY are of celebrity status. Their claim to fame is most likely due to music, movies, television, etc. We as a culture are bombarded daily with various media. Sure, DVR allows a viewer to skip through commercials and magazine readers can choose to toss this month’s edition of The Enquirer, but we are subconsciously listening, reading and viewing EVERYTHING. I have a feeling that the little people of this developed nation–children I mean–are being affected the most.

A prime example for any readers who were of pre-pubescent or pre-teen age when the Spice Girls became the global monopoly of girl groups can attest to how wild we were about these saucy British women. Therefore, I’m going to break down the group who coined (not really, but made it more popular than before) the term “Girl Power.”

Disclaimer: I’m being critical. There is a reason, though, because in retrospect I do recognize a few issues the group posed.

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Baby Spice: She kind of reinforces a few stigmas women face. She’s blonde, beautiful and sucks on a damn lollipop all day. She’s every young (and maybe even older) guy’s dream. She almost always got the guy.

In my fresh mind at age 10, the formula was an easy one:

Blonde Hair + Lollipop + Teddy Bears = Attractive Men. 

Sporty Spice: She was such a badass. Her part of the tour bus on the movie Spice World was full of workout equipment and sports drinks. Honestly, I don’t think she was ever dressed in anything other than athletic gear. She never got the guy…which reinforces a stigma that muscles make women less feminine. Dumb.

Scary Spice: I wonder how the people of the Saint Kitts and Nevisian ethnicity would feel about the woman of color being called “scary.” I have a feeling that the obnoxious hairstyles/over-the-top afro wasn’t Melanie Brown’s choice at first. Being famous comes with a price though. She will forever be the scary one. What stigma does this reinforce, ladies and gents? I have so much faith in you it deserves no explanation.

Posh Spice: Since she rarely talked, I don’t have much of an explanation. If she did speak, though, it was about her wardrobe. She usually got the guy too. I mean, come on. She’s married to David Beckham. I have yet another formula!

A Little Black Dress + High Cheekbones + Little To Say =

David Beckham (or another hot athlete)

And last but certainly not least is Ginger Spice: Whose idea was it to name the redhead Ginger? Even if it was her idea, shame on you Geri. Honestly, I don’t know what she looked like. I do, in fact, know what her boobs looked like. For some reason she (or her stylist) decided her boobs were more important than her face. In turn, they were elevated to new heights. I bet the pair is happy the fame is running out. Reinforced stigma? Big boobs can potentially make you famous.

My intention in this post is not to fire up the fans of this groundbreaking group around the world. These women could have chosen to represent themselves in these individual ways without any help from the outside world. I have a feeling (a hunch, if you will) that this was not the case.

I suppose what scares me the most is the fact that this is a pretty innocent example in comparison to some of the stars young girls are infatuated with today. What will be the final straw? How can we build self-esteem in these young girls without tearing down their idols?

There is no simple solution. Dammit.

Exes are good for something

Caution: I might delve into some disheartening reality in this post. 

I have dated several types of boys/men. Let’s see, there’s the macho one, the super affluent SOB, the charismatic thespian, the immature but really attractive guy, the rockstar, etc. I don’t believe I have an actual “type.” I would rather not shove someone in a corner and ignore him because he doesn’t fit my aesthetic standards.

Anywho. My point with this post is to give these past romantic interests some serious credit. Why, you ask? For the song and artist suggestions that changed my life for the ultimate better. For instance:

  1. The Thespian: Thank you for introducing me to some of the most incredible artists of my generation. I would have never known that music like this existed in some underground world or alternate reality if I had not had the pleasure of meeting you. The first mix CD (throwback, yes) you ever made me is still in my car. I hope that makes you smile if you ever read this.
  2. The Macho One: Look. I don’t prefer rap. It’s just not my taste, I guess. For all of those who do prefer rap, I applaud you. I’ll dance to Lil Wayne at the bar and make bad decisions to Two Chainz every once in awhile, but for the most part I avoid the genre. However, you introduced me to the best old school rap my ears will ever hear. Much obliged, I say.
  3. The Affluent/Arrogant SOB: Clearly, this guy is now (in hindsight) my least favorite. But…he did have an incredible taste in music. His favorites ranged from indie to funk, and I loved getting new suggestions from him on a daily basis. We were cheesy in a sense that we would post videos on each other’s walls of live shows we wanted to see together. He was kind of an ass, though.
  4. Last but not least, I would like to sing The Rockstar’s praises: You made me realize why I love the music I love. You encouraged me to dig deeper and forget about the lyrics…really enjoy the rhythms that create the experience. I was lucky enough to share the same musical tastes as you; I remember when we would go somewhere together and hear a song that struck a chord (no pun intended) in both of us, we would just stop what we were doing and stare at each other. That seems creepy as I type it, but it was actually somewhat–dare I say it–romantic.

Thanks to these fellas and a few others, my music library houses a pretty intense variety, just like my men. (Ha ha.)

Fat Possum Records

With a tagline of “We’re trying our best”, Fat Possum Records based out of Oxford, Mississippi is still staying true to its roots.

The first time I learned of Fat Possum, I was working at The Shed BBQ in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. The artists represented by FPR range from old-school Mississippi blues to serious folk. Sporadically, I see the logo on bumper stickers or as a sponsor for different fests throughout the South.

I love learning about the background work it takes to represent artists–especially those who are up-and-coming. FPR does a great job of maintaining the grassroots appeal that is so unique in a mainstream entertainment industry. A few of the artists represented are The Black Keys, Al Green, Junior Kimbrough, Jimbo Mathus, T-Model Ford and others.

Keep on trying, FPR. I’ll keep on listening.

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

I have seen this group live once in Oxford, Mississippi at the Lyric. I have to say that it was one of the best shows I have ever seen. She has this incredible ability to energize the crowd. We waited around later to get our posters signed by the band members, and she embraced us as if she knew us for years. She said, “Thank you for taking the time to come see us.”

I have to admit that if I had to choose, Grace Potter would be my girl crush no doubt. She displays her femininity in sequin-covered tanks and glitter skirts while simultaneously making every man in the room feel musically inadequate. Ha ha. Mad respect for her stage presence–it can’t be denied.

Take a weekend off and travel to see this group. It’s worth every mile, my friend.

This is Only the Beginning.

I do believe that this video might summarize how a real artist explains his/her love for their said art. We all believe that we are here for something greater, and his description of Son House makes the viewer believe that we can achieve that greatness. (Even if it means we just clap our hands and sing.)