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How the Spice Girls changed feminism

It's not a coincidence that a generation reared on girl power went on to spark the fourth wave of feminism, writes Lauren Bravo

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The Spice Girls perform during the Closing Ceremony of the London 2012 London Olympics at the Olympic Stadium (PA)

The Spice Girls perform during the Closing Ceremony of the London 2012 London Olympics at the Olympic Stadium (PA)

Empowering: The Spice Girls were five distinct personalities with one bold agenda

Empowering: The Spice Girls were five distinct personalities with one bold agenda

The Spice Girls are reportedly set to announce a come back on Monday and announce a UK stadium tour for 2019 – without Victoria Beckham (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The Spice Girls are reportedly set to announce a come back on Monday and announce a UK stadium tour for 2019 – without Victoria Beckham (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Mel C, Victoria Beckham, Geri Horner, Emma Bunton and Mel B in Greenwich, London, back in 2007. Photo: Dylan Martinez

Mel C, Victoria Beckham, Geri Horner, Emma Bunton and Mel B in Greenwich, London, back in 2007. Photo: Dylan Martinez

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Cast your mind back, if you will, to 1997. Teletubbies. Inflatable furniture. Riverdance at Eurovision. And an image carved deep into pop culture history, like compass graffiti into an old school desk: the Spice Girls at the Brit Awards, riding high on the crest of new-found fame.

But while the rest of the world mostly remembers Geri's Union Jack dress, my most vivid memory is Mel C grabbing the mic as the Spice Girls collected their gong for Best Single, a five-woman explosion of sequins and animal print. "I just wanna say, Liam?" she yelled, goading the Gallagher brother who had stayed at home in petulant protest. "Come and 'ave a go if you think you're hard enough!"


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