When I was first approached about becoming a member of the Spice Girls, I was a little taken aback. My impression was that this troupe of British singers was salacious and provocative, one more example of the debasing of our culture.
"I'm embarassed to admit it, Mom," my 21-year-old daughter confessed, "but I actually liked the movie. It's harmless—a teenybopper thing, like for preteen girls. It's singing Barbies, and there's nothing dirty about it. It has that nutty English humor, kind of like the Beatles' Help!, so I actually ended up really enjoying it—I even watched it twice."
We rented Spice World that evening and studied it, side by side on the couch in the darkened living room. At the end I was satisfied that the Spice Girls remained decently clothed and did not veer into inappropriate innuendo. The movie, though lighter than fluff, even had a quirky charm. I picked up the phone and gave my decision: yes, I would consent to be a Spice Girl.
Thus it was that two weeks later at the church picnic I was clothed in a babydoll dress (with modest shorts underneath), a blonde wig in pigtails, and white knee-high socks with shiny, black Mary Jane shoes. I was attempting to portray "Baby Spice," and at five foot one I approach her size—vertically, anyway. The skit was designed by the youth group to say good-bye to their leader, who was heading off to seminary. Why's he going to seminary? "'Cos that's what he wants, what he really really wants," we sang.
"We" included me and the church secretary ("Sporty Spice"), and one of the basses from the choir ("Ginger Spice"). But the teens' hope of having an all-grownup Spice Girls was not fulfilled. Several adults turned the parts down, feeling uneasy about what seemed ...1