Shirley Manson dubs Spice Girls an ‘abhorrent sham’

Garbage’s feisty frontwoman Shirley Manson has hit out at the Spice Girls’ portrayal as feminists in the Nineties – claiming that ‘Girl Power’ was ‘a sham’.

The Edinburgh-born singer, who grew up in the Stockbridge area of the city, was discussing the impact of feminism on music in the Nineties with Vice Magazine.

“I always hated the term Girl Power,” said Shirley, who joined local band Goodbye Mr Mackenzie as a back-up vocalist soon after dropping out of college at age 16. “At the time, I found the Spice Girls abhorrent.”

The 50-year-old rock icon continued:  “I was 30 when they came out I guess… [But] I felt they were written for, and controlled by, men, who had come up with a marketing slogan and put these girls together.

“It was pretending to be women taking control, but none of them took control, they weren’t writing, they weren’t producing, they weren’t playing… I found it a sham.”

Last November, American/Scottish alt-rockers Garbage played a special show at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their groundbreaking, self-titled debut album, which sold more than four million copies on its release in 1995, and spawned a succession of hit singles including Stupid Girl, Only Happy When It Rains, Vow and Queer.

“To even get to the point where we’re still making music after 20 years is just beyond my wildest dreams – truly,” said Shirley at the time. “I realise how rare that is, and I feel very privileged.”

Garbage’s most recent album was Strange Little Birds, which was released earlier this year on the band’s own label, STUNVOLUME.

The four-piece, which also includes Steve Marker, Duke Erikson and Butch Vig, had previously only released one studio album since 2005, their 2012 offering Not Your Kind Of People, with the band going on hiatus periods either side of the fifth album’s release.

“To men, this record, funnily enough, has the most to do with the first record than any of the previous records,” said Shirley on the release of Strange Little Birds. “It’s getting back to that beginner’s headspace. In part, that’s a result of not having anyone to answer to.”

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