The Girl Power Manifesto
Girl Power is an anthem, a declaration, and a moment of pop culture revolution that evokes the same optimistic in-your-face power that defined the 90’s. For me, growing up as a flirty aspiring gay in the 90’s, girl power meant a sense of self.
There was strength in the songs of the Spice Girls and the badass attitude of Buffy. Before YOLO and Douchebaggery were inducted into the Oxford Dictionary this year, Girl Power has been defined as “a self-reliant attitude among girls and young women manifested in ambition, assertiveness, and individualism,” since 2001. There are five cardinal rules of 90’s girl power that, I think, deserves a reprise.
By Max McCormack
One – Never trash talk your fellow girl, unless she abruptly departs from your successful all-girl band.
Two – When it comes to breast implants – deny, deny, deny.
Three – Do not stress over parallel parking, everywhere you go has valet
Four – When fighting demons, vampires, et al., make sure your Scooby Gang is within earshot.
Five – When in doubt, summon the dead in a sexy schoolgirl look with Neve Campbell
These rules were indoctrinated by a wave of 90’s icons that paved the way for women today. Sure, Lena Dunham or Taylor Swift have since written their own rules but they owe their respective platforms to women like Christina, Britney, Xena, Buffy, Ginger, Baby, and the list goes on.
When Geri Halliwell wore that union jack dress at the 1997 Brit Awards, global turmoil paused for a moment. When Cher Horowitz took Tai, the awkward new kid in school, under her wing, she taught a generation about acceptance. When Buffy hooked up with Angel, she showed us that strong women could protect the world and keep a piece of man candy for themselves.
Today girl power, it its modern iteration, is alive and well. Women are more empowered than ever. They are writing hit television shows, selling out venues, curing deadly diseases, fighting for peace, and, hopefully by 2016, serving as the 45th United States. Certainly the debt goes further back to Susan B. Anthony, Gloria Steinem and Norma Rae, but what we have today is a freedom to be a fighter or just a girl who wants to have fun. Girl power isn’t a synonym for feminism and it isn’t and antonym either. When Nikki Minaj is ass-out on the cover of her album, that’s girl power. When Donatella Versace throws naked hunks down the runway, that’s girl power. When Hillary
Clinton throws shade at all in her way, that’s girl power. When Laverne Cox stands up for her own identity, that’s girl power. And when Oprah does anything, that’s girl power. In short, girls can do whatever the f*** they want.